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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25426
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I contacted a shipper for a quote to ship my goods to Africa.

Customer Question

I contacted a shipper for a quote to ship my goods to Africa. He told me they charge £4 a kilo plus a handling charge of £30. However, he said I need to drop off the packages for measurements because at times airlines charge for freight by dimensions. I did so but I did not get a quote because it was late in the evening and the person responsible for shipping was not available. I got a hand written estimate of £380 from the agent in the office at the time. The following day I called in and was told the packages had to be taken to the head office in London for an accurate quote. By the time I was told this the goods were already in transit to London. The London office contacted me later in the day and confirmed the measurements but I asked for a quote or a final shipping cost. I was told to wait ans that they would get back to me. The next thing I got a text message saying I need to pay £1566 and the goods are on transit to the airport. I called to stop the shipping and requested for the packages back but I was told this is not possible since they have already been dispatched. I feel that I have been scammed because i never agreed for shipment to got ahead before I received the quote.

Please advise.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you still have the written estimate please? From what you say you have signed nothing in terms of them being shipped by the company - is that correct?

Customer:

Yes I still have the written quote, though its on a plain piece of paper.

Customer:

Please clarify on 'you have signed nothing in terms of them being shipped by the company'

Joshua :

thank you. Have you signed any form of contract or written agreement with the shipping company?

Customer:

No

Joshua :

thank you. Lastly, do you have either an email address or a postal address for the shipper in question? is the shipping company Ltd company or some other form of organisation?

Customer:

Yes I have the address details and email address.

Customer:

They are a Ltd company

Customer:

Ushindi Express Ltd

Customer: XXXXXbr/> Northampton
Northamptonshire
NN1 4AJ
Joshua :

many thanks. The position from what you say is that the company has little or no evidence that any form of contract or agreement has been formed as beyond the estimate that you received, no price has been agreed.

Joshua :

There are two elements to this - the practical location of your goods and your legal liability to pay them. Turning first to your goods themselves; if they are indeed in the process of being shipped to Africa, albeit without your consent, from a practical point of view, do I understand correctly that you do in deed want the goods to be shipped there still - albeit not at the price proposed?

Customer:

All I have is the final figure he sent via after apparently dispatching the packages

Customer:

I also have a couple of text messages with the total volume of the packages.

Customer:

Not at the price proposed

Customer:

I would like to stop the shipping if possible

Joshua :

thank you. In terms of the practicality of your goods, if they have indeed already been despatched for shipping and it is not possible for them to be retrieved at this point then there is a limited amount that can be done about this practically. This does not mean you do not have potentially considerable legal rights for redress from a financial point of view however. the first step I would suggest would be to ensure that something is put in writing to the company in view of the likely inevitable dispute that will arise in due course with regards XXXXX XXXXX companies charges

Customer:

Ok

Joshua :

initially, you may consider a written notice by email or by letter or fax setting out your concerns with regards XXXXX XXXXX conduct to date with a brief summary of events and in very clear terms state that you have not agreed for them to ship your goods or indeed any form of contract between you and the company and you require them to return your goods as a matter of urgency. you make consider going on to say that if returning the goods is indeed impossible as they claim, then you reserve your position entirely with regards XXXXX XXXXX costs or losses you may suffer as a consequence

Joshua :

how you proceed from there depends upon whether the goods are in fact returned to you whether they are shipped because it is as they say too late to return them.

Joshua :

If the goods are returned to you then providing you have not suffered any loss by virtue of their being retained by the company for a period of time, that may be an end to the matter. If the goods are shipped then you may wish to advise the company that the maximum you would be prepared to pay would be an amount you consider fair in line with their quoted charges.

Customer:

I have asked a couple of shippers what the procedure is and they all say the process might take several days before the goods are on the aircraft.

Customer:

This is because of screening at customs and furthermore, they have to go to a certain depot at the airport before they are release to customs.

Joshua :

the legal position with regards XXXXX XXXXX agreement between you and the company is governed by the supply of goods and services act which provides that unless a price for a particular service is agreed between the parties, the price payable for the service will be a reasonable fee in the circumstances - in other words, will be based upon either any fees outlined to you on which basis you proceeded or in default of which a fee which is average for the industry in question - this can usually be evidenced by collecting one or two other comparative quotes from other companies if necessary

Customer:

I called off the shipping long before they had arrived to the airport so it could have been easier for them to turn around the truck then. I feel that this company is running a scam to rip off people but I will take your advice to write to them.

Joshua :

your suspicions may be correct and they may be hoping that you will capitulate based on their telling you that the items are already entrance at in the hope that they can levy their considerably higher fee. Whether your suspicions are proved right or not, it is important that you consider putting something in writing to them so there is a record of your position as this will make any dispute resolution at a later date more the simpler

Joshua :

take had to keep a copy of any letter or email you send for this purpose

Joshua :

if you are not successful in retrieving your goods in the UK and they are indeed shipped then you could consider a claim against the company for the value of the goods if you did not in fact want them shipped, or alternatively the difference between what they wish to charge you and what is a reasonable price in the circumstances for the service. if necessary, such a claim can be pursued in the County court using the courts online issuing service www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

If I write to them and they fail to respond or they respond by going to court first, what should I do.

Joshua :

obviously how you proceed depends very much upon how matters progress. If they simply do not respond and your goods are not returned, and equally, they are not shipped, then you would need to consider writing to them again giving them seven days to return your goods failing which you would be forced to issue proceedings in the County court for the replacement cost of those goods in question

Joshua :

if the goods were shipped without your consent, on the basis you were ultimately content to have them shipped, albeit not at the price they wished to charge, you may need to consider either paying what they demand to release the goods at the other end with a view to reclaiming such monies from them or if you are in no rush for the goods to be released, applying to the County Court for an order that they release your goods subject to payment of a reasonable fee as determined by the court

Joshua :

it very much depends how matters play out. I would be very happy to assist further as the situation develops and please do not hesitate to revert to me in this respect.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

I forgot to mention that the incompetent agent I found at the local office here the first time sent me an invoice for £1594 via email but I queried that immediately and he said thats why the seat have to go to London

Customer:

Packages

Joshua :

Thanks. Did you query the invoice by email or phone?

Customer:

Does that count as evidence they invoiced me? Even though I queried it and never gave go ahead for shipping pending a revised quote from their head office.

Customer:

I queried the invoice by phone

Joshua :

Thank you. the invoice sent to you does not change any of the above however it makes it all the more important to ensure you put something in writing. If you fast forward to a potential dispute, if you have not put nothing in writing, it makes it all the easier for the company to paint a picture whereby the invoice to you and you ask them to ship the goods and now you're disputing their invoice - it does not matter that none of that might be true but from their perspective they have a written email with an invoice and you have no written evidence that you queried it as you say and so on. By contrast, if you put something in writing by email or otherwise it prevents them from painting the above picture because you do not have to convince a judge you are telling the truth; you have written evidence of what you say. The sooner you can put something in writing by email or otherwise, in the circumstances, including a brief summary of events to date in a similar way to that which you have posted here, the better in the event of any potential future dispute

Joshua :

is there anything else I can help you with?

Joshua :

Are you happy with the information I have provided to you above or is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

In the event of this dispute going to court, would you give assistance preparing the court documents and how much would it cost. Also, even though i will write to the company as you have advised, could this session be used in court to reinforce my case.

Joshua :

If the matter does proceed to court - though of course this is far from the certainty at this stage as you may well find that by putting something clearly in writing to them at this point may make them see sense rather than shipping items for which they are going to have no guarantee of the amount of payment - I'm very happy to assist you with the preparation of a claim. As to costs, it really depends on what you require help with. much of it you will be able to do yourself but for example if you want some assistance with regards XXXXX XXXXX a claim or preparing statements of claim, I would imagine this would likely take approximately half an hour +/- and would suggest £60-80 should cover this though as above, the Small Claims Court is designed to be relatively user-friendly and therefore you should be able to undertake much or indeed all of the work yourself without need of legal assistance.

Customer:

Ok, thank you very much. Incase I have further questions in relation to this dispute at a later date, do I have to pay again?

Joshua :

the pleasure. You're very welcome to return to this thread if you have any follow-up questions in respect of the above without further charge. If you would like assistance with substantive additional work such as for example assistance with any claim you are forced to pursue, this may be a separate the arrangements however as above, I'm very happy to assist with any follow-up questions you have without charge

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Joshua, with regards to the above matter, I have written to the shipper as advised and there has been no response from them. I has been seven days since I wrote to them.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. You may either consider writing to them again advsising that you proposeto issue proceedings against them without further reference to them within 5 working days if no response is received or if you have laready threatened proceedings you may consider proceeding to issue proceedings for the the rturn of your items or in the alternative the value thereof. The simplest way to do this is by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I will do so. Would I be at a disadvantage if they went to court before me to claim I pay the full amount of the shipping fee.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Not really. If there were to issue proceedings against you before you them, then you can enter a defence and a counter claim against them
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, many thanks.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
A pleasure
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The guy also sent me threatening and abusive text messages after he disconnected the phone call the last time I called him. Can I take any action against that?

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Abusive text messages may be contrary to the Protection Against Harassment Act. You can report the matteror raise the issue as part of any evidence you submit to the county court as part of your claim as evidence as to the character of the company you are dealing with.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Joshua,


 


The shipping agents have not responded to my letters till date. I am therefore left with no option other than initiate court proceedings in order to recover my goods. I intend to ask for payment of the value of the goods because I can no longer ship them or return them to the supplier. The question here is whether I could claim for interest over this amount.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
It seems to me that you havge a claim for the return of the goods or their replacement value. You would only have a claim over this amount if you could show financial loss has ben suffered as a result of the loss or inability to access the goods.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am claiming goods replacement value because the deadline for the return of the goods to my supplier has passed and I don't intend to ship the goods any more. Am I entitled to claim interest on the replacement value on my claim?


 

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
You would not be able to claim interest because it is not a money debt claim. You can however claim the actual present market replacement cost of the goods in the same condition as the goods the shipper holds.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
A pleasure
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Joshua,


 


I need some advise pertaining to the case above. The court entered a judgment against the defendant because they never responded to my claim. I also had a judgment entered against them on the 8th of May.


 


I called the Bailiffs today and they said they have made an attempt to collect the money owed but because the business trades as an internet cafe here in Northampton, they were not able to recover anything the first time. So they advised that they would try a second time. I asked why they could not levy the computers but they said that its because they have to allow them to download all of the data. They have another office in London (Main office) but the Bailiffs said they cannot go to London.


 


I went to the internet cafe and found they have fairly new computers with a possible market value of £200


 


Kindly advise what options I have.