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Frozen meat order ruined by Courier leaving with neighbours


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Hi everyone

 

I'm having a battle with my meat company and am not getting anywhere. They are refusing to accept responsibility and won't refund me for the cost of the ruined meat and are holding on to my credit balance when I cancelled the account one month ago and whilst I am convinced I am in the right I don't know that I am.

 

What happened was that during the summer the courier left my meat order with neighbours that I am not very friendly with and on that occasion they signed for the meat and promptly went out for the rest of the day.

 

After that I asked the meat company to please ensure my meat was never left with those particular neighbours. In addition the company ask for a safe place to be designated. I have a wonderfully safe place in my rear garden shed, which is completely hidden from the street, and the company claim to honour your chosen 'safe place' but all of this year FedEx have only once bothered to go to my garden shed and have persisted in leaving it with those neighbours. I started only booking in a delivery when I knew I could wait at home all day but last month my work was postponed by a week and I was left with no choice than to not be at home. On this day FedEx delivered my predominantly fish and chicken order to those blacklisted neighbours and then FedEx did not leave me a delivery note to tell me that is where it was.

 

I emailed the company at 7pm to say I had not had the expected delivery and the next morning I had to call the office again as they had not responded. They then told me that the meat had been left with those blacklisted neighbours and as I was working an hour away from home I could not go to the neighbours until the evening when I got home - which was 7pm again.

 

I went to the neighbours house and they had kept my meat in the living room for some 30 hours and the room was like a furnace it was so hot. All the meat had defrosted. £91 worth. The neighbours knew it was meat but clearly didn't feel any responsibility for it even though they had signed for it.

 

Ultimately I hold the meat company responsible because they knew I did not want my meat being left at that house. They are saying that they can't be responsible for their courier, they say that on their website. But I think its unlawful because I provided a safe place with excellent instructions (and they also say on their website that they will leave it at any safe place of my choosing and so being out need never be a problem!) which they ignored.

 

I specifically requested that my meat never be left with these particular neighbours because of previous problems and they told me on the phone that they understood this but have done nothing to stop it happening again. I have told them I was not left a note and FedEx is saying they did!

 

I have been sending them regular emails over the month and last week I wrote to them to tell them that if it was not resolved, and me fully refunded by 1 January 2016 they I would complain to the Consumer Ombudsman.

 

Even if they don't want to refund me the meat, surely they should have returned the £90 that I was in credit by in my account before I closed it?

 

Please can anyone advise if the Ombudsman is the way to go and if I should feel entitled to a full refund?

 

Thank you

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What is the name of the company?

 

If they chose the courier and if the meat was delivered to an unauthorised place then the supply of the meat is responsible and there disclaimer in the terms and conditions on their website is unenforceable.

 

This means that you have a right to claim a refund + any associated costs + interest.

 

You may well have to begin a legal action – a small claims in the County Court.

 

If you have any dealings with them on the telephone then you should first of all read our customer services guide and implement the advice there.

 

What is the name of the company?

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As BF said, they have the contract with the courier, and will remain responsible to deal with the courier. Your contract is only with the supplier. If they failed to notify the courier that it should be left in your safe place, then that is their fault and up to them to refund you.

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It now depends on you. What are you prepared to do about it?

 

If you simply want to write letters and do nothing then frankly don't bother. They won't take you seriously.

 

It's a real shame that Farmers Choice has such a very poor customer facing attitude and also it is a shame that they include unenforceable conditions in their website in sees such as refusing to take responsibility for their own courier.

 

Apart from anything else, this is a matter for trading standards.

 

If you want to sort them out and get your money back then the only thing to do will be to prepare to take a legal action. You will have to write them a letter before action telling them that if you don't receive a full refund within 14 days that you will take a County Court action and without any further notice.

 

Don't bother to make the threat if you don't mean it. Don't imagine that bluff will get you anywhere. These companies receive loads of threatening letters every year and none of them come to anything.

 

If you want to bring a small claim in the County Court then it is very easy. There is lots of information on this website how to go about it.

 

The company will start to take you seriously once they receive the court papers and they realise you're not bluffing. You can also put in a claim for interest at the same time which 8% is very good going nowadays.

 

We will help you if you want. Drafting the particulars of claim will be extremely straightforward – only a few lines. Nothing fancy – nothing formal.

 

Your chances of success on the facts that you have given here are better than 95%.

 

The chances of them putting their hands up once they have received the court papers in order to avoid court action are probably better than 80% – this means 80% chance they will act intelligently 20% chance they are stupid

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Thank you JoeyJoeyC, they did tell the Courier and my delivery note has 'special'instructions' but Farmers Choice are now saying, despite what they claim on their website, that they cannot be held responsible for where the courier leaves the meat and even went as far as saying that FedEx encourage their drivers to use their iniative and maybe they deemed that my safe place was not safe enough!

 

I'm clear in my mind that Farmers Choice have disregarded all their supposed policies but even now they are still claiming that they stand by their FAQ's on their website and will not take responsibility in a delivery perishing.

 

They say they have put in a claim with FedEx and are waiting for a response and I have responded to that that whether they get compensation or not from FedEx should have no bearing on me being compensated without delay.

 

So it looks like a small claims is the way to go? I wasn't sure I could bother s court with a small amount such as £180 although £90 of that should be a straightforward return to me.

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Ok thank you BankFodder, I'm not bluffing, they have not treated me well over this and I do want my money back. So I essentially sent them a letter before action but without calling it that and I referred to reporting it to the Ombudsman and not the County Court. I'll send another letter today doing both those things. I gave them till 1st January before I did anything but thats a bank holiday so two weeks from now is 4th January. And would now be the time to add that I am claiming interest at 8%?

 

What I have been doing is sending a letter via email but pressing for confirmation of receipt which I have mostly been getting. I know that legal advice always advises to send it as a signed for delivery to ensure receipt but I'm trying to keep all costs down.

 

If I have proof of receipt by email surely that is sufficient? And if not, then I guess I have to post it.

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This has nothing to do with the ombudsman.

 

I'm sorry to say but it seems to me that your jumping the gun and you are suiting off letters and saying things which basically show that you don't understand the subject and that means that you lack any credibility.

 

I suggest that you stop – start reading around – find out as much as you can from this forum about sending a letter before action and starting a County Court claim.

 

It's really not complicated, but to try and do it from instinct when you're not a lawyer will be hopeless.

 

If you want credibility 10 do it properly. This means take a few days to understand the subject by reading around and then you can begin. I suggest that you leave it until after the New Year and then you can get going uninterrupted by any holidays et cetera.

 

That will give you the time to find out about everything as well.

 

You can ask us questions and we will be pleased to help you – however, it would be nice to feel that you started put some of your own home working and come back to us with questions which show that you will have already started to appreciate what to do.

 

This is a self-help forum and that means that people have to invest themselves a little bit in it rather than merely relying upon others.

 

Once you've got the hang of this and you have begun your first action, you will find yourself getting very confident and you will be able to sue anyone you want that any time without feeling too worried about it.

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Ok BankFodder, I probably am jumping the gun but when I was searching for who to complain to the Ombudsman seemed to be the best option, I was staying away from Courts as that seemed a bit daunting. Despite how I am obviously coming across I don't need to be handheld, and definitely am not looking for someone to do it all for me. My main reason for coming on here has already been answered as in yes I should feel entitled to a full refund and now I know to direct it to the County Court. As you suggest I'll start familiarising myself with your website.

 

Thanks for all your help and advice.

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The ombudsman has nothing to do with it and you make yourself look foolish by even mentioning it. Sorry.

 

Stop and read up and then start

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The only way you will get any kind of satisfaction is by the Small Claims route. As Bankfodder has stated you have a very high chance of success in any claim despite all Farmers Choice protestations.

 

The bottom line is your order was ruined by the courier company used by Farmers Choice. Your contract was not with the courier company as you did not employ them so farmers Choice are responsible and if the courier company were at fault it is for Farmers Choice to recover the loss from them. So the onus is for Farmers Choice to refund you in full.

 

They will bluster and prevaricate so get a LBA off ASAP giving 14 days for them to respond.

 

Draft your LBA and post it up here where you will get help to knock it into proper shape if need be. All you need to state are the basic facts of your claim at this stage.

 

As has already been said do not do this unless you intend to carry through with your threat. It is very easy to make a claim and you have a very high chance of total success. Do not get involved in any kind of letter tennis with them and only speak to them on the phone if you are able to record the calls.

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Thank you Aburobert, I am sure to need my LBA improving upon. No I have every intention of seeing it through, after a month of negotiations with the company I know they don't want to give me anything back.

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Farmers Choice Free Range Limited

Carnac Place

Cams Hall Estate

Fareham

PO16 8UY

 

Company Number: 04975337

Director: Mr Jason Crotty

https://www.endole.co.uk/company/04975337/farmers-choice-free-range-ltd

(Note go down webpage and check Website link & Group Structure)

 

 

ULTIMATE PARENT COMPANY

Farmers Choice Free Range (Holdings) Limited

Carnac Place

Cams Hall Estate

Fareham

PO16 8UY

 

Company Number: 08212216

Director: Mr Jason Crotty

https://www.endole.co.uk/company/08212216/farmers-choice-free-range-holdings-limited

(Note go down webpage and check website link & Group Structure)

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Thank you stu007 but I'm not sure what to do with this information nor do I understand the significance of looking at their website or group structure. If it's obvious, I'm not seeing it. I do note that the address on their letterhead which is the one they gave me to complain to is different to the ones you have given above.

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These are the Registered Office Details of the Company so if sending an LBA as well as sending it to the address on their website also send copies to the registered office address then they can have no excuse to say they didnt get a letter (alway keep copies of any letters and get proof of posting)

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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The ombudsman has nothing to do with it and you make yourself look foolish by even mentioning it. Sorry.

 

Stop and read up and then start

 

 

This is an excerpt from Form EX301 which is one of the associated advice forms connected to making a small claim through the courts on a government website.

 

This kind of advice is what made me think that the Ombudsman was the way to go with my ruined meat issue. I wish I had found this before I found you because now I have to go through with it and if the Court thinks I haven't made sufficient effort to resolve this then I stand a chance of still having to pay court costs.

 

 

Form EX301

Do all disputes have to be settled in court?

No. Going to court should always be a last resort. It can be expensive, stressful and can take

a lot of time.

Before going to court you should always try to reach an agreement. For example, if you are in

a dispute with an organisation, you should use the organisation’s complaints procedure before

thinking of making a claim through the court.

If you make a claim through the court without making any effort to reach an agreement first,

you may find that the judge will hold this against you when considering paying the costs

in the case. You may not get your costs back, or the court may order you to pay the other

party’s costs, even if you win the case.

Other ways you might try to reach an agreement include processes like negotiation,

mediation and arbitration. They are often more informal than the court process.

Can I sort out my dispute without going to court?

There are many ways you could try to sort out a dispute that do not involve going to court.

The method you choose will depend on what sort of dispute you have, and how you want it

dealt with.

These methods include the following.

• Negotiating an agreement – where you deal direct with the person, company or

organisation that has caused the problem. You can do this yourself, or you can get a

representative (such as an adviser or solicitor) to do it for you. Negotiation is often a

good first step.

Page 3

• Using an ombudsman – ombudsmen are independent ‘referees’ who deal with

complaints to do with public and private organisations. You should only involve an

ombudsman if a complaint cannot be sorted out through the organisation’s own

complaints procedure.

Mediation – where an independent person (someone who won’t take sides) will help

you and the other person or company find a solution to the problem. The people

involved in the dispute, not the independent person, decide what will happen and

the terms of any agreement. However, any agreement reached is voluntary so you

cannot force the other side to stick to it.

• Arbitration – involves an independent arbitrator who hears both sides of the

disagreement and makes a decision that will solve the problem. It is sometimes

described as a private version of going to court. Arbitration is usually binding on both

sides, so you can’t take your case to court after the arbitrator has made a decision.

• Regulator – this is an independent body set up by law to regulate the activities

of utility companies and investigate complaints in the telephone, water, gas and

electricity industries. Regulators also deal with issues such as landlines and mobile

phones, and the internet. You should only contact a regulator if a complaint cannot

be sorted through your utility company’s own complaints procedure.

Why choose these other ways to settle a dispute?

These other ways to settle a dispute are not meant to replace the courts, but they can have

advantages over going to court.

They will usually:

• be more flexible;

• solve your problem faster;

• be less stressful; and

• cost you less money.

If you’re having regular problems with a person, company or organisation, for example,

an ongoing dispute with a neighbour or a company you deal with, you might find that

mediation could bring about a better, longer-lasting solution to your problem.

Page 4

Using an alternative method could also help you get:

• an agreement over a debt;

• a change in the way a person or organisation behaves;

• an agreement that a person or company won’t do something;

• something fixed or replaced;

• an apology;

• an explanation for what happened to you;

• a mistake corrected; or

• compensation.

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I wish I had found this before I found you because now I have to go through with it and if the Court thinks I haven't made sufficient effort to resolve this then I stand a chance of still having to pay court costs.

 

This is why, if in doubt, you should seek professional legal advice. If you end up having to pay court costs because you didn't want to pay for legal advice in the first place, then that was your prerogative.

 

CAG offer what advice they can based on their knowledge and the outcomes of similar cases but never claim to know better than a professional.

 

If you're really serious about pursuing an issue then you can't expect advice to be handed to you on a plate for free.

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