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    • Lining up my ducks and preparing my WS in advance. 1st draft below. Feedback appreciated. In the County Court at ************ Claim Number:***************** BETWEEN: Claimant: ********************** -and- Defendant: *********************** WITNESS STATEMENT OF ******************   I, *********, being the Defendant in this case, make this Witness Statement in support of my defence which is due to be heard on DATE at ************ County Court. I contest that the Claimant's claim is vague and unspecific. On DATE I made a written request to the Claimant requesting that the Claimant provides copies of all documents (true copy of the executed agreement and a copy of current terms and conditions encapsulating any variation) mentioned in the Statement of Case (Exhibit A). On DATE I made a written request to the Claimant Solicitors requesting that the Claimant provides copies of all documents (Credit Agreement, a copy of the Contractual payments under the terms of the agreement and the Default Notice) mentioned in the Statement of Case (Exhibit B). On DATE the Claimant’s Solicitors replied (Exhibit C) to my written request without the requested documents. On DATE the Claimant replied (Exhibit D) to my written request without the requested documents. The Claimants claim is based upon Defendants alleged breach of contract and therefore, the contract is entirely central to the Claimant’s case. CPR Rule 31.15 requires that documents are provided within 7 days from receipt of a written request. The Claimant has failed to provide any of the documents mentioned in its claim form. On DATE I contacted the Claimant and repeated my request for copies of documents as mentioned in the Statement of Case (Exhibit E). The Claimant has mentioned the Credit Agreement, the Default Notice and the Assignment in its Statement of Case and yet it has provided none of these documents despite my entitlement to inspect these documents or if they can provide originals for Court inspection. The claimant has provided a 'reconstituted' set of statements which are not original documents The Claimants pleaded case is that the Defendant entered into an agreement with ***************** under account reference ************, I am uncertain as to which account this refers to. It is accepted that I have had ****** Loans in the past, however, the account number given does not relate to any information I have, therefore, it is essential that I have sight of the agreement relied upon by the Claimant to be able to accurately identify to what the claim refers. I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. I therefore ask that the Court orders the Claimant to provide copies of the documents and if the Claimant is unable to comply the proceedings are struck. Statement of Truth I ************, the Defendant believe the matters set out in this Witness Statement are within my own knowledge, except where I indicate to the contrary. Signed: ________________________________ Dated: ________________________________
    • Brilliant, that's reassuring.  Off to the Hermes forum now.
    • No, I think UK will get same deal as EU.  Main reasons for this are two sectors,  Defence and Financial Services.  US have huge levels of money invested in the UK, so they have a self interest in offering a trade deal as good as the EU.
    • @labrat I'll bet it isn't the subframe itself that's broken. It'll be the subframe mounting bolt(s) that have sheared off inside it. Because the bolt is seized inside the subframe, it effectively renders the subframe scrap. I suspect the garage are simply talking in terms the average customer is more likely to understand than going into the detail of it. The Golf, Jetta and Beetle, which are all mechanically identical, are notorious for it.    A smaller independent garage may have tried to get the bolts out, but you very quickly reach the point where time/effort/cost is simply not worth it and replacement of the whole subframe is the better choice.   Of course the OP could approach a salvage yard, either local or online, and ask about the cost of a good used item, which would be substantially less expensive than what I assume is the price VW are charging for a replacement.
    • Applied for and awarded by BY in Sept 2020 still not received it yet Comments appreciated
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    • I sent in the bailiffs to the BBC. They collected £350. It made me smile.
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    • Hi @BankFodder
      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
      So I issued the claim on day 15 and they requested more time to respond.
      They took until the last day to respond and denied the claim, unsurprisingly saying my contract was with Packlink and not with them.
       
      I opted for mediation, and it played out very similarly to other people's experiences.
       
      In the first call I outlined my case, and I referred to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 as the reason to why I do in fact have a contract with them. 
       
      In the second call the mediator came back with an offer of the full amount of the phone and postage £146.93, but not the court costs. I said I was not willing to accept this and the mediator came across as a bit irritated that I would not accept this and said I should be flexible. I insisted that the law was on my side and I was willing to take them to court. The mediator went back to Hermes with what I said.
       
      In the third call the mediator said that they would offer the full amount. However, he said that Hermes still thought that I should have taken the case against Packlink instead, and that they would try to recover the court costs themselves from Packlink.
       
      To be fair to them, if Packlink wasn't based in Spain I would've made the claim against them instead. But since they are overseas and the law lets me take action against Hermes directly, it's the best way of trying to recover the money.
       
      So this is a great win. Thank you so much for your help and all of the resources available on this site. It has helped me so much especially as someone who does not know anything about making money claims.
       
      Many thanks, stay safe and have a good Christmas!
       
       
        • Thanks
    • Hermes and mediation hints. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428981-hermes-and-mediation-hints/&do=findComment&comment=5080003
      • 1 reply
    • Natwest Bank Transfer Fraud Call HMRC Please help. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428951-natwest-bank-transfer-fraud-call-hmrc-please-help/&do=findComment&comment=5079786
      • 33 replies

35 Hours of Work Search Activity Each Week


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How's this for a New Year bombshell, or CAG Birthday treat?

 

FOI Request to DWP

 

From: Adam

 

9 December 2014

 

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

 

Please disclose any Jobseeker's Allowance guidance for JCP Work Coaches and Advisers that discusses making it a requirement for JSA claimers to spend 35 hours a week on work search, including full info on the laws and regulations that explicitly state this 35 hours rule can be imposed for JSA claimers not on any supervised jobsearch pilot. No info about Universal Credit required. The PCS Union has published this:

 

"The GEC has been made aware that in some areas Work Coaches are being told by managers that they must impose 35 hour Jobsearch requirement on claimants. This is not required by current legislation for JSA claimants, and it is not with the remit of F&F."

 

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_...

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Adam

 

 

Here is what the Union says about it in the link:

 

"The GEC has been made aware that in some areas Work Coaches are being told by managers that they must impose 35 hour Jobsearch requirement on claimants. This is not required by current legislation for JSA claimants, and it is not with the remit of F&F. Branches should advise members not to comply with the instruction, branches should then escalate through the usual trade union side structures.

 

We have raised these issues with management in writing and will provide an update to branches following further consultation."

 

 

 

And here is the response from DWP to the initial FOI request:

 

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

 

Central Freedom of Information Team

 

[email protected]

 

Our reference: VTR 5312

 

Date: 15 December 2014

 

Dear Adam,

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 10 December 2014. You stated:

 

Please disclose any Jobseeker's Allowance guidance for JCP Work Coaches and Advisers that discusses making it a requirement for JSA claimers to spend 35 hours aweek on work search, including full info on the laws and regulations that explicitly state this 35 hours rule can be imposed for JSA claimers not on any supervised jobsearch pilot. No info about Universal Credit required. The PCS Union has published this

 

"The GEC has been made aware that in some areas Work Coaches are being told by managers that they must impose 35 hour Jobsearch requirement on claimants. This is not required by current legislation for JSA claimants, and it is not with the remit of F&F."

 

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_work_and_pensions_group/dwpnews.

cfm/work-services-update

 

As there is no legal requirement for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to undertake 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week, no legislation or national guidance stating otherwise exists.

 

If you have any queries about this letter please contact us quoting the reference number above.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

DWP Central FoI Team.

 

 

It may be advisable for claimants who have been coerced into undertaking 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week to consider instigating Maladministration procedures against the advisers who did the coercing.

 

Such claimants could begin by insisting on having any reference to 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week removed from their JSAg/CC on the grounds that including such a requirement is illegal and can't be enforced.

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It may be advisable for claimants who have been coerced into undertaking 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week to consider instigating Maladministration procedures against the advisers who did the coercing.

 

Such claimants could begin by insisting on having any reference to 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week removed from their JSAg/CC on the grounds that including such a requirement is illegal and can't be enforced.

 

I would suggest finding the name of the manager who issued the directive to the front line staff and name him/her in any complaint. Whilst the "customer facing" advisers usually end up taking the stick for these decisions, it is the managers that should be shouldering the responsibility and suffering the consequences.

 

As for the 35 hour requirement being "illegal", I don't think this is the right way of getting it rescinded. Rephrasing it as "having no basis in current legislation and goes above and beyond national DWP guidance" would probably be a better way of tackling the issue. If anyone has this 35 hour requirement imposed, by all means print out the PCS union press release and request (demand ?) a review of the JSAg or Claimant Commitment.

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Mr. P.

 

The law says that a JSAg or a JSAg/CC is an 'agreement' between the claimant and the adviser. For the purposes of specific sections of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 it become a legally binding 'agreement' once it has been signed by the claimant and the adviser, not before.The law goes further and says that without both signatures Jobseeker's Allowance will not and cannot be paid.

 

Decision Makers, not managers, become involved only after the claimant refuses to sign the 'agreement'.

 

A similar situation exists when advisers set about altering existing 'agreements' and the claimant objects. Decision Makers get involved only after the adviser raises a Doubt. At this stage the claimant s already up the creek without a paddle. The sanction is already imposed, as I can testify to from experience, before the claimant has any opportunity of stating his/her case.

 

At no stage in the process is the manager involved directly. The difference of opinion has escalated from one between claimant and adviser to one between claimant and DM. Knowing the manager's name, which is easy enough to find out, will make no difference. The law does not allow for his/her involvement even if he/she wanted to at this stage.

 

Neither the 'customer facing' adviser nor the DM can use the excuse of saying "I was only following orders" to justify doing what they know to be illegal.

 

You seem to baulk from my use of the word 'illegal'.

 

When the DWP itself says; " As there is no legal requirement for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to undertake 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week, no legislation or national guidance stating otherwise exists." then I have no hesitation in asserting that the action of an adviser in coercing, with the threat of sanction, a claimant into agreeing to the inclusion of such a requirement is illegal.

 

Furthermore, the adviser's own Union has advised its membership not to comply with any instruction to impose such a requirement in an agreement. That advice to the membership was issued sometime before 18 September 2014, the date on which the document from which the extract was taken was published.

 

For those reasons, then, I can see no way in which "customer facing" advisers can avoid responsibility and culpability for their actions.

 

What I find harder to swallow than anything else you say is what appears to be your suggestion that the DWP should have worded their response in such a way as to enable them to make an illegal action appear legal.

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There's a thread on here started by me regarding Claimant Commitment, where I posted links to the training material used by the JC advisers and it clearly states that 35 hours jobsearch is not compulsory. It's the quality of the jobsearch that has to be looked at, not the quantity and if a customer has done a reasonable amount of jobsearch and completed everything on their CC in less than this time then that must be accepted.

 

The '35 hours' bit is just something dreamt up to scare us, that's how long they could ask us to jobsearch for but the whole thing is unworkable and they know it.

 

Extract from Claimant Commitment (JSA Regime) Topic 05 training literature;

'..It is not about totalling up activities or hours spent. If the claimant has completed all the activities set, they have met their requirements regardless of how long this took them..'

 

Make sure you negotiate your CC - having these guidelines was a big help to me as I was able to successfully argue anything I deemed 'unreasonable' and I ended up with the same as my old JS Agreement.. with the added benefit I was able to re-negotiate my earliest starting time for jobs as 9am, where it had been 8am on my old JS Agreement :)

 

Lapsed Workaholics comments on advisers are spot-on; they should take full responsibility for their actions. If they know the guidance they should apply it truthfully and fairly and if they're ignorant of the guidance then they need to get off their backsides and learn it.. it's their job and they're paid for it.

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Totally inappropriate - 35 hours could mean, if applying for a decent job and having to do reserach, amend CV, new covering letter, application form around 5-6 hours per job. I know I have spent 4-5 hours on a single application before therefore manybe only apply for 5-6 jobs per week. If however they want you do use the same CV and same CL using one click you can apply for hundreds per week - it is not QUANTITY but QUALITY. If you are not in the mood use one click, if you fancy the job, do it properly. I probably done around 20 hours pw when on JSA

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How would they know (or indeed, how can you prove) whether you've actually done 35 hours a week? An application form can take 15 minutes to fill in, they can also take a few hours.

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.What I find harder to swallow than anything else you say is what appears to be your suggestion that the DWP should have worded their response in such a way as to enable them to make an illegal action appear legal.

 

No. The "demand" or request to review the JSAg or CC should be rephrased "having no basis in current legislation and goes above and beyond national DWP guidance" rather than bandying around words like "illegal". Just because something is not a "legal requirement" does not make it unlawful or illegal.

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.
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Mr. P.

 

I'm sure that you would not intentionally misrepresent what I am trying to say. So, just for the benefit of anyone who might be in a position where what is being discussed here may be relevant, let me clarify:

 

The word "demand", in your previous post in brackets with a question mark, and in your latest post, in inverted commas, would suggest that you have reservations about its use. Since I have not used the word at all, you have, twice, albeit apparently reservedly, it is for you to stop using it if its use bothers you. Any reproach, if reproach is due, for its use should be directed against the person using it.

 

The word "illegal", again you appear to disapprove of. You make the point that "Just because something is not a "legal requirement" does not make it unlawful or illegal". I agree with that statement and have said nothing to indicate otherwise. Here again there is no need to reproach me for a statement or an impression that I did not make or give.

 

What I suggested, and still maintain, was illegal, was the action of an adviser in using coercion, the threat of stoppage of benefits, or sanctions, or any other activity imposed as a form of punishment, to have a particular clause inserted in an agreement without the free and full consent of the claimant .

 

I also suggested that claimants who have been coerced into having such clauses inserted into their agreement should insist on having their agreement reviewed. That is no more or less than what they are legally entitled to do. It would also be illegal for any employee of the Secretary of State to advise claimants that they are not entitled to do that, and use coercion and threats to enforce claimant compliance with advice to forego their rights.

 

Furthermore, for the sections of the Jobseeker's Act 1995 that require a legally binding agreement (contract) freely entered into to exist before a claimant is eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance, an agreement imposed under such conditions of coercion would cease to be legal, ipso facto, illegal.

 

There is no law, that I know of, that gives anyone administering the law, or legal requirements, that gives said administrator carte blanche to interpret the law to suit his/her particular fancies. If the statement "having no basis in current legislation and goes above and beyond national DWP guidance" can be used to justify acting outside the law, where will it end? An adviser, there are some who might like to, could have the claimant taken out and shot. Would that be acceptable, permissible or encouraged using the same argument of adviser exuberance?

 

The laws, statutory instruments, regulations and guidances under which DWP administrators function are legally binding. The freedoms and flexibilities that administrators have to interpret those laws, statutory instruments, regulations and guidances are also framed in law. Acting outside those frameworks are therefore also outside the law, ipso facto, illegal.

 

Any claimant who is content with having terms and conditions applied to them, or imposed on them, that do not comply with the law are perfectly free to do so. Personally I would consider myself some sort of a prize idiot if I allowed myself to be exposed to penalties for not doing what the law says I shouldn't have to do in the first place. What compliant claimants need to consider seriously though is that the more compliant they wish to appear the more exposed they make themselves to the excesses of exuberant, over-zealous, ambitious advisers or this government's policy of depriving them of even the basic means of support, of life itself.

 

An example of this would be the number of claimants who find themselves in difficulty, facing sanctions, because of issues arising from participation and involvement in Universal Jobmatch. They signed up for it, many of them, in the hope that it would keep advisers off their backs. They then find themselves in positions where they find it difficult, if not impossible, to comply or cope with the ever increasing demands imposed on them as a result of using UJ. They would not be in that position if they only insisted on their legal rights, yes legal rights, in the first place, one of which is that they do not have to use UJ at all.

 

I hope you will take this clarification in the spirit in which it was given, without malice. I have attempted to give my own interpretation and opinions, based on law and fact. No penalty or sanction will be imposed on anyone holding different views to mine or acting contrary to them, unless further clarifications, interpretations and opinions by me along the same lines can be considered as punishment enough.

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