Hoover gets sucked into a blockage over free air tickets dispute

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The Independent Online
WHEN David Dixon impounded a van owned by Hoover because of the company's failure to deliver on a promotional offer of free air tickets, he hoped his action would prompt the miscreant multi-national to clean up its act.

But, buoyed by support from other disgruntled customers all over the country, he could end up sucking Hoover into an embarrassing legal battle.

Mr Dixon paid pounds 500 for a Hoover washing machine in November and intended to use the free tickets to take his wife, Janis, and son, Jonathan, 12, to Disneyworld in Florida. Not only did the tickets fail to turn up, but the machine developed a fault that caused it to lurch from side to side.

Since Friday, when Mr Dixon used a lorry to block in the van of the repair man who turned up to fix the machine, he has received about 80 calls from other people who have not received free tickets from Hoover. 'They rang to say 'Well done - we wish we had thought of that,' ' he said.

Mr Dixon, 42, who builds horse carriages from an engineering workshop at his semi-detached home in High Seaton, near Workington, Cumbria, told his local newspaper about his protest, but was unprepared for the national and international media attention.

One tabloid newspaper has offered him a holiday in the United States. Another has promised to pay his legal fees should the matter go to court. Television stations that have contacted him include the ABC network from the United States.

He said that he had also received half a dozen calls from Hoover saying the company would not enter into negotiations until the van had been released and that he was affecting the livelihood of the man whose van he decided to impound. The police were called in, but judged the incident to be a civil matter between Mr Dixon and Hoover.

Mr Dixon said: 'I have faxed to them, I have written to them, I have phoned them. In fact, I spent three days every 20 minutes trying to get through to their helpline number.'

Last night he was squaring up for the deadlock to continue: 'When I get my tickets, they'll get their van.'

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