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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fast debt recovery – plus over 8% interest on unpaid debts!

Question: How do I maximise the recovery of my business debts and get paid faster?

Answer: use a solicitor and claim interest under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998 and Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013!

Research has shown that using a solicitor gets the best results in debt recovery.  2/3 of debts where a solicitor’s letter is sent are paid within 7 days compared to 2/3 where no solicitor’s letter is sent are still unpaid after 1 month.

If you wish to recover debts quicker is may be worth sending a solicitors’ letter which generally has the desired effect.

Read more here.

Sentinels Solicitors have a proven track record of successfully recovering debts for professionals and small businesses.

If you are a business and your debt is owed by another business you may be able to charge interest on any debts under the Late Payments of Commercial Debts Act 1998 and the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013.

The interest applies if your debt is unpaid after 30 days from delivery of invoice or goods/services unless you have agreed a longer period.  The interest rate under this act is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate so it is far higher than current savings rates.

On top of interest you can charge a fixed sum based on the debt owed:

Amount of debt What you can charge
Up to £999.99 £40
£1,000 to £9,999.99 £70
£10,000 or more £100

Finally, you can claim reasonable costs in recovering your debt.

Call Nick on 01925 759 510 or complete the enquiry form at the side of this page.  We can chase your debts for a fixed fee and also advise on any disputes over payment.

 

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Retail Ombudsman

If you have bought products or services from many retailers you can now use the Retail Ombudsman service to settle disputes instead of going to court.  The Ombudsman service has the advantage of being simpler, quicker and less formal and cheaper.

Court cases that have a value of up to £15,000 and do not involve personal injury or have an injury element that is worth less than £1,000, will be allocated to what is called the Small Claims Track which used to be called the Small Claims Court.  This is still a court and your case would come before a Judge.  You would be allowed to use a solicitor or other lawyer but would have to pay the costs of your own solicitor yourself even if you win your case.Retail ombudsman corportate members

The Ombudsman could be an alternative to going to court.  You would still need to pay your own solicitor if you wanted to use one.  If you wish to discuss this in more detail please call Nick (a senior solicitor who will handle your claim) on 01925 759 510 or complete the contact form on this page.

The list of independent retailers who have signed up to this Scheme can be found here.

The home services companies who have signed up can be seen here.

Even if the retailer has not signed up it could agree to the terms of the Retail Ombudsman on a case by case basis and agree to be bound by the ombudsman findings.

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Exploding a-cigarettes, Exploding Vapers and Vaping Accidents

Vaping devices have been known to explode or over heat causing burns and other injuries.  The injuries can be serious: One man had suffered burns inside his lungs (read story) there are reports of injuries to teeth and tongues as well as fire damage caused by fires whilst the device is in a pocket.

This may be due to a defective battery or some other defect in the vaping device.  Sometimes the device catches fire whilst charging the battery as with the Samsung Galaxy S7.  Exploding vaping device defective vaper catching fire

If you have been injured by a malfunctioning vaping device you should be able to claim from either the retailer who sold it to you or the manufacturer.The chargers or products may not genuine and the manufacturer can’t be traced or has gone out of business but you could still claim against the retailer who sold it to you.

If you have been injured and wish to claim please try and keep your receipts for the device, any photographs/video of the damaged product, photographs/video of the injuries and details of any other financial expense you have been put to because of the injury.  If clothes or other items have been damaged it is best to keep the damaged itemsVaping accident burn injury in case they need to be inspected.  It is also important to keep the defective e-cigarette.

If you are in any doubt or wish to talk about claiming call Nick (a senior solicitor) for free initial  advice on 01925 759 510.  All work on a no win no fee basis.

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Defective products mountain bike and car cause serious injury and damage

In Ide v ATB Sales Ltd (2008) an experienced mountain biker was riding a trail when his handlebars snapped causing him to fall from his bike and suffer serious injuries.  No one actually saw the accident but his friends who were riding with him and arrived to see him lying by his bike gave evidence.

This case was decided in the High Court and the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court.  The question was whether the handlebar was broken in the fall or its breaking caused the fall.  The court held that it was more likely than not that the handlebar broke which caused the fall.

Expert witnesses were needed to show that the handle bars were defective and once this was established the court found the importer of the US made bike liable under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

In Lexus Financial Services v Russell (heard at the same time as Ide v ATB) the Court of Appeal also considered the case of a Lexus car that had apparently caught fire spontaneously whilst left in the owner’s garage overnight.  Expert evidence could not verify the actual cause of the fire and the court relied on witness evidence of where the fire was seen as proving it was more likely than not to have originated inside the Lexus which must have been due to a defect in its electrical system.  The Court of Appeal agreed with the judge in the High Court.

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Product liability – Consumer Protection Act 1987

As well as any rights you have as a consumer to get a refund for any defective product if the defect has caused you injury or loss you can claim for that as well.

You may have additional rights under section 75 or 75A of the Consumer Credit Act (which are covered in other blogs of mine) depending how you paid for the goods.

Who do I claim against?

You can claim against the retailer who sold you the product or the manufacturer or if it is a product imported into the EU you can claim against the importer.

You will have to prove that the product was defective and that the defect caused the loss or injury so it is important to keep as much evidence as possible of the following:

  • the marketing information about the product bought
  • any emails, texts or documents (eg receipts or letters) about the contract and the defect
  • photographs or videos of the defective product
  • keep the defective product itself if possible as it may need to be inspected
  • see your GP or A&E if you have been injured
  • take photographs of injuries that are visible and that may disappear (eg cuts and bruises)
  • keep any receipts for travel or medical expenses
  • keep details of any other losses caused by the accident such as loss of earnings if you have been off work

Call Nick a senior solicitor for advice on 01925 759 510.

 

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Consumer Rights Act 2015

 The Consumer Rights Act 2015 updates consumer rights given by the Sale of Goods Act and Sale of Goods and Services Act.  It applies to most things that you buy from new cars to kitchens and also services you pay for such as builders to carpet cleaners.

Products

As with the Sale of Goods Act, under the Consumer Rights Act all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.

Digital content is included in this definition. So all products – whether physical or digital – must meet the following standards:

  • Satisfactory quality – Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question. For example, bargain-bucket products won’t be held to as high standards as luxury  goods.
  • Fit for purpose  The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.
  • As described  The goods supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

Who to claim against?

If what you’ve bought doesn’t satisfy any one of the three criteria outlined above, you should have a claim under the Consumer Rights Act.

Your rights under the Consumer Rights Act are against the retailer who sold you the product not the manufacturer, so you must take any claim to the retailer.

What you can claim depends on how much time has passed since you made the purchase.

30 day rights

You can reject the goods and get a full refund if you act within 30 days of the purchase (this does not apply to digital downloads and the time limit for perishable goods could be shorter).

Outside of 30 days you have to give the retailer the option to repair or replace the product.

You may be entitled to a refund or partial refund if the repair/replacement:

  • is not possible,
  • would cause significant inconvenience
  • would take too long
  • is disproportionate to the value of the product

6 month rights

Any defect noticed within 6 months of purchase will be treated as having been there at the time of purchase unless the retailer can prove otherwise.  The burden of proof is on the retailer so they have to prove that the defect wasn’t there, you do not have to prove that it was.

Outside of 6 months it is you that has to prove that the defect was present at the time of delivery.

The retailer cannot make any deductions from the refund for your use of the product within the first 6 months, unless the product is a motor vehicle.  For motor vehicles the retailer can make a deduction for any use between 30 days and 6 months of purchase.

Delivery and transit

The retailer is responsible for the product until it is delivered to you and in your possession.  So if it is damaged in transit you can reject it at your door.

Generally deliveries have to be made within 30 days of purchase and if they are not you are entitled to cancel the order and get a full refund.

Services

These could include anything from fitting a kitchen, double glazing or solar panels, car repairs or work done by builders, estate agents or solicitors.

All contracts for services must do the following:

  • The tradesman must perform the service with reasonable care and skill
  • Information that is spoken or written is binding if the consumer relies on it
  • Where the price is not agreed beforehand, the service must be provided for a reasonable price
  • Unless a particular timescale for performing the service is set out or agreed, the service must be carried out in a reasonable time

Remedies under the Consumer Rights Act

The trader could either redo the element of the service that’s inadequate, or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you, within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience.

Or

Where the repeat performance is impossible, or can’t be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. Depending on how severe the failings are, this could be up to 100% of the cost, and the trader should refund you within 14 days of agreeing that you’re entitled to a refund.

Section 75 and section 75A – Consumer Credit Act and Hire-Purchase

Section 75 – If you paid for part of your goods or services on a credit card (any amount) and the goods or services cost between £100 and £30,000 (it does not apply if the cost is less than £100 or more than £30,000) you can pursue your claim against the credit supplier (credit card company) as if they were the retailer.

Section 75A – this works in a similar fashion to s.75 but applies to goods or services which are paid for through a connected credit agreement (eg you have signed a credit agreement which is particular to the goods or services purchased as you might do for solar panels or a fitted kitchen or bedroom), the price limits are also different and it only applies to goods and services costing no more than £60,260.  This section will not apply if s.75 applies so if you paid by credit card the credit agreement will not be tied specifically to the goods or services paid for.

Hire-purchase agreements (common when buying a car where you do not own the car from the outset but are given an option at the end of the hire purchase period to buy it) are treated differently again – these are not credit agreements in the same way as s.75A and so s.75A will not apply.  However, you may still have remedies under the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 which implies similar terms into your contract of fitness for purpose and satisfactory quality.  You can claim against the hire purchase credit supplier as if they were the retailer from whom you bought your car.

To speak to a senior solicitor call Nick today for advice 01925 759 510

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PPI cut off date set for 29-08-19

If you think you may have a PPI claim and have not yet done anything about it, we recommend that you look at it now.  A cut off date of 29-08-19 has been set so that any claims after this date will be likely to be rejected.

Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Santander have all put aside large sums (£35 billion) to cover this liability but some say this may not be enough.

Whilst this seems like a long way off we all know time can pass in a flash as other matters get in the way.

Delay will not make your chances of success any better.

Call Nick for assistance today on 01925 759 510PPI image

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Cyclist found 25% to blame for riding in the middle of a narrow road

The Case

A cyclist was riding along a single carriageway country lane (5m wide with no markings) in the middle of the road.  A vehicle approached from the opposite direction and had a clear view (60 metres) of the cyclist and time to stop.  The car did not stop but it did slow down to about 20mph.  Unfortunately, the cyclist’s front wheel had hit the rear offside wheel of the car causing the cyclist to lose her balance and fall to her right hitting her head on the road..

The High Court (Sinclair v Joyner [2015]) found the car driver to blame for failing to stop to allow the cyclist to pass safely when there was time to do so and this error of judgment was negligent.

However, the cyclist should not have been in the middle of the road and this contributed to the accident happening.  The cyclist was found 25% to blame.

This meant that the compensation her injuries deserved was reduced by 25%.

The Claimant suffered severe head and brain injuries as a result of her head hitting the road.

Should not wearing a helmet mean a reduction in compensation?Cyclist knocked off bike by car

The cyclist was not wearing a helmet.  There was some arguments over whether this should further reduce her compensation.  The Judge said not.  There was no medical evidence that showed that the injuries were any worse because she was not wearing a helmet.

It therefore appears that to get a reduction in compensation for not wearing a helmet will require convincing medical evidence that the helmet would have reduced or even prevented the injuries suffered.

Legal help

If you have had a cycling accident caused by another vehicle, cyclist or some obstacle or defect in the road and have suffered injuries call Nick (senior solicitor) for expert legal advice 01925 759 510.  All work on a no win no fee basis.

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Cycling injuries and faulty or defective bike

As a keen cyclist I have had near misses with vehicles or defects in the road that have thrown me off balance.   I have had my fair share of accidents too but mine could only be blamed on my own slightly carefree riding style!

Cycling accidents

If you are knocked off balance or even off your bike by passing vehicles you fall because you hit a large pothole you may be able to claim compensation for any injuries and financial losses including the damage to your bike.

These are some tips to give your claim the best chance of success

  • try and take their name, address and vehicle registration number (if they stop)
  • try to take a picture of the vehicle registration of the offending vehicle or any witnesses
  • photograph the scene and any road defects including your approach
  • get details of any witnesses if possible
  • report the incident to the nearest police station or your local station as soon as possible and get the name of the police officer
  • see the list below for other tips

If you have been injured by a motorist who leaves the scene before you can get the details of the vehicle you may still be able to claim from a body called the Motor Insurers Bureau.

Faulty or defective bikes

You may have been injured because of a faulty or defective bike you can claim for the injuries and loss from the retailer who sold you the bike or manufacturer of the bike.

I have had a client recently whose seat broke away from his seat post as the fixing bolts snapped.  He was cycling quite fast at the time and was thrown from his bike suffering some nasty road rash and a soft tissue knee injury.  His confidence has also been affected when cycling now and he is less willing to cycle fast.

The bike was out of warranty but was still not much more than 12 months old.  The bolts that attached the seat to the seat post were clearly faulty and the manufacturer and retailer are likely to be found to blame.

Mechanical or structural defects in bikes can cause nasty accidents depending on when the bike breaks or fails and how fast you are going.

If you have been unfortunate enough to have experienced this here are some tips to help give your claim the best chance of success:

  • See your GP to report your injuries as soon as possible afterwards;
  • take pictures of any defects in the road if you are able and the general scene of the accident if you are not in too much pain!
  • take pictures of the bike and any broken parts both the parts that might have caused you to fall off and any other damage that you would wish to claim for.
  • keep any receipts from your original purchase of the bike to show how old it is and where you bought it
  • keep any receipts for any repairs to show how much you have spent, what had to be done to repair it and who did the repairs
  • if there are any witnesses to the accident try and get their details, this might mean knocking on someone’s door near where you fell and just letting them know it happened (getting their name and a note of the address is helpful)

If you would like some advice call Nick a senior solicitor on 01925 759 510.

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Holiday company failures

If you went on holiday and it didn’t meet your expectations you may be able to claim the cost of your holiday and compensation under the Package Holiday Regulations (The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992).

You may found your hotel half built or bought a sporting holiday and there were no instructors, equipment or the golf course was closed you could be entitled to claim, you may have been promised a swimming pool and found that it was out of order.  I deal with holiday sickness and accidents in a different blog.

If these things were promised in the brochure whether by a glossy photograph or words or the travel agent made them in your meeting or telephone call you may be able to claim compensation if they were not as advertised.

What is a Package?

For a holiday to be a package you need to have booked 2 or more of the following (1) travel (eg flights, ferry, Chunnel etc); (2) accommodation (eg hotel or apartment etc); AND/OR (3) something else which is a large part of your holiday (eg sports add on such as golf, cycling, scuba diving, sailing or windsurfing, it may also include car hire) together as a package even if you pay for each one separately or they are picked out separately by you, if they are effectively bundled up by the travel agent they should be a package.

Things to do

Take photos or video of any evidence such as the state of the hotel.

Keep all the paperwork relating to the holiday including emails and any brochures or leaflets.  If you got details of the internet  taking a screen shot of the website helps if it is later changed.

Keep details of any financial losses you have that are caused by the problems.  These might be travel expenses or alternative accommodation expenses that you have had to pay for yourself.

Call Nick a senior solicitors for advice on 01925 759 510!

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Directors: Victoria Jane Carr LLB (Hons). Nicholas John Bettridge LLB (Hons).
Registered Office: 792 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6UG
Sentinels Solicitors Limited is a company registered in England & Wales. Registered Number 5984329
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