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Hello thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I can assist with this.
As you rightly say, the key to this will be in the terms and conditions that have been agreed to. If you have been through them, and can see no reference to the additional charges being levied upon a breach of the agreement (which appears to be the basis the levying them) then they cannot be lawfully charged to you (whether by retention or otherwise).
In such a case, it can be worth pursuing the outstanding amount by way of court proceedings, but even that will not necessarily provide a quick resolution.
It could take three months or so before you get a final decision by the court, and that assumes that it is dealt with by way of a summary procedure.
I have, of course, assumed that the finance company would defend the claim. There is a possibility it may not, and that it will simply reach an agreement with you to move forward.
Hi Tony. Thanks for the reply. Our agreement with the company has come to an end now, so I suppose the only way to move forward is for them to repay these amounts. Funnily enough, they have come up with all these new charges right as the agreement was ending, which they ended without our agreement.
Yes, although you may think you're being cynical, I suspect it is probably more realistic than anything. They do a habit of finding such things at the end of an agreement, but finance companies are in no unique category of their own in that respect!
I was worried that (if they try to defend themselves) I would be seen as unreasonable in not going through the complaints procedure the company provides. Do you think I need worry about this?
The court does have to consider the reasonableness of the parties when working out who pays costs. That really is only a consideration once the matter reaches trial, and very few really do. That said, if you can (from a timing perspective) go through the complaints process, then you should do so. It would then open up the possibility of referring the matter to the financial ombudsman service also.
The ombudsman is a good route to go down, if available to you, which it should be if you are a small business. The only problem with the ombudsman is that it can take time.
Once you issue court proceedings, the ombudsman will not consider any complaint.
Thanks again. I think I'll look at putting it into court, hopefully it will scare them into being a bit more reasonable!
It's not just the scary part, they have to consider it commercially, as the costs potentially could escalate significantly, and most finance companies aredriven by commercials.
Is there any part of this you would like me to focus on more specifically to help you out?
I think that all sounds fine, really, thanks. I'll get things rolling tomorrow! Bye.