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. (Now Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) for items bought after October 1st 2015.) 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.
If you look closely, not at 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 Sale of Goods Act that the items were not satisfactory, which I did, obviously! (Would now be CRA as mentioned above).
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.
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.
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 would now say Consumer Rights Act 2015) 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.
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!