Sheffield dinner lady serves justice to firm which made her life a misery

A Sheffield dinner lady says she is delighted after serving-up a large helping of justice to an '˜aggressive' telecoms company who made her life a misery.

Monday, 18th January 2016, 5:13 am
Jayne Furniss has won a battle with telecoms provider Unicom

Jayne Furniss claims she was ‘constantly harassed’ by Unicom after the firm incorrectly fined her for cancelling a landline when she sold her cafe.

For the next three months Jayne said she received ‘persistent’ phone calls, threats of court action, bailiffs and damage to her credit rating.

But after obtaining recordings of earlier phone calls – which proved Unicom said they would not charge for termination if she ceased trading – the firm relented and paid out £718.35 in compensation.

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Jayne, aged 46, said: “The non-stop harassment made my life a misery, it got me down so much.

“The way they treated me was horrendous. I’ve never had court papers and threatening letters in my life, I’m not that kind of person.

“I always pay my debts – I worry if I owe someone a tenner.” In December 2013 Jayne sold her cafe, the Perfect Pie, in Walkley, to another owner after running it for five years.

She told Unicom she was ceasing to trade and assumed this would be then end of it.

But within a matter of days she received a letter claiming she owed a £418.35 termination fee.

Jayne, of Norton, who works for a firm which prepares school dinners, said: “I thought they must have made a mistake so gave them a call. But they said ‘no, there’s no mistake, you have broken your contract’.

“I was fuming. Not only because I’d been told many times that I wouldn’t be charged a cancellation fee if I ceased trading.

“But the man I sold the cafe too actually signed up with Unicom too – and took out a bigger package.

“It should have been my name off and his name on.”

After three months of misery, Jayne finally cracked under the firm’s threats and paid the money.

In May 2015, lawyer Ian Senior obtained a recording of a verbal contract between Jayne and Unicom, made in February 2013.

In December 2015 Unicom gave Jayne a refund of £418.35 and a ‘goodwill payment’ of £300.

Jayne said: “I’m delighted with the result as they made my life a misery.”

A Unicom spokesman said: “Unicom specialises in servicing small business customers, and as part of our offering we do not charge termination fees if businesses close down.

“However, upon reviewing this particular case we realised that confusion with our terms could arise when businesses are sold rather than closed.

“Recognising that Ms Furniss could have been better served by us at the time, we settled the matter with her at the end of last year.”

He added: “We would like to provide reassurance that we are still honouring our commitment not to charge termination fees to Unicom customers whose businesses are known to have closed.”