How to Use Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974

So few people use the Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Even people who think they know their legal rights rely on the Sale of Goods Act. However, what if the company goes bust that you bought the item from? No money in the company to pay you back. That’s where the Section 75 rather usefully comes into play. Buy something for over £100 and under £30,000 and you are covered. (You don’t need to spend the full amount) Covered how? Well…..

A few years ago we had some curtains made with a furniture and furnishings company. We paid the deposit on a credit card. The company wanted cash for the remainder. We wouldn’t pay the cash. Even though we would have been covered because we used the credit card we knew something was wrong and if they were going to fleece customers by getting cash and not declaring it to receivers at a later point we would not let them get away with it! Eventually guess who won? So the curtains were put up. As suspected they weren’t good enough.

Nope, not good enough
Nope, not good enough

If you look closely, not as the dust(!) but at the slight differentiation in colour you might agree with me that the curtains were not good enough. As expected, as soon as we tried to get our money back, we could not get any response. Had we have given them cash they would have done a runner with it one assumes and many people who were left out of pocket I’m sure would be pleased that at least the owners didn’t pocket over £1,000 in cash.

So, I contacted the credit card company. It isn’t always as easy as just them paying up. I had to get an independent report. (That was good, the chap forgot to bill us!)  I then had to return the curtains to the warehouse. Quite ridiculous given that we knew that no-one was there but the credit card company insisted. So we sent, them back via a courier company (which messed up the delivery by not doing it within specified time and I got my money back for that too!) Anyway, the curtains were brought back to us as undeliverable. Credit card company paid up, we got curtains, not perfect but hey they were free!

If a holiday company goes bust, or a store sells you a faulty cooker etc., it is easier to prove so the process of getting your money back will be easier. I had to prove that under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 the items were not satisfactory, which I did, obviously!

You can use this Law even when a company hasn’t gone bust. That said, it is easier to go straight to the retailer. If the retailer doesn’t pay up you can always go to court like I do, that’s fun. Remember that a debit card does NOT cover you in the same way as a credit card does. Also useful to know is that this Act covers store cards. If the credit card company refuses to help report it to the Financial Ombudsman.

Have you used Section 75?

 

How to Write a Letter of Complaint

Many people say to me they don’t know how to put a letter or email of complaint together. I have provided lots of Tips and regularly give advice on Twitter and Facebook but here’s an example of an email I wrote for  Elaine who writes a testimonial here. Yet again a good pay out for someone else but I got a present! The email below was sent to the CEO of Sharps. They were very poor. The matter was handed down to someone else and the work was undertaken by the date specified. We had to send a further email to request the redress, which she got. £250

Dear Mr Smith

RE: Drawing No: 101513

I am writing to you to express my disgust at the atrocious service we have received from Sharps.

We recently purchased a made to measure set of bedroom wardrobes and units from your company which were delivered to our address on 05/11/2013. Until this point we had received excellent service from your company. The designer Alan and the surveyor also named Alan were both very professional and left us feeling confident that the work would be completed to a high standard and in a reasonable time frame. In order for the work to be completed as scheduled we employed our own builders at our personal expense to carry out the necessary preparation e.g. moving electrical sockets and redecorating to take place to accommodate the wardrobes and units. Our bedroom was cleared of all furniture as instructed by the surveyor, including our bed on the 05/11/13. However since the units were delivered on the 5/11/13 there has been no progress.

After initially being told the installation would take place a few days after the delivery date we were then informed that installation would take place on the 12/11/2012. This was not ideal for us but we were satisfied that at least we had a confirmed date and arranged to take annual leave from work as we were informed installation would take 3 days. However things went from bad to worse.

12/11/13 – No one attended our property to install the wardrobes. A breach of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. We did not receive any notification that installation was not going ahead. We telephoned customer services and spoke with Ms Cox who informed us that a colleague had called and left us a message on Saturday (9/11/13) informing us that installation would be delayed until the 13th November. We did not receive any such phone call or message and I am appalled that I was told this. We were informed a fitter would be with us on the 13th between 8 – 9am. As I had taken annual leave from work I had to re-negotiate a change in the annual leave at short notice, again.

12/11/13 At 7:30 pm – I received a call from customer services informing us that a fitter was not available to attend on the 13th but we would be contacted the following morning when they could find a fitter for the 14/11/13 – At such short notice it was obviously hard for me to re-negotiate a change in my annual leave again.

13/11/13 (am) – I received a call from Ms Cox informing us that she was trying to find a fitter for the next day and she would call us back.

Later that day it was left to me to follow up this ‘phone call.  We called the customer service department to find out if a fitter had been arranged and were told “No as it was a very busy time of the year” (wholly irrelevant and this should be planned for especially as we had already been dreadfully treated) and they would contact us the following day for a fitter to attend Friday (15/11/13) and Saturday (16/11/13).

14/11/13 (pm) – I received a call from Ms Cox informing us that she had not been able to arrange for a fitter for the Friday & Saturday but guaranteed a fitter would be with us on the  20/11/2013 between 8 -9am. Again I had to arrange more annual leave for the following week.

19/11/2013 (PM) – I rang customer services to confirm someone would be attending on the 20/11/2013 and were told it was on the system and a fitter would definitely be there between 8am-9am.

20/11/13 @10am – No-one arrived. We rang and spoke to Ms Cox again only to be told that no-one would be available today and we should never have been told someone would be (even though she had guaranteed it the previous week). The earliest date would be Friday 22/11/13; however she would try and find someone for 21/11/2013.

20/11/13 (pm) – I called again to ascertain if a fitter had indeed been found for 21/11/13 and were told by Ms Cox that it would be Friday 22/11/13

21/11/13  (pm) – I called the customer services again to ascertain if a fitter would be attending on Friday 22/11/13 and was told a fitter by the name of John would be with us between 8-9am on Friday 22/11/13.

21/11/13 (9.00am) – A ‘phone call received from Ms Cox asking whether the fitter had arrived. No-one had arrived up to this point. She promised to contact the fitter and then call us back with an update. I had to call back at 09:50am to find out what was going on, unfortunately Ms Cox was unavailable. She returned our call at 10:06 when we were informed that the filter was unattainable and his manager was unaware where he was.

To date we are no closer to an installation date  and are left not knowing when they will be installed.

We are appalled at the service we have received. You are in breach of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982; you have not provided services of a reasonable standard to which we are entitled. I found Ms Cox’s attitude dismissive and not at all sympathetic to the stress of the constant inexcusable delays, the repeated broken promises, the poor communication, and the inconvenience of having to change and re book leave from my work place at very short notice to accommodate a date for a fitter and of course not having a bed to sleep in for two weeks.

I trust that you will be as appalled as we are with the outrageous service we have received. Sharps is clearly in breach of the aforementioned Act. I am legally entitled to services of a satisfactory standard which should be completed within a reasonable length of time with no inconvenience to us and obviously we have not received this.

I expect to receive redress for the stress and inconvenience caused in addition to the out of pocket costs I have incurred. I have now used up all my leave as I was not able to change all the days I had previously booked. I expect redress for the loss of my annual leave. I earn £xxx a day and lost xxx days due to the errors made by Sharps. I expect this to be reimbursed in addition to an appropriate amount for the inconvenience and stress of the continued delays and being without the furniture.

I expect the furniture to be fitted by Saturday of this week and this is now non negotiable.

If I am not fully satisfied with your response I will not hesitate in taking the matter further which will include, but not be limited to Trading Standards, social media and The Small Claims Court. I will be seeking a full refund, costs as above plus court costs and further costs incurred.

Yours sincerely,

So that is an example of an email that gets results. Factual, clear, dates, times and names. Reference to the relevant Law and details of what you will do if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction.

She got £200 and the bedroom was fitted by the Saturday!

I’d suggest you don’t use Sharps either.

 

Beware of Warning Labels!

Remember Millie? She had a problem with Kelloggs.  Well a little time before that her mother had a problem with Lakeland Plastics.

Laura purchased their “Blitz that Mould” mould and algae stain killer to tackle the mouldy patches around her house. Upon reading the label on the front & back she duly made sure the rooms were well ventilated and tested on an inconspicuous area (as advised). Upon finding no adverse reactions she continued spraying the affected areas, returning 30 minutes later to see amazing results!

She decided to spray the damp patch inside her wardrobe which is an alcove in the bedroom with a door on (so not a standalone piece of furniture). The damp patch was on the sloping ceiling part so after checking the instructions again, she opened the windows and lightly sprayed the black area. She returned 30 minutes later and the spray had stained her clothing (which she did not remove prior to spraying as the label did not stipulate it was unsuitable for fabrics) – in total the spray ruined 4 jackets, 3 shirts, 1 cardigan and a top! Ummm!

Beware the warnings!

She re-read the labels which merely stated it was not to be used on enamel, marble, aluminium wood and granite, it did not mention anywhere that it should be kept away from fabrics or that it contained bleach – only “Contains: Less than 5% Anionic Surfactants, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite” – which means very little to the general public.

 

So, step forth The Complaining Cow. I wrote up the above and added in that Under the Sale of Goods and Services Act the product was not fit for purpose, not of satisfactory quality and misleading which also falls under the Consumer Regulations 2008. (Misleading omissions Part 2 Prohibitions). Ah you didn’t know that one did you? Always do your research to throw everything you can at them – there’s another tip to the other 20! 🙂

Photos were sent with the email with a breakdown of the costs of the damaged clothes totalling £365 and photos.

Off went the email and Laura got quite a speedy response back. They wanted her to ‘phone her. HATE that. So off went another email saying No! Everything in writing, always. Eileen came back asking for Laura to return the bottle. Now, you have to be careful here too, what if it gets lost in the post? What if they test it and say it’s ok when clearly it wasn’t? You ask for them to pay postage and you tell them that you are keeping some in case you need to do your own tests if you take the matter further, that’s what you do.

Well, she got an email back saying that the product had actually been recalled and it now has a warning about a bleaching action. She offered £400. My guess was that their insurance kicks in at £500 so we tried to up it. Asked for a further £100 and got £50. So not a bad result. I have to say they were pretty good in the way they dealt with the matter. But why is it that all the high pay out complaints I do are for other people?!

 

How to Get an Extra 3 Hours on Your Holiday!

Last October teachers went on strike. For the Complaining Cow’s Calf school this meant he had a day off. The following day his school had an INSET day. Result!

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For the family it meant getting away for a long week end much much cheaper. Third to half the price!

It was right at the end of the season so just perfect for people who hate people! Majorca here we come we decided!

We booked with Alpharooms. We paid for everything including the transfer. There was a shuttle bus or a super saver bus. One cost just £1 more per person so we thought we’d do that, maybe it was a private bus or at least smaller. Wrong. We weren’t alone in thinking this. It appeared that everyone on that bus had booked the same bus, paying the extra £1 per person. But most people thought that it was only a couple of quid and forgot it methinks. However, I am not most people and remember, it’s the principle of the thing. How many people paid this extra £1 and how much profit was made? Just the same as this. Typically we were the last drop off of course. Hour and a half later we were dropped off. This can’t be helped but we thought they might pick us up last going back the other way round as we were less than half an hour away from the airport. When we got the time of when we would be picked up we found that this was not the case and we were to be picked up in the early hours of the morning with no breakfast!

So guess what I did? Yep. Fired off a quick email to Alpharooms asking what the difference was and why the bus couldn’t go the other way and given the time of our flight why were we being picked up so early. Actually, even with allowing the hour and half for the journey it still got us there 3 hours before the flight! So I got the standard response about having to investigate. We were only there for a few days so I got seriously annoyed when I still didn’t hear from them. In fact so did the Bull and we booked a taxi for the transfer. I’ll get that back I thought.

I’m The Complaining Cow. I thought right. Had to email the CEO (you can find contact details for any CEO at ceoemail.com) to do it but pointed out the unfairness and idiocy of the transfer times, the misleading of customers re transfer buses and the inconvenience. Got the full transfer costs back (both ways which was a couple of quid less than the taxi!) plus £10. I complained a bit more and got another £15 for the “potential loss” of breakfast. A total of £65. I think that was all about right.

However, there is a serious point here. After chasing for an explanation regarding the difference in prices of the transfer I was told “Alpharooms use various providers for the services that we offer. As a result some of the services are described in slightly different ways depending on the information we receive from our providers. The Super Saver Shuttle is the same as a Shuttle bus service; the difference is simply in the branding of the product” All well and good EXCEPT, the two shuttles were the same and were listed at exactly the same time. Do you think their explanation covers that? You decide and if you think not, think how many £1s were made last year as pure profit. Then you might not think me daft for complaining about a couple of quid here and there. It’s the principle of the thing, if more of us did it then perhaps consumers wouldn’t be ripped off so easily when it comes to larger amounts. What do you think?

 

More #Tescofail (at risk of turning into anti Tesco blog!)

Here we go… Tesco again! Yay! who doesn’t love a Tesco complaint? There’s this one and this one and this one and they are just mine!!

You make up your own mind if this is a #Tescofail or not!

For parents, children or school staff?
For parents, children or school staff?

So, the other week I placed an order on Tesco’s website. I put in an order for collection for the 5th November. I did not receive confirmation until late the night before delivery and it stated the Cheshunt store for collection instead of mine (I really feel my local Tesco needs to remain anonymous for as long as possible don’t you?!) I immediately rang up and was told that I had to ring back and speak to someone in the technical department. That’ll be the fobbing off to another department thing that we all hate then? I did this and was then told that they didn’t know why I had been told that and they would try and find someone else to help. The ‘phone rang again and someone else answered the ‘phone with no idea of the issue, so clearly the buck had been passed for a second time. Hey I didn’t mind of course right? Wrong. Obviously. I spoke to someone and told him the problem and he was extremely helpful. Regular readers of this blog just re read that didn’t you? I took his name but hope that you are able to trace who it was as other staff could learn from his approach. When I later complained to Tesco I made a point of saying this staff member was good! That’s important to do when you complain you know. It means that they get the feedback (or at least they should do) and the company knows what it is doing right as well as what is doing wrong.

I was on the ‘phone for 25 minutes (plus the previous ‘phone call) dealing with the matter. The order had to be cancelled and reordered. It took us over the 11.00pm deadline for making changes. It was then put through as a delivery at the only time slot available, an inconvenient time of course. Not only that but, the order did not go through correctly. The total cost was about £10 less than the original order and so I knew things must have been missing from it. But, with the time after 11.00pm I had no choice but to go through with it. The staff member promised to honour the vouchers that did not go through, in the morning and this he did.

I was correct in saying that items were missing from the order. The staff member must have thought it was very odd picking for example, 1 mushroom, 1 carrot, 1 parsnip and 1 potato. Can you imagine?! There were other things that were not ordered that were in the original order such as 2 not 1 packets of things.

So, in addition to the convenience of not spending time in the store being completely not met by spending the same trying to sort the matter out (at an unreasonable time when I should have been in bed!) the order was wrong. The grapes were also poor. I tweeted a picture of these and was told that I would get the cost refunded. To my knowledge it hasn’t been.

Now, regular readers of this blog should know what Law this all broke? Come on now…. I The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 for not providing satisfactory services that were as described. So I wrote to complain. Obviously.

Now here is where it gets rather odd given my experience with Tesco Customer Services. 1) I got quite a speedy response and 2) it went all over the top with apologies! Very apologetic and understanding and offers £15 e.g. “I can see that you’ve
had what sounds like a nightmare of an order; I can’t say I would be too happy
either if I faced the same issue.” and “… however I personally
feel there is no justification that can really excuse the issues with your
order” Ooooh I thought, Tesco is improving. But on closer inspection, it is a standard response. ” Does it matter? Well maybe not, but hey, I like to help improve Customer Service although why I should give these people my free advice I don’t know!!

The Customer Service representative referred to feeding back to the store. The store was not at fault. In addition to that he apologised “… for the errors in your order or the delays you’ve faced” There was no delay.

Did I email him back and tell him that I thought the response was a standard one? What do you think?!

Customer Service 7 out of 10
Redress £15