Hays in the bunker over 'appalling' service to golf club

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The Independent Online

A golf club has decided to go to court rather than pay a fee to Hays, the recruitment group, because it was so "appalled" at the service it received.

The Lambourne Club in Buckinghamshire asked Hays to source a new accounting assistant for the club. Accountancy recruitment is one of the specialities of the publicly quoted Hays group.

However, the club, which has an 18-hole course between Marlow and Slough, is refusing to meet Hays' £7,344 bill because it says the charge was "extortionate" and the service "totally unacceptable".

The case, which the club is defending, is scheduled to be heard at Slough County Court on Thursday.

The club, which charges its 600 members £1,600 a year, said: "Lambourne contends that Hays made no effort to find suitable candidates, that all the candidates provided by Hays were of very poor quality, and that the ultimate selection by Lambourne, being the best of a very bad bunch, proved to be totally unacceptable after a short period of work, leading to the candidate leaving."

The candidate recruited, who has not been named, was on an annual salary of £25,000 but left about a year ago. Lambourne will argue in court that Hays' terms and conditions were never made available to them, that there was no opportunity to negotiate charges, and that the fee of 25 per cent of the first year's salary was excessive. Hays declined to comment.

Anthony Walters, a Lambourne director, said: "It is quite amazing that any business, especially a giant like Hays, feels it can get away with this dreadful level of service and simply try and use the court system to threaten a smaller business."

Richard Webb, another director of the club, said: "This is a classic David and Goliath case, a small independent business taking a stand against a huge multinational.

"It has taken a lot of effort to defend the Hays claim but we believe we are doing this not only for ourselves but also for many other independent and family businesses."