Our client approached us when her washing machine and other items were damaged during a house move. She wanted to know how to get the problem rectified with the company that she paid to do the removal. The company had not issued her with a receipt. As the client had dyslexia, our Adviser helped her to use our template letter to complain to the company. After she was told the company would not speak to her and received no reply to her letter we helped her to write a second letter. On her next visit our Adviser offered to call the removers on her behalf. The Adviser asked the removers for a receipt for the work, for information about the terms and conditions and about their insurance for the work. The company’s representative declined to answer these questions. We advised the client to establish the identity of the company with HMRC.
A few days later, the company made a verbal offer of a minimal amount of compensation. The client said that this was not acceptable and that she wanted to pursue legal action through the small claims court. We explored a range of other options for resolving the problem, including looking for other insurance and seeking an independent dispute resolution service. The client was advised that she should establish the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged articles to show the correct amount of compensation. We helped the client write a letter refusing the company’s offer and offering a resolution meeting before court action to send by recorded delivery.
When the company refused to sign for the letter the client decided that she had no option but to proceed to court. She returned to Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk for advice on how to do this. Our Adviser gave her a copy of the correct form and explained where to send it. The Adviser explained the fees that she would need to pay and warned the client that even if her claim was successful she may not get that money back. The client decided that what mattered to her was being treated properly, and that principle was important enough for her to take court action. The client visited us twice more when there were things about the process that she didn’t understand. Finally, we helped the client to prepare for the court case by explaining what she should take to the hearing with her.
Although at the Small Claims Court the judgement did not go in her favour, the client was glad that she had held the removal company accountable for their actions.
Our client said, “I felt distressed and overwhelmed with the situation. I found it upsetting how I was treated by the business. I was relieved and happy that I could get help, and it reminded me that there were good people there trying to help. Without having that balance I think I would have got low about it. I do suffer with depression so it could have affected me quite badly. Having the Adviser speak to the company for me and be treated rudely made me see that it wasn’t personal. If I haven’t had Citizens Advice the removal company might have got away with it.
I couldn’t fault the Citizens Advice, I think they have been marvellous. Everything they advised me was correct. I couldn’t have managed without them. I was disappointed that I didn’t win, but I hope that holding the company accountable will show them there are consequences for what they’ve done.”