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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I own a holiday chalet on land owned by the local council.

Resolved Question:

I own a holiday chalet on land owned by the local council. My electricity is provided by cards placed in a meter outside the chalet and I purchase these directly from the council on and 'as and when' basis.

A few months ago the council wrote to me ( and the other. 300 chalet owners) to say that they had accumulated an overpayment of electricity and that they now intended to rebate any chalet owner who firstly signed a disclaimer stating that on receipt of such a rebate, they then absolved the council of any further responsibility regarding this matter

I refused, arguing that as the council is not legally entitled to make a profit from the sale of electricity, they had an obligation to rebate this electricity to chalet owners without any justification to insist on chalet owners firstly signing a disclaimer.

They have again refused stating that over 200 chalet owners have signed the disclaimer and that they will only give me a rebate if I also sign this form.

I do not believe this to be legal as if they have already given 200 people a refund ( based purely on wether they have signed a disclaimer of not) then they have no justification to withhold such a payment to me regardless of wether I sign their form or not.

The only recourse I have would be to make a claim in the small claims county court but the council have threatened to ask for their costs to be awarded against me if I did this and lost the case.

Could you offer me advice as to the best course of action please
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

How much is owing please?

Customer:

its insignificant - only £75 but I am a committee member of the chalet owners tenants association and we are in serious dispute with the Council over a range of issues.

Customer:

DSorry - co0ntinued

Customer:

therefore I don't want to have to 'give in' too easily because they will then think that such may be the case over much more serious matters.

Customer:

Equally, I don't want to spend thousands of pounds either.

Customer:

I'm more interested in what is the legallity of their stance

Customer:

thankls

Customer:

john

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.


 


If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.


 


The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.


 


If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.


 


Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?


 

Customer:

do i have a good case?

Customer:

am i right that their actions are unlawful

Alex Watts :

Not necessarily unlawful no

Customer:

why - I thought that you cannot make a peofit from the sale of electrictty

Alex Watts :

Clearly energy companies can

Customer:

yes - but you cannot do so by 're-selling it'

Alex Watts :

But in any event you should take the steps I have outlined above.

Customer:

but why would I enter a case if the Councils actions are not unlawful

Customer:

could you tell me why they are NOT unlawful pklease

Alex Watts :

Because you would want back the excess charged.

Customer:

But if they do not in law have to refund that to me - then legally, I would not have a case?

Alex Watts :

They are permitted to charge:

Alex Watts :

Is the amount they have paid for it, plus VAT at the appropriate rate; this is termed the Maximum Resale Price or MRP.

Alex Watts :

They can not charge in excess from this.

Customer:

but they are in effect arguing that they will only refund money if I sign a disclaimer - surely this itself is illegal

Alex Watts :

No - its not illegal.

Alex Watts :

What they are saying is when you sign, you will take no further action

Alex Watts :

So you have 2 choices:

Alex Watts :

1) Sign and take no further action

Alex Watts :

2) Refuse to sign and take to Court

Customer:

nearly finished - so they can insist that unless i absolve them of all futrure responsibilty with regsards to the matter, they csan legally withold a refund?

Alex Watts :

Yes.

Customer:

that sounds to me like legalised blackmail

Alex Watts :

Its a decision that you make.

Alex Watts :

They are offering a settlement.

Alex Watts :

You either accept it or reject it

Customer:

okay - thanks for your advice

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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