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Good Morning! I was wondering whether anybody else had dealings with Britannia Music and might be able to help?

 

I signed up for an offer for some DVDs about three years ago and apart from the odd one which I wanted (which was't that many as the films which I wanted were always much cheaper in Tesco) I religiously cancelled the 'recommended recording' each month as I received an e mail with the suggestion and a simple 'accept/decline' button. Several months ago they stopped e mailing the recommendations and I received three DVDs in succession, only one of which I wanted, so I sent the other two back (at my expense as is the norm) by recorded delivery.

 

When I checked my outstanding balance it was showing something ridiculous like about £35, so I e mailed them complaining that the balance was wrong and asking for how it had been made up as there was no checkable account history on the website. They replied that one of the returns had not yet been credited and the remainder was the DVD which I had kept (fair enough) and a charge of £5 for returning a film after the 30 day deadline. Although this is probably covered in the small print of the agreement I was unaware of it but find it incredibly difficult to get to a Post Office......anyway at almost the same time as I received the e mail I got a letter from Britannia's solicitors chasing the outstanding balance (which although was now less as the second DVD return had been processed but at a cost of a further £5 late return fee) and charging me an additional £10 late administration charge. The oustanding balance was now for 1 film plus a total of £10 in late return charges plus a £10 administration fee. I e mailed again saying that I did not agree with the £5 charges for returning the DVDs as I had not been given the normal means of cancelling the suggested order ie an email as had always been the case, and said that I did not intend to accept a £10 solicitors letter charge as Britannia had acknowledged and were investigating my dispute over the amount owed. I also said that I would make a payment on the same day to cover what I believed was legitimitely due to them (and did so via their website) and asked to close the account if they were not prepared to return to e mailing me suggested recordings in the future.

 

Britannia then replied and said that they would not waive the charges, but had agreed to close the account. I have now received a further letter, with another £10 administration fee chasing the earlier administration fee plus an amount of £6.53 which represents the remainder of the late return fees (I must have overpaid by £3.47 for the DVD which I wanted to keep!).

 

I note that Britannia are now based in Jersey, presumably to benefit from lower taxation. My question is, what can I do if anything, about the outstanding balance? It's not a lot in terms of money, I am just aggrieved that I think that it consists of charges unfairly levied, and some of which were made whilst I had already registered a dispute over the amount actually owed. Or should I just pay up and stop moaning?


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Any advice? A long explanation but the top and bottom is whether the charges which they say that I owe are penalty charges or whether they are part of the agreement which I accepted when I signed up. Are they enforceable?


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When you stopped getting the e-mails, did you receive any other form of notification about the DVD of the month? And has your e-mail address changed?

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No and no....My e mail address never changed. Britannia moved from the UK to Jersey and changed their website. I kept all of the e mailed rejection confirmations up to February 2006, then in March received an e mail saying 'New Website - register now' which I did and after that time I stopped receiving the recommended recording notification via e mail altogether. I received a DVD not long afterwards which I queried and was told that I should have logged into the website to reject and had to send it back at my own expense, following which I was then invoiced for a DVD which I had not ordered or received and when queried it was refunded to my account. I managed to reject a couple of recordings via the website but without a prompt to log in and do so I also missed a couple and received them and it is these that cost me £5 each to return as I did so outside of a 30 day limit for returning unwanted items. I see this as a penalty charge as it surely costs no more for them to put back into stock after a month than it does to do so in a week. It is for not paying these two £5 fees that I have now been hit with two £10 admin fees from their solicitor for late or non payment of the account (which Britannia have closed at my request).

 

The response which I had to my question over them stopping the e mails was that I could still stop the recommended recording being sent to me by accessing their website (which is OK if I am prompted to do so otherwise I would have to set a reminder), or when I received notification by post (which I very rarely actually) received. That to me is irrelevant as when I opened the account I was asked whether I wished to receive e mails and accepted this option. They altered the service that was being provided to me which allowed me an efficient means of not receiving unwanted goods.


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Sidewinder,

 

Did they notify you at any time of the change in their procedures relating to rejecting the DVD of the month?

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Sidewinder,

 

Did they notify you at any time of the change in their procedures relating to rejecting the DVD of the month?

 

No they didn't. Until February I received an e mail each month advising of the recommended recording. In March I received the following e mail:-

 

Dear Mr xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Our new website has now launched and now we'll be offering you even more ways of accessing the latest and biggest deals in home entertainment. The following tells you what you can expect and how it all works.

To shop at www.bclub.co.uk you'll need to re-register your online account;

(If you’ve already done this, please ignore these instructions).

 

Make a note of your customer account number (you'll find this at the bottom of this email or on your last invoice).

Visit the www.bclub.co.uk website.

Click on the link in the top right hand corner of the page "register existing account".

Enter your account number, preferred email address, and a new password.

It's that simple and now you'll be able to;

Browse thousands of titles.

Benefit from the new reward programme - See below for details.

Use the new search tool

Gain extra security features

Accept and reject recommended recordings

Place orders and pay for your account balance.

I duly re-registered and there is no mention either in the above or on the website that I would no longer be e mailed with recommendations.

 

There was nothing to indicate that the means by which recommended recordings were communicated to me had changed.

 

The letter which I have now received is from New England Collections (not a solicitor but a DCA) and reads as follows.

 

Dear Mr xxxxxxxxxxxx

Membership number xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx outstanding balance £16.54, Administration charge added £10.00 total balance due £26.54.

We contacted you recently to advise of our involvement in the recovery of your debt to Britannia of £16.54 and we are concerned to note that you have failed to contact us regarding settlement of this account.

An administration charge of £10.00 has been added to cover our costs in collecting this debt. Therefore a payment of £26.54 must be received within the next 14 days to stop further action being taken. THIS ACTION MAY INCLUDE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS WHICH MAY AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO OBTAIN CREDIT IN THE FUTURE.

We would reasonably advise you to settle this issue without further expense and cost to yourself. To talk to one of us or pay by credit card, call etc etc.

Yours sincerely

Ann Broad

Collections Dept

 

The letter is dated 9th December but not postmarked until 15th December and not received by me until 30th December. Ann Broad must be a busy lady for she not only appears here as Collections Dept but also as Head of Member Services on the last e mail I received from Britannia. NEC is a trading name of UDG, the owners of Britannia, with a mailing address of Ilford and a payment address in Jersey.

 

As I have said before this isn't particularly about the money, but more that I disputed the principle of charging whilst they new that I had questioned how the balance had been made up, then adding a further charge despite my having paid in full (plus a bit more) for the DVD which I had actually bought. On my account details section I still have the box ticked for them to advise me of offers by e mail.

 

How likely is it that I now have a marker with the CRAs for bad payment? Would it not be easier to just pay up and write it off?


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I would suggest you write to the DCA and advise them that the account is in dispute. They should then refer it back to Britannia. Then contact Britannia and point out the way in which you were contacted previously, and how you received no notification of a change in this procedure, and you regard it as unfair to change their methods without being properly notified.

 

Point out that you regard the £10 administration fees as penalty charges which are unlawful and that you will not be paying them. I would also inform them that as the account is in dispute that they should not register any information with the CRA's as you will regard this as inaccurate and will take the matter up with the Information Commissioner.

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Thanks for the advice. I have now penned a letter to them and copied to Britannia to the effect that I consider the account in dispute as previously advised and not satisfactorily resolved. Also that I consider the fees to be penalty charges and therefore unlawful and that these would not be paid. I have also requested that adverse information will not be recorded with CRAs and that I will report the matter if this is found to have occurred.

 

I think that covers your suggestions!


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Hi,

 

Did you get anywhere with Britannia? I am trying to contact them but think they must have closed down. Has anyone got a contact number for them?

 

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

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they have closed down and accounts have been passed onto DCA's most seem to have gone to Intrum Justitia :confused:

have you received any correspondance from anyone :confused:

honey x

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Trying to do my Bank's job for them!

 

It was originally my mistake. I wanted to pay for our holiday through internet banking but having set up the company I pressed the 'back' button to check my funds. This set the payee to the first on the list which was New England Collections (Britannia). Having realised as soon as the confirmation came up I rang Abbey only to be told they could not stop the payment as it was done online? Strange as they can stop an internet payment through Abbey's Business Account!!

 

They told me they would put a trace on it and return the money. Many phone calls later, and after waiting 6 weeks for the process to complete, I was told that somebody had 'forgot to do it'. Another trace was done but yet again, after many calls, I was told that the file was mistakenly closed without any action being taken due to a fault in changing computer systems.

 

They finally did the trace in April (8 months later). I still haven't had the money!

 

I've just looked on Companies House and have seen that Britannia was voluntarily dissolved on 21/08/2007. This is exactly when my money would have gone into their account. Apparently the account should be frozen and all credit balances go to the Crown. I am contacting them at the moment but doesn't look to good.

 

Seems lots of people are having problems.:mad:

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