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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi, over a of 6 years we have suffered very bad discolouration

Resolved Question:

Hi, over a period of 6 years we have suffered very bad discolouration of water to our property, damage has been done and we have spend many hours fighting this. South East Water have at the end of last year taken ownership of this problem and are trying to sort the problem. They also last year paid us £10,500 compensation with no strings and we have have had people come and clean the damage done on grouting etc. However i feel that this isn't a fair compensation package for the length of time we endured this, time on correspondence and suffering very discoloured water. Can we claim anything else against them?
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 :

May I ask if you have made a complaint to the regulator previously or just to SE Water to date please?

Customer:

We have made complaints to the Ombudsmorn and CC Water who oversee SE Water complaints.

Joshua :

Thanks. Have they made a determination in terms of compensation?

Customer:

We just had to sign to say it was a goodwill gesture with no other terms attached to it.

Joshua :

Was the compensation given to you in "full and final settlement" as a gesture of good will or was no reference to full and final settlement made?

Customer:

there was no mention of full and final settlement

Joshua :

Thanks. Has the Ombudsman made a determination in terms of compensation to date or are they still investigating?


Customer:

they referred us back to SE Water, SE water determined the compensation of £10,500

Joshua :

Thanks. How long ago roughly was this cheque banked by you? Have you written to the SEW to advise that you do not accept the amount in full and final settlement and reserve your position in respect of potential further damages?

Customer:

The cheque was banked possibly Sept/Oct last year. We didn't do that...

Joshua :

Thank you. Finally is the Ombudsman holding the matter open pending your continued negotiations with SEW or did they refuse to deal with the matter pending your attempting continued resolution with SEW?

Customer:

CC Water kept referring us back to SE Water, there is no open case

Customer:

we signed a form of discharge letter which does state its an ex gracia payment without prejudice payment in full and final settlement

Customer:

the form says we agree to accept the sum of £10,500 in full and final settlement and discharge of our claim against SE Water in respect of the above ex gracia payment

Joshua :

Thanks. Sorry for the short delay. A client has just unexpectedly called in. I will be with you in just a couple of minutes if thats alright...

Joshua :

I'm very sorry for the interruption. May I continue?

Customer:

please do

Joshua :

Thanks. based upon what you have said, if you wish to claim further compensation from the utility company, one of the most important things to do as soon as possible is to contact them to make this clear in particular, making it clear that the previous cheque was not as they are aware, accepted in any form of full and final settlement that was accepted as payment towards the total amount of compensation you consider due to you. If you have a figure in mind as to what the amount of compensation you consider it appropriate should be, you may wish to put this figure to them and ask that they forward you a cheque within say 14 days of the date of your letter for the balance of compensation you consider payable, failing which ask them to consider your letter as a formal complaint

Joshua :

the utility company must then deal with your letter as a formal complaint in accordance with the complaints process if they are unwilling to settle at the figure you propose. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can then consider referring the matter on to the ombudsman for a determination on the basis that you have been unable to resolve matters between you and the utility company directly

Customer:

then how do i proceed if they ignore as before they just said that we would have to be assessed through loss adjustor which we have been through before and SE Water themselves said it wasn't the right road and really isn't relevant as its time and effort etc now

Joshua :

initially, this would be the consumer Council for water and if they are unable to assist you, you may consider referring the matter onto the Parliamentary and Health ombudsman

Joshua :

http://www.ccwater.org.uk/ and http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/home

Customer:

Ok we have been down the CC Water route and they refer us back to SE Water, i will defiantly consider Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman seeing as our MP has been involved.

Joshua :

The CC Water body does have mixed reviews and there have been calls to strengthen its powers have so far this has not occurred. The Parliamentary and health ombudsman can look at complaints with regards to water companies where CCWater has failed to or been unable to assist though not before

Joshua :

there is no need to have involved a member of parliament in order to refer complaint to the Parliamentary and health ombudsman. The must and deals with a very wide range of complaints and its name should not mislead you as to its role

Customer:

brilliant we will go from here. Thanks for your help

Joshua :

a pleasure. If I can assist any further as the matter develops, please do not hesitate to contact me

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 though please reply back to me though.

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