After paying £14 a month over eight years for a maintenance contract, Frank Hanson expected the red carpet treatment when his freezer packed up. He was disappointed.
An engineer came out but took one look and said he needed to send someone else. The second engineer did some work, said it was fixed and Frank went on holiday.
He came back to find the unit had packed up again and all the food, worth £100, was ruined. Domestic and General insurance annulled his protection plan because the repair costs were more than £250 (as detailed in the terms and conditions). He would have claimed on his household insurance, but the excess is £95, he said.
So that only left Dill and Sons, the firm of maintenance engineers based at Roman Ridge Industrial Estate, Grimesthorpe.
Frank, of Spinkhill Avenue, Woodthorpe, submitted a claim to them, which was rejected on grounds it was the insurance company’s responsibility. Frank said: “I feel frozen out.”
Philip Dill offered to settle Frank’s food bill.
He added: “In the past we’ve always referred cases like this back to the insurance company. But I will have a word and settle with him.
“I wouldn’t fill a newly repaired freezer before going away for a week.”
High-pressure sales tactics could be consigned to history when new regulations become law. They are set to allow people to claim a full refund for goods if they can prove they were pressured into buying them.
The rules are targeted at doorstep salesmen – selling anything from glazing to time-shares – who target vulnerable or older people, but they also cover car sales and trade-ins.
The Government is consulting on The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (Amendment) Regulations until October 11. They are set to become law next year.
Nigel Broadbent, of Lupton Fawcett Lee and Priestley solicitors said: “The regulations will give the consumer the right to unwind a contract they have entered into, or a payment they have made, as a result of aggressive behaviour or having been misled by the trader.
“Where consumers have been bullied or misled into selling goods – as in a car trade-in – then, if it is not possible to return the goods at all or in the same condition, the consumer will receive back the market value.
“Motor traders are likely to be affected by the new regulations as much as any. In disputes they will now face stronger claims to give full credit for the real market value of traded-in cars, as opposed to what the paperwork may say.
“With recent reforms in the law abolishing legal aid and making ‘no win no fee’ arrangements largely a thing of the past, consumers’ ability to access the judicial process has been somewhat reduced.
“But for the most part the direction of travel in the development of the law has been the same, namely to confer rights on the consumer at the expense of businesses.”