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I am thinking that, in view of all the posts on the forums about people losing money or requesting refunds due to dissatisfaction, that the tribe could come together and produce a crowd-sourced guide of how to get your money back.Here are my suggestions:1. Keep a record of all phone calls, emails, letters, etc. logging who you spoke to and what was said. Documentary evidence is crucial.2. Put everything in writing.3. In the first instance, ask for a copy of their Complaints Procedure and follow that. If they do not have one, then its extra ammunition for you.4. Refer specifically to the implied term under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 section 13, to use reasonable care and skill when, as a business, they’re providing a service. Have they shown a "duty of care" to you? If not, explain why and that you want your money back.5. Do not make idle threats, as they have heard them all before and they will fall on deaf ears. Be business like and professional and VERY persistent. You can wear them down by contacting them every day.6. Do not be fobbed off. Ask for deadlines if they say they will refund you. If the money does not appear in your bank account on that date, get in touch with them immediately.7. Turn up at their offices at 9.00 a.m. and say you are not leaving without a cheque in your hand. Take a friend to act as a witness for you. They may threaten to call the police. Let them!8. You can report them to Trading Standards and, if you exhaust the Complaints Procedure, you can then think about taking the legal route which could involve petitioning for bankruptcy.9. Property Tribes' legal partner Anthony Gold Solicitors is having some success at getting money back in these kind of cases. Contact Clifford Tibber at Anthony Gold for advice. Clifford.Tibber (at) anthonygold.co.uk .10. Property Journalist Graham Norwood often writes articles on sharp practice. You can contact him via http://www.grahamnorwood.com . You can use this as leverage to imply that you are serious about getting your money back.11. Do not be fobbed off with promises of a "replacement deal". It is very unlikely that this will materialise and is just a stalling process so that they do not have to return your money.12. If the company is running more events to market to newbies, attend the event and stand outside with a placard stating your dissatisfaction. It has been known that the company will give a refund to make you go away and stop disrupting their marketing funnel!13. If you paid on a credit card, you may be able to get a refund under Section 75.See - MBNA vs. Malouf Has any one else got any suggestions or successfully got their money back? If so, please share!
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
I think that should be a last resort though, and a bargaining tool i.e. "I will feel compelled to post my experiences with your company on property forums unless you resolve my issues".Anything remotely defamatory will probably have to be deleted as the forum owner is held responsible for the content and we are not interested in entering legal battles.People can create their own forums and blogs to expose these companies and take responsiblity for them
Keeping records, chasing regularly etc are all helpful, but ultimately if someone doesn't pay, you have to force them.There are many law firms and collection agents around who do this, I use Sherwins (part of Sher Group). Another, Carlo Pegna, advertises in the FSB magazine. I know Landlord Action also do this kind of work (and I believe teamed up with Sher Group to enforce debt against Ajay Ahuja).The process only works if there is some form of asset you can go after, e.g. trading company, a car, some cash, a property, or a salaried income. If someone is on benefits and has no assets, your options are more limited, but YOU need to decide which.For most ex-tenants I find they have limited cash, so an attachment of earnings is often best as it's regular payments over time, but they can be small. If I get a sniff of assets (car, cash, house, etc) we will attempt to get control of those assets.If someone owes me money I do some chasing, if it doesn't work, I send the details to Sherwins. They sent a letter before action (i.e. you have 14 days to pay or else) and states exactly what they owe. If they ignore, we issue proceedings to the local court. Once we get a judgement (most debtors don't defend as they know they cannot) we then enforce, usually by an attachment of earnings on their salary, by using collection agents (via a High Court writ), or a charging order on property.I've heard stories of people owed money seizing control of (or threatening to) all sorts of things including cars, computers in a letting agent's office, even aircraft. If they have assets, it's not hard to recover debt, but you do have to be patient. The courts are under enormous pressure, and with cuts coming it's only going to get worse. I currently have an attachment of earnings going through, we're working on a charging order, and also arranging to make an attempt to levy against a car. It's a horrible business, but unfortunately if people think they can take and not pay, they are wrong.Obviously the best option is to not deal with these people in the first place. Check references, credit check, bank statements, whatever it takes to asses prior. There are lots of good businesses and good tenants out there, we should focus on them.
My understanding is that county court bailiffs are jobsworths with limited motivation to collect, and who earn no commissions. By transferring it to a High Court writ, you can use Sheriffs who are much more motivated to succeed as income depends on collection.The fees they charge tenants are quite high (capped by law) but I'm having some success with them, and never collected anything via a bailiff. Can't remember the cost to convert off-hand, but it's not too much.When people don't pay I now steam ahead with the process, and my experience is many debtors are just playing the game, waiting to see how serious we are about acting. So the sooner we act, the sooner we get to the sweet-spot, and the sooner they deliver what they agreed under the terms of the contract.