Don’t be bullied by the ‘Big Boys’
Now more than ever large commercial organisations often assume that they are in a position to dictate how we run our lives. How many times have you had to take a whole afternoon, if not an entire day as holiday from work because a store cannot give you a more specific time when your washing machine is to be delivered? And then they don’t turn up!
Personally, I find it infuriating when I am expected to give time, effort or suffer sheer inconvenience from companies that build their reputations on putting their customers first and then fail to keep their promises.
Through my work as a solicitor I have realised that these big name brands are often unable to provide true customer service due to the size of their organisations. Confusing bureaucracy often means that they are unable to respond to their customers’ needs.
Let’s take my most recent example. A local man wished to develop a property he owned. He wanted to install a lift in the building and in order for it to be approved with a safety certificate he needed to fit an emergency telephone inside.
In the spring he called one of the UK’s main telephone companies to make arrangements for the feeding of the cable from the road to the building and the company agreed to complete the work within six to eight weeks. Four months later, the building work had been completed but the telephone cabling had not even been started and despite numerous calls there was still no sign of an engineer.
A further three months later the telephone company finally arrived and installed the cable. The man raised a complaint, detailing the substantial sum of money he had lost as a result of the delay. The company referred the matter to their in-house ‘compensation scheme’ who confidently informed him that due to their stringent ‘terms and conditions’ they could offer him just £54 compensation.
Justifiably outraged, the man came to see me and we started court proceedings claiming compensation for breach of contract. The company initially defended the matter but we quickly established that the terms and conditions upon which they relied had never been sent to the man at the time of the agreement and there was no evidence to support their claim that a date had not been agreed for completion of the works. As a result the company had to settle the matter with my client for a generous sum.
The case gives testimony that to the fact that we, the public, should never be intimidated by the complexity of the big company. We have a right to expect that even large companies will abide by the terms of the agreement that they have reached with us and if such a company makes a mistake which causes us loss then rather than hide behind ‘their procedures’ and ‘their terms and conditions’ they should address the matters promptly or face court action.