Edna, an elderly lady living on the outskirts of Loughborough, had been concerned about the condition of the front and back doors to her home. Just before Christmas she had contacted a local building maintenance company and a representative (Mr R) from the company called round to give Edna a price for the work. To replace both doors would cost £1100. Edna wanted the job done so accepted the quote and paid a deposit of £850 in cash. Mr R said he would be in touch early in the New Year with a date for starting the work.
Mr R did not contact Edna forcing her to ring the number he had given her on numerous occasions. He always gave her a new start date for the work but then had an excuse as to why the work couldn't begin on that date. He refused to return Edna's deposit and after four months of this Edna was becoming very upset and called in to one of the drop-in sessions at our Loughborough office for help.
On hearing Edna's story, our Adviser suggested she write to Mr R giving him a start date convenient to her and saying that if the work was not done then she wanted her deposit returned immediately. Also, to let him know that she would pursue the matter through the courts if necessary. She was advised to keep a copy of the letter and send the original by recorded delivery.
Two weeks later Edna returned having had no reply or contact from Mr R. She was advised that her only option was the small claims court. Our Adviser took Edna through the small claims procedure and then assisted her with an online application. Costs were explained and included in the claim. With Edna's agreement details of her experience and Mr R's details were passed to Trading Standards through Citizens Advice Consumer Gathering Information Service.
A month later Edna returned to our Loughborough office as she had had confirmation that her case was being processed and that Mr R had been served notice, but was unsure what would happen next. Our Adviser rang the helpline for her and was told all the information would be sent to her.
Another month passed and Edna contacted us to say that Mr R had failed to respond to the court notice and so they had ordered against him. However, Mr R had still failed to pay up so the next step was to apply for a bailiff warrant in order to recover the outstanding money owed to Edna. Our Adviser assisted Edna to complete the relevant form and advised her to include in her claim the cost of applying for the warrant.
Six months after Edna first came into our Loughborough office for help, she rang to say she had been able to recover the full amount of £1010. Edna was delighted as she could now arrange to have her doors replaced by a reputable firm in time for the next Christmas!
Ryan came into our Loughborough office for help with issues regarding a parking fine. He had got back from holiday to find court papers in his post relating to the fine. Ryan had ignored them and subsequently in May a County Court Judgement (CCJ) had been issued against him. A CCJ can affect a person's chances of getting credit in the future.
Ryan explained to one of our generalist advisers that in February he had parked in a local store's car park and spent approximately two hours shopping for his holiday. Ryan had seen a sign about how long customers could park for but he hadn't read it. The limit was one and a half hours.
At the end of February he had received written notification from a private car parking firm of a £100 parking fine. Ryan went back to the local store and spoke to a member of staff who apologised saying other customers had had the same problem. She took a photo of Ryan's receipt and told him she would tell management and get the fine cancelled. But in March he had received another notification from the private car parking firm about the fine owed and so he returned to the store. He was told it was being dealt with.
The CCJ issued in May stated that the original fine had now escalated to £197 as it included court costs. It also stated that if he paid it within 1 month he could apply to the court to have the CCJ against him taken off the register. That offer was to expire the day after Ryan came into our office. Client told our Adviser that he had lost the store receipt.
Our Adviser rang the local store in question on Ryan's behalf and was told that the photo of the receipt no longer existed and they couldn't confirm whether it had ever been passed to management.
The options our Adviser outlined to Ryan were:-
Pay the fine asap by end of the next day and ask for a receipt to be mailed to him.
Phone the court and ask what they require to remove his name from their register of CCJs - the Adviser explained to Ryan how a CCJ could impact on his credit rating.
It was also explained to Ryan that if he did not pay the amount, he would risk incurring further costs if more recovery actions were taken.
The Adviser also suggested to Ryan that he write to the local store to ask if they would help him with the costs, mentioning that he had been assured by one of their staff that the charges would be cancelled and he had trusted that would happen.
Ryan agreed to do this and said he was reluctant to shop in their store again.
Edward came to see us as he was having issues with his employer. He told our Adviser that the company he worked for had changed hands, and through TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) he had been issued with a new contract. Since then, however, Edward felt that the terms in this contract had been broken in several respects.
Since the TUPE Edward said his overtime payments were less than that stated in his contract and he had not had a pay rise since the transfer. He was also not sure whether the promised cover for Death in Service, or Long-term Health Insurance, were in place.
Despite a verbal promise from his Manager and two letters of complaint about his pay, Edward had not had a response. Our Adviser drafted an internal grievance letter for Edward.
This correspondence resulted in Edward receiving a letter from the company's Human Resources Director, confirming that the Death in Service cover and the Permanent Health Insurance were both in place.
Edward then had a meeting with his Manager who promised to settle the overtime issue. He reassured Edward that he would receive correct overtime pay, backdated for twelve weeks, and this would be ongoing. The Manager also suggested to Edward that he might be able to get a pay rise. At this meeting Edward also raised a holiday pay issue. The arrangement seemed to be offering to pay him in lieu of the holidays. Again, the Manager promised to make sure this was looked at.
However, there was about to be a change of management at the Company. This meant that the Manager Edward had been talking to, would be transferred to another area. Our Adviser helped Edward write to the HR Director explaining the undertakings made by the Manager and asking for written confirmation.
Several months passed and Edward returned to our offices with issues regarding his pay. He brought his payslip which he did not understand. Our Adviser looked at the payslip and helped Edward to understand that his wages were, in fact, now correct.