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RMJ

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Everything posted by RMJ

  1. Hi, You might find some useful information about Verastar / Clear Business / Kinex etc in these articles published in The Daily Record https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/business-consumer/water-company-set-debt-collectors-14145430 https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/authors/the-judge/campus-nightclub-owner-blazing-mad-14176794 Also you might want to listen to this - Adrian Goldberg Investigates Verastar, which runs Kinex, Unicom, Clear Business and other brands. Podcast released 17 October 2019 https://soundcloud.com/user-162001833/goldberg-investigatesverastar
  2. Hi You might find some useful information about Clear Business / Verastar on these sites Clear Business have been investigated by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman many times in 2019 and some of the cases may be familiar to your own https://www.spso.org.uk/search/node/%22Clear%20Business%20Water%22 The information on these web sites about Clear Business might be useful and they may be able to give you the relevant information http://unaccountablescotland.org.uk/index.php/water-charges/83-clear-business-on-gaps http://unaccountablescotland.org.uk/ Verastar were originally known as Unicom but they changed their name to Verastar a few weeks after Unicom was fined £200,000 by Ofcom for miss-selling. Clear Business was acquired by Verastar shortly afterwards. This web site was set up to try and provide information to Verastar customers who are having problems www.unicom-complaints.co.uk Hope this helps
  3. Radio 4 also interviewed several other Unicom customers who all complained about the same thing. They were told that no termination fees would apply if they ‘ceased to trade’ but when they closed down or sold their business , Unicom applied termination fees and commenced their debt collection procedures. Unicom were invited to be interviewed by Radio 4 but they sent a written statement instead which said “No termination fees are charged if a business closes down. In Jayne’s case there was some confusion because her business was sold onto someone else”. The verbal contract agreement clearly states “No termination fees are payable if you cease to trade”. Jayne sold her business and therefore she ceased to trade. What is confusing about that? Incidentally, the new owner of Jayne’s business remained with Unicom and agreed a new contract with them. This means that Unicom profited twice from the same premises – the income from the new owner and termination fees from Jayne!! That is until Unicom refunded Jayne’s termination fee ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ .........
  4. A lady from Sheffield recently commenced court action against Unicom / Verastar to claim a refund of the termination fees she had paid to Unicom and also to claim compensation for the harassment she had to endure due to Unicom’s debt collection procedures. Unicom settled out of court and paid the full amount she had claimed. BBC Radio 4 ran an item about this on their You & Yours consumer programme and it can be heard by clicking here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06wc6qp Further details can be seen by clicking here http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/01/sheffield-dinner-lady-wins-compensation-from-troubled-uk-isp-unicom.html I think this will be of interest to people who have been faced with demands for termination fees from Unicom.
  5. Hi Purple person, Try not to worry too much about this 'Claim Form' as it is a practice that Unicom apply, seemingly to add pressure on the person concerned. A genuine Court Claim Form would come from the Court, not Unicom, and it would include a defence pack and booklet. Also, a genuine Court Claim Form would have a Court stamp, an Issue Date and Claim Number. My guess is that these boxes in the Claim Form you have received are blank? Silverfox is correct in that it could amount to harassment and this practice appears to be in breach of Section 40 of The Administration of Justice Act 1970 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1970/31/section/40
  6. The advice from Ofcom to anyone having problems with their Telecoms supplier is as follows - ‘Ofcom suggests that all consumers/businesses that have experienced problems with their communications provider call our contact centre and make a formal record of their complaint. Our contact centre advisors can also provide specific advice on the appropriate next steps. The relevant numbers are 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040 and we are open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm’.
  7. I would do both. Send an email to Jonathan Ruff and also call them to make a record of your complaint. Ofcom do not deal with individual cases but they do monitor companies and record complaints with view to investigating them if they receive many complaints about them. Ofcom will advise you to raise your complaint with The Ombudsman Services who can deal with individual cases eight weeks after your first complaint to Unicom - or if you receive a deadlock letter - whichever is soonest. However, the Ombudsman's decision is evidence based meaning if you can't prove what was said during the sales call or meeting, they will rule in Unicom's favour as they will have the evidence of the recording of you agreeing to the contract, or a signed contract. BTW if you haven't received your recording say by the end of next week, or if you do receive a recording and find it is the short edited version of the agreement but does not consist of what you agreed to, I would send a Subject Access Request for ALL the FULL UNEDITED recordings and an excellent template can be found here http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?387306-Full-Subject-Access-Request
  8. Unicom are currently under investigation by Ofcom and the investigation centres on Unicom's sales and marketing activities in relation to fixed line products and also into whether there was a breach in the rules regarding a requirement to offer contracts with minimum terms. http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/competition-bulletins/open-cases/all-open-cases/cw_01125/ I would URGE you to contact Ofcom on on 0300 123 3333 and make a formal record of your complaint. The more complaints that Ofcom receive, the more information they will have for the purpose of the investigation.
  9. Apparently, Unicom's defence when approached about this is that they DO offer a 12 month contract, but it is up to the customer to ask for it!!! The definition of 'offer' in the Oxford dictionary is 'present or proffer (something) for (someone) to accept or reject as desired.' and could be a useful quote if they use this tactic on you. A legal definition of offer is 'An offer is a communication that gives the listener the power to conclude a contract.' If they did not communicate this 'offer' then there was no offer! http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/offer
  10. Hi Chris European telecom laws and Ofcom have ruled that businesses and residential premises must be offered a 12 month contract as from 26th may 2011. The maximum 24 month contract only applies to residential premises http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/news/uk-consumers-benefit-from-european-telecoms-law-changes/ If you need any help, please check out www.unicom-complaints.co.uk
  11. I am no expert but as far as I know, companies have to first apply to the Court for a County Court Judgement (CCJ) and IF the Court issues a CCJ against you and IF you default on any payments that the Court has ruled, only then can they send in the bailiffs. This link gives good information about how it works. [removed] Hope this helps
  12. Hi, A little known avenue to complain about companies who are acting fraudulently, or against the public interest is the Companies Investigation Branch of the Insolvency Service. I have copied and pasted below the following 2 paragraphs from their web site. The Insolvency Service does not only investigate the affairs of companies that are subject to insolvency proceedings. It can also investigate companies that are actively trading, or which have ceased trading without entering into insolvency proceedings, using powers of investigation under the Companies Acts. There must be reasonable grounds to suspect fraud, serious misconduct, material wrong-doing or significant irregularity in a company's affairs for us to investigate. Investigations are fact finding in nature. They are not criminal investigations, although they may address conduct which could amount to criminal behaviour. Our approach is to take a proportionate and realistic view of issues brought to our attention, and to investigate aspects of corporate behaviour which might harm both the business community and the public generally. With this in mind we wish to know about the activities of any company which appears to be causing significant harm to consumers, trade suppliers, service providers, investors etc., who have had dealings with it. Also where there is any strong indication of serious misconduct in the management or affairs of a company. If you feel that Unicom are being overly aggressive with their debt collection strategies, it might be worth contacting the Investigation Branch of the IS for advice.
  13. Hi About a year ago, Unicom also took over Elite Calls and a great number of Elite customers found themselves in exactly the same situation as you are in now. It appeared that Unicom had imposed their own terms and conditions on to Elite customers and many customers fought and won their battle but many customers gave up and paid up. If you Google 'Elite Calls Unicom' it will bring up many links to the various forums where customers have posted complaints. Unicom have already been investigated by Ofcom twice, once following a complaint by BT for ‘canceling orders from customers who wished to transfer provision of their telephone service away from Unicom to BT’ and once for mis-selling. However, there are still hundreds of complaints about them. If you Google ‘Ofcom Unicom’ it will bring up the Ofcom links with details of the investigations. There are several more companies under the Universal Utilities umbrella and I personally would be very very cautious about doing business with any of them, especially after my own awful experience of Unicom. The good news is that after the 31st Dec 2012, automatic rolling contracts will become illegal and providers will not be allowed to automatically roll over a contract then charge massive termination fees if the customer wishes to leave. Good luck - but be aware that Unicom are almost certainly keeping a close eye on this thread (as they do with all the negative comments about them on the Internet) and have succeeded many times in getting negative comments edited or deleted.
  14. I only just came across this posting but it might be of interest to know that Sunstone Telecom was taken over by Unicom Telecom recently and Universal Debt Collection is a department within Unicom and is under the Universal Utilities umbrella. If you Google Unicom complaints you will see what you are up against! Hope you got is sorted
  15. Unless the letter has a court stamp on it, it is not a court document. This is collection tactic that some companies use to try and put pressure on you for payment. If they do apply for a CCJ the first thing you will receive is a stamped County Court Claim form Before a bailiff would be appointed, a CCJ must be obtained and court would set a repayment amount and only if you did not meet this amount could they then apply for a bailiff. I have read of many instances where people have received threats of court action but have never read of it actually going to court. That is not to say that they won’t, but to our knowledge they never have.
  16. Hi Not sure about the 6 year rule in business. I think that only applies to residential property. You will need to check on that one. If you Google 'Unicom contracts' you will find that quite a few people who have been in disputes with Unicom have contacted their MP for advice and you will be surprised how helpful that can be if the MP contacts Unicom on your behalf. You could give that a try - you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if Unicom release your father from his contract as a result.
  17. Hi Yes -according ot what Ofcom told me. You can ask for a breakdown of termination fees and the following information was copied from the Ofcom site (sorry can't leave a link here) Charges that consumers face for leaving their landline phone contracts early will be cut by as much as 85 per cent, Ofcom announced today. Over the past 18 months, Ofcom has been working with the three biggest UK landline providers, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, to ensure that the charges they levy when customers end their contracts early – ‘early termination charges’ – reflect the costs that the providers save by no longer providing the service. Cheaper early termination charges will also apply to landline customers who receive broadband in the same package. Early termination charges Communications providers have obligations to meet under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. Ofcom’s interpretation of the Regulations is that consumers who end contracts early should never have to pay more than the payments left under the contract – in fact they should often pay less, to reflect the costs providers save because the contract ends early. Ofcom published a statement about our view of the law in December 2008, and opened a monitoring and enforcement programme in early 2009 to check whether communications providers’ terms and conditions comply with the Regulations. In answer to your earlier question, they have never EVER to our knowledge take anyone to court for termination charge debts but that is not to say that they won't. They do a lot of threatening with unofficial court proceeding letters but have never taken it any further. In the unlikely event that it did go to court, your father would have a strong case as he was specifically told he was not entering a long term contract. If you father was not told about termination fees, it would strengthen his case even more. Hope this helps
  18. Hi I spoke to Ofcom recently to clarify the rolling contract ban because the rulings seemed to be a bit evasive and this is what they told me. It became illegal to sell any new rolling contracts from December 2011 but existing rolling contracts remain valid until 31st Dec 2012. What that means is that if someone's contract expires this year and they do not given the required notice, Unicom would be entitled to roll it over for a further term be it 1 year or 3 years and the customer would remain tied for that time. Ofcom have ruled that rolling contracts must be phased out altogether by 31 Dec 2012 and providers must contact all customers on existing rolling contracts rolling contracts before 31st Dec 2012 to offer them an alternative deal for when their contract ends.. I know that other providers have already started the process of offering alternative deals but has anybody heard from Unicon yet? I was interested to read that Unicom Telecom are diversifying into the energy industry and have recently acquired Economy Gas. I hope they treat their gas customers better than they seem to treat their telecom customers.
  19. Good result - Well done. Thanks for leaving update. It makes it much easier for anybody facing the same situation to follow and fight back.
  20. Hi AD Check the good advice on this link that deals with Unicom's collection strategies [edit] - please do not publicise fee paying dmp co's - dx siteteam
  21. Hi Ranter Welcome to CAG If I were you, I would give the Ombudsman Services a call and ask for their initial advice about the problem with your contract. They are very helpful and will offer you good guidance. This service is free of charge. 0330 440 1614 http://www.ombudsman-services.org/communications.html The Ombudsman Services can also help with sorting out the problem at a later date if you can’t sort it out with Unicom but they can only become involved after 8 weeks have passed since your first complaint. As far as I know, the other people on the various threads who were with Elite Calls were released from Unicom penalty free but they had to put up quite a fight. Good luck.
  22. Hello again Would you check your inbox on this forum as I have asked for a couple of details. Thanks
  23. No problem - I will get back to you in a day or two
  24. Every telephone company has different terms and conditions and Unicom's conditions are that customers must give 90 days notice to terminate. It suits Unicom to try and put on you a 90 day notice termination because if your contract ends on 21st May, they would have required you to give notice from the 21st February. As that date has now passed they can try to charge you a termination fee as you did not give them the 90 days notice. As you can see, Unicom are not complying with Unicom recommendations. Elite only require 30 days notice and as your contract is with Elite, you are abiding with the Elite terms and conditions and are giving 30 days notice Now that I know I can send you a private message it is no problem for me to put a few paragraphs together for you.
  25. Ah - but these are Unicom's terms & conditions NOT your Elite Ts & Cs so have nothing to do with you Go back to what my lawyer friend said this morning and tell them to get s*****d Here is the link I mentioned earlier http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2009/08/additional-charges/ If youwant help wrtiting a letter to them let me know and I will try to send you a private message via this forum. I have had personal bad experience with this dreadful company and I hate what they are doing.
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