Questions of Cash: Car accident that put me on a collision course with solicitors
Friday 10 May 2013
Q. I was a passenger in a car accident two years ago. Spencers solicitors in Chesterfield acted on behalf of the driver, and sent me paperwork to make a claim for compensation. I signed the paperwork and visited a doctor for a claim of about £2,500. Spencers did not receive the first set of papers.
As a result, they said they would take me to court for their costs, which amounted to the same value as the compensation claim. I asked Spencers how I could avoid having my belongings taken away by bailiffs and they told me that I could reinstruct them, avoiding further costs and then obtaining compensation.
I sent the paperwork in again and expected a compensation payment. Instead I have now been sent a letter, again stating that they have not received the signed paperwork. Now Spencers, who were acting on my behalf, are to instruct the court and bailiffs to collect costs of £2,500. When I contacted them in panic, I was told they would not act on my behalf again, but would accept a payment of £498 to put the matter to rest. CT, London.
A. Your version of events is not accepted by Spencers. Given the conflicting interpretations of what happened, we are not in a position to take a view on which party is in the right. With the benefit of hindsight, you should have sent the papers to the solicitors by recorded delivery. We suggested to Spencers that as the problem appeared – from your version of events – to have come about through a loss of mail and a misunderstanding, it would be helpful if the matter could be resolved by the papers being signed again and Spencers pursuing that matter on your behalf. Spencers said it could not act for you having obtained a court judgment against you.
Robert Landman, chief financial officer of Spencers solicitors, says: "Unfortunately, we are limited in the extent to which we can respond in detail due to us being strictly bound by the Solicitors Regulation Authority professional code of conduct, one aspect of which is client confidentiality... As confirmed to you, we were instructed to pursue a claim for compensation on behalf of [the reader].
"We took full instructions, prepared relevant documents, commenced the claim and arranged a medical examination. Spencers spent appropriate time on the claim and incurred relevant expenses. After exhaustive but unsuccessful attempts to obtain [the reader's] ongoing instructions through correspondence and telephone calls over three-and-a-half months, [the reader] was clearly in breach of the terms of her contract by failing to co-operate in the provision or collection of information relevant to the claim. Spencers consequently commenced proceedings to recover its costs and expenses, in full adherence to our terms of business.
"We firmly believe that we have acted professionally throughout this case, as we do for all our clients. In an effort to seek a resolution to this matter, Spencers had already agreed with [the reader] to waive its basic charges and accept payment only for expenses incurred, and she had agreed to this. For this reason, we were surprised when [the reader] decided to make this matter public."
You seem to have three avenues available to you. One is to pay Spencers' reduced charges. The alternatives are to seek further independent advice, such as that from Citizens Advice, or pursue a complaint through the Legal Ombudsman.
Q. On Good Friday, I tried to withdraw cash from an HBOS cashpoint in Marchmont, Edinburgh . The ATM accepted my card, PIN and cash request but then whirred and retained my card without dispensing cash. It displayed a message saying that a system error meant that the ATM was being withdrawn from service.
While standing at the ATM, I phoned HBOS using the number displayed above the machine, and reported the error. The person I spoke to refused to make any note of my call, saying that as I am not an HBOS customer I had to phone my own bank. Within 20 minutes I phoned my bank, Smile, and cancelled my card. Smile assured me there was no reason why my card should have been retained.
My next bank statement showed that three cash withdrawals had been made from another ATM a few yards away from the HBOS ATM immediately after my card had been taken. Smile refunded the loss without question, but if HBOS had immediately investigated my complaint they would have discovered the criminal fraud taking place. DH, West Midlands.
A. A skimming device was fitted to the front of the HBOS ATM, enabling criminals to conduct the fraud. HBOS has listened to the recording of your call: you said the ATM was "broken and there was an error message". Neither you nor HBOS were aware a fraud was taking place. As a result, HBOS says its staff member was correct in not taking any further action beyond advising you to contact your own bank to arrange for your card to be cancelled.
However, it agrees that the staff member should have logged your call, though this would, it seems, not have made any difference. A spokeswoman for HBOS says: "We can confirm the Bank of Scotland Marchmont ATM was recently affected by a skimming device. We sincerely apologise to [the reader] for the poor service he received when he called to report the fault, and can confirm we are investigating the matter."
HBOS became aware of the skimming device only when a customer reported this when the branch reopened after the long weekend. We asked the bank what a person should do when they find a skimming device attached to an ATM. Its suggested action is identical to what you did – except you did not specify that a skimming device was attached. As you were unaware of that, it is difficult to see what else you could have done.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting
Child Maintenance Service to replace Child Support Agency - but is it better?
A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university
Bargain Hunter: Kit yourself out in sports gear - at a healthy discount of up to 75%
The 10 Best money-saving sites
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony