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.  (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.

Nope, not good enough
Nope, not 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.

Have you used Section 75?

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How to increase a bank’s offer of redress

Change of name with the bank

Halifax Halifax Halifax. I have a choice of 3 complaints to do here. Actually 4 if you count the one I did for a friend and got her £500. Now which one today? Toss of a coin (yes 3 times don’t try and get clever with me you know it aint gonna work). Let’s take the most recent one.

I changed my name. Yes ha ha ha ha haha to all those companies to whom I haven’t yet complained who think they have my name. You don’t and you don’t know to what I changed it ner ner ner ner ner! (Slightly unnecessarily childish particularly given that I have just tweeted “How childish can politicians get? Seriously. “I win I got my Royal Charter” “I win I got my Law” Grow up & do what’s best 4 ppl!” But hey ho moving on).

So, got the  Deed certificate, paid for legal copies as some financial institutions needed them and others were happy with copies. Sent off details to Halifax and asked a simple question about fees on their card. You’d think that would be quite simple wouldn’t you, well obviously not or I wouldn’t be writing about it would I?!

The Halifax correspondence

From Halifax

I got a letter back addressed using my former name, not enclosing my document and not answering the question, but enclosing a new direct debit form! Fail on 3 counts! Rude huh?  So I complained. Obviously.

I got a letter back offering me £30. Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if you don’t think that the amount reflects the inconvenience or time spent on the matter, particularly when they don’t apologise or explain the issues…. complain again. So I did. I was particularly pedantic actually.

From me

I pointed out the following to Ms R:

keyboard Bank made a mistake? Not happy with offer, how to get it increasedShe said Halifax disposed of the document because it was a copy. (Oh yes Dear Reader did I not mention that earlier? Halifax destroyed the legal copy that I PAID for!) It was not a photocopy. It was a “Certified legal copy of a Deed of Change of Name (Deed Poll)”. I expected to be reimbursed!

She requested that I send my deed poll to the same address as before. Given that this was the address at which I had my property destroyed I refused to do that again and enclosed another legal copy to her and trusted that she would at least not destroy it and return it!

I received no explanation why, when my property was destroyed, no-one wrote to me to ask for (actually another) the deed poll. Had I not complained I could have continued to wait for both my deed poll to be returned and to receive my new credit card!

She completely ignored by question about the Card and I asked for a third time and failed to explain or apologise for why I only received a direct debit form and covering letter which ignored the two out of three points of my letter. I found this extremely rude and unacceptable.

Now here’s the particularly pedantic part. I wrote “I quote from your letter “I can see that we’ve let you down with some of the points you’ve raised. However I hope I’ve explained that there are some instances where I believe our actions were necessary.” This would indicate that you believe, as you have written in the plural, that at least two of your actions were necessary and acceptable. Please explain which these actions are. Destroying property which does not belong to Halifax and I had to pay for, not writing to me regarding this, ignoring my query about the credit card and writing to me in my former name are my list of complaints (to which I have added today). I do not believe that any of these actions (or non action!) were necessary, some were just downright rude. Please do explain which two you deem as necessary as I am very interested and it is these that I shall highlight to the Financial Ombudsman in particular”.

I also expected more than the £30 offered.

Haifax redress

I got a response. In short, £12 reimbursement for the deed poll and £100 for the inconvenience.

So that was that. Nah, I’m pedantic remember. So although satisfied with the amount, I did need to write again and point out that I had requested the money be sent in a cheque and not put on the card which she didn’t do! So, as I had to write again I hoped that the following points would help her in the future.

1)       The first page of her letter was a photocopy and not the original on letterheaded notepaper.
2)       Fifth bullet point, incorrect use of an apostrophe in the word “fees”
3)       “are charges” not “is charges” would be grammatically correct (as in my letter which you could have copied)
4)       “You have been advised there is…” No, I advised you on this point and the instances are plural and therefore “are” not “is” is appropriate.
5)       No new paragraph on what should have been the first new paragraph on the second page.
6)       “…should be made clear to your at the time” should have been “you” not “your”
7)       “Halifax so not apply any loading..” doesn’t make any sense, I assume that you mean “do”
8)       “…and enclosed your Deed…” “enclose” not “enclosed”

Just a little bit....;)
Just a little bit….?

There were a few other things, (not least that she didn’t answer the point about which issue I complained about was necessary) but I won’t bore you now seeing you got this far! Well honestly, I do expect a letter from a bank to be written and checked! Yes, I could have saved my time but frankly, the poor quality letter writing annoyed me and anyway I was being helpful! Perhaps it helped in her future work. I freely give tips for companies  on how to avoid complaints!

So, share your experiences of the banking world. Which one is good which one is bad? I have found HSBC pretty good but last time I wrote to them customer service standards were going down and I had to write to the CEO. What do you think of your bank/building society/credit card companies?

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