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  1. Hi I’m new to this forum so ‘hello’ & I’d be very grateful for any thoughts that people have. In summary I’m in dispute with a local Estate Agency. I allege that, in July 2014, employees of the agency caused £300 of damage to the bodywork of my car. Initially the agency did not respond to my complaints & requests for compensation. Eventually they contacted me by ‘phone to deny liability and refuse to put their position in writing. I referred the matter to The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS) who was able to conclude that the agency had failed to respond properly to my complaints, but they were unable to conclude that the agency had caused the damage to my car based on the documentation I provided. At that stage the agency made me an offer (via TPOS) of £150 to settle all aspects of my complaints. To date I’ve not taken-up the offer because it doesn’t cover my losses. So I’m currently deciding what to do next. A few weeks ago I sent a carefully worded ‘Letter Before Action’. The Estate Agency replied (i.e. their first written response to me) to once again deny all liability for the damage caused to my car. They failed to refer to any of the specific points in my letter and simply defended themselves by way of a statement to say their staff are fully security-checked professionals who would never behave in ‘that way’. They also stated that the offer of £150 was purely in relation to their mishandling of my complaint. They also stated that my claim seemed opportunistic. They also stated that they’d be referring the matter to their solicitors. I was intending to make a claim against them which would hopefully proceed through the small claims process. I’ve discussed this course of action with TPOS and with legal advice/advisors via my Trades Union both of whom were broadly supportive based on the evidence I could provide. I’ve already drafted the claim form and was going to submit it last week but then I got cold feet and decided to check whether I’d done enough and got enough evidence to make my case as strong as possible in court. I’ve now used the permitted amount of legal advice I’m entitled to via my Trades Union so am now a bit stuck for further advice. Hence I’m making this post. So, my questions can be condensed thus... 1) Are there any other avenues that I should pursue before proceeding to make a formal claim/court action? I’ve tried to follow pre-action protocol by attempting to settle the matter directly with the defendants and attempted mediation via TPOS. The defendants have had plenty of time to respond fully. I’ve considered arbitration which it seems would be too expensive given the amount I’m claiming for (i.e. £300). The ADR specialists I’ve spoken to have suggested further mediation (at £100 +VAT for 2hrs) but the matter has already been mediated by TPOS without successful resolution and as far as I know I may be offered free mediation by the courts later in the small claims process (which I would happily participate in). I suspect we’re at an impasse that can only be broken by a judgement by someone with authority. 2) Is my case strong enough to present convincingly at a court hearing? I have photographs of the damage to my car. I have a reliable witness (who’s given a witness statement) who saw my car being manhandled roughly by 2 of the Estate Agency workers. The snag is that no one actually saw the damage being done – they’re simply able to say that they witnessed the car being treated in a way that could have definitely caused the damage. Also the Estate Agency have not admitted in writing that they touched my car (although they have done so verbally) – my fear is that in a court hearing they could simply deny ever having touched the car and then it’s the word of my witness against theirs. A bit more info. to put all this in context... I live in a house that’s been divided into flats. One of the flats is let to the aforementioned Estate Agent and they use it to house social tenants temporarily. Back in July 2014 the tenant in this flat was a hoarder who failed to pay his rent and was evicted by the Estate Agent. During the eviction all of the tenant’s hoarded possessions were placed on the driveway of the house alongside my car (which was untaxed, uninsured and SORN at the time). The Estate Agency hired a skip to clear–up the hoarded rubbish. I returned from work one evening to find that my locked car had been dragged from its position on the driveway and left on the side of the road. The skip had been left in its place. There had been no communication with me about this beforehand (although 2 days later one of the agency staff told me that they’d moved my car – I pointed-out the damage which he denied doing – accusing me of lying that it wasn’t there beforehand – I do have some blurry photos taken beforehand which show no signs of damage). So my car had been left untaxed & uninsured on the public road with £300 worth of new dents in the bodywork. I was fuming! I’ve received a fair amount of legal advice about the matter and essentially it seems that all my evidence is circumstantial and any ruling would be on the basis of probabilities. My witness is one of several neighbours in the street who saw my car being manually bounced, pushed & dragged across the road by 2 men working for the Estate Agent’s property management team (at one stage they asked him whether they could borrow a jack from him). I’ve been advised that the photos and the witness statement should be convincing enough for a magistrate. .. but recently I’ve been afraid that the Estate Agent is going to deny that their workers ever touched the car and I’ve actually got no written proof that they did. They’ve tried to blame it on the skip company but there’s no evidence to support this and surely if the skip company were working under the direction of the agency and the agency workers were present when the skip was put into position then the agency are still liable as it was their ‘project’? thanks for reading if you’ve got this far – any informed thoughts or constructive comments would be warmly welcomed! JulianS
  2. Hi guys. I'm new to this forum. Hope I'll be of some help to people in the future. Nevertheless, I have a question. But before the latter, here is my story: We bought a flat and called up N-Power to inform them that we were the new tenants and told them to continue providing our property with both gas and electricity for the time being until we settle and compare the prices thoroughly. In the early October 2013, our boiler broke down and on the 16th of October 2013 we found someone who could fit a new boiler for us. There were three people all together (one was an installer, one was a gas engineer and one was an electric engineer); before installing the boiler, the two engineers had to switch off the gas from the outside as they had to weld the new pipes, etc. Upon going outside they have discovered that the gas meter which was labelled with my flat number was incorrectly marked, they explained to me that my gas meter seems to be the box marked with flat number 10. They told me that they would need to work with fire in order to mend some pipes and thus switching off the correct gas pipe was a vital procedure. We did some tests. When they switched off the gas meter marked with No.19, nothing happened and gas still went through to our property. When they switched off the box marked as No.10, our gas switched off completely. They also showed me how the three boxes had their own pipes that were connected to three different floors; and how box No.10's pipe went right to my kitchen on the 2nd floor; very obvious. After installing the boiler I called N-Power the same evening in order to inform them of the situation; that was on 16th October 2013. The lady who I spoke to advised me that our property was most likely cross labelled and that it is a common mistake. She booked an engineer for an assessment of our meter box and so I can start being charged the correct price based on my actual usage; I provided N-Power with the meter reading for box No.10 on that day. Long story short, an engineer never came and I was lied to. Then the manager has rebooked the engineer for the 16th of January 2014, and I told him that I wish to see and speak to an engineer so that we can test our gas the same way we tested it with the gas boiler engineers; N-Power advised me that the engineer will have my mobile in case he wishes to contact me for further testing. The appointment date has gone, I got no notification at all and never saw any engineer. I waited until the 3rd of February and N-Power has not even sent me a letter to say sorry or to ring me and ask if everything has been sorted. I called them on that day. They informed me that an engineer attended the property. I got so angry and frustrated. The advisor told me that they need to take some payment from me as the sum is adding up. I told him, what sum? They do not even have an idea of what I am using. The advisor informed me that I should pay for box No.19; I argued this point as I did not want to pay for someone else's usage, so he proceeded to say that they would need to charge me a standard price of £190-£240 until they sort out the problem and then they would reimburse me the difference back; I obviously rejected this amazing offer. The guy who I spoke to said that an engineer came, did all the tests and said that the box which is marked with No.19 is the correct box. I do not believe that an engineer attended the property; this was confirmed when I called up in the end of April and/or beginning of May to get some dates for my record. Furthermore, I had to speak to a manager and we got to a conclusion that I won't pay for their services (both electricity and gas) until N-Power sorts out my problem; my complaint was escalated to a different department who deals with serious complaints. On the 1st of April of 2014, I received a letter from them saying that they are working hard to help me. I know that these are just automated letters sent out to make people shut up. It's now 1st of September 2014. I have lost my faith in N-Power and no longer willing to pay them a penny; I wish to move to a different energy provider. I can confidently say that this is and was the worst customer service I have ever received in my entire life, and in the future life if I am reincarnated. Shall I go to a small claims court with the above information? What could I claim for? I mean, stress, frustration; that won't help a lot would it? I want my bills to be abolished and I wish to move on to a different provider. I contacted the ombudsmen in May, and they're still dealing with my case. Any advice guys?
  3. Hi guys. I'm new to this forum. Hope I'll be of some help to people in the future. Nevertheless, I have a question. But before the latter, here is my story: We bought a flat and called up N-Power to inform them that we were the new tenants and told them to continue providing our property with both gas and electricity for the time being until we settle and compare the prices thoroughly. In the early October 2013, our boiler broke down and on the 16th of October 2013 we found someone who could fit a new boiler for us. There were three people all together (one was an installer, one was a gas engineer and one was an electric engineer); before installing the boiler, the two engineers had to switch off the gas from the outside as they had to weld the new pipes, etc. Upon going outside they have discovered that the gas meter which was labelled with my flat number was incorrectly marked, they explained to me that my gas meter seems to be the box marked with flat number 10. They told me that they would need to work with fire in order to mend some pipes and thus switching off the correct gas pipe was a vital procedure. We did some tests. When they switched off the gas meter marked with No.19, nothing happened and gas still went through to our property. When they switched off the box marked as No.10, our gas switched off completely. They also showed me how the three boxes had their own pipes that were connected to three different floors; and how box No.10's pipe went right to my kitchen on the 2nd floor; very obvious. After installing the boiler I called N-Power the same evening in order to inform them of the situation; that was on 16th October 2013. The lady who I spoke to advised me that our property was most likely cross labelled and that it is a common mistake. She booked an engineer for an assessment of our meter box and so I can start being charged the correct price based on my actual usage; I provided N-Power with the meter reading for box No.10 on that day. Long story short, an engineer never came and I was lied to. Then the manager has rebooked the engineer for the 16th of January 2014, and I told him that I wish to see and speak to an engineer so that we can test our gas the same way we tested it with the gas boiler engineers; N-Power advised me that the engineer will have my mobile in case he wishes to contact me for further testing. The appointment date has gone, I got no notification at all and never saw any engineer. I waited until the 3rd of February and N-Power has not even sent me a letter to say sorry or to ring me and ask if everything has been sorted. I called them on that day. They informed me that an engineer attended the property. I got so angry and frustrated. The advisor told me that they need to take some payment from me as the sum is adding up. I told him, what sum? They do not even have an idea of what I am using. The advisor informed me that I should pay for box No.19; I argued this point as I did not want to pay for someone else's usage, so he proceeded to say that they would need to charge me a standard price of £190-£240 until they sort out the problem and then they would reimburse me the difference back; I obviously rejected this amazing offer. The guy who I spoke to said that an engineer came, did all the tests and said that the box which is marked with No.19 is the correct box. I do not believe that an engineer attended the property; this was confirmed when I called up in the end of April and/or beginning of May to get some dates for my record. Furthermore, I had to speak to a manager and we got to a conclusion that I won't pay for their services (both electricity and gas) until N-Power sorts out my problem; my complaint was escalated to a different department who deals with serious complaints. On the 1st of April of 2014, I received a letter from them saying that they are working hard to help me. I know that these are just automated letters sent out to make people shut up. It's now 1st of September 2014. I have lost my faith in N-Power and no longer willing to pay them a penny; I wish to move to a different energy provider. I can confidently say that this is and was the worst customer service I have ever received in my entire life, and in the future life if I am reincarnated. Shall I go to a small claims court with the above information? What could I claim for? I mean, stress, frustration; that won't help a lot would it? I want my bills to be abolished and I wish to move on to a different provider. I contacted the ombudsmen in May, and they're still dealing with my case. Any advice guys?
  4. Quick background: I CCA’d MBNA Virgin and received my credit agreement. Unfortunately for me, it is enforceable. I have paid up my arrears and have restarted my monthly repayment agreement to avoid further action. My circumstances currently are that I am out of work and seriously considering "signing on" but I probably won’t because I never have and I am confident that I will find something in a month or two. Before I write to Virgin/MBNA, I wanted to seek advice from my fellow Caggers regarding my intention pay them less each month. My current plan is: 1. Write to them and explain my circumstances and offer what I can currently afford monthly. 2. Cancel my direct debit and simultaneously set up a Standing Order for a quarter of what I am currently in agreement to pay them monthly. I guess if I can’t pay then I can’t pay and there’s nothing much they can do about it. I assume they will ask me to fill in a financial statement but I know that legally I am not required to do this and frankly, I don’t want to. Is this the right path? Possibly trying to avoid a DN, although I have a collection of DN due to my other unenforceable agreements – so one more really won’t make much difference. Or should I just not pay and after several threats, call the number and negotiate, hoping that they will agree a lower payment? I want to try and be in control of the situation even if there is an enforceable credit agreement in existence. Anyone know the best plan of action for me? Thanks.
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