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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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In August...

Customer Question

In August 2014 I purchased a five year contract for a monitored Security Alarm system, including an extra amount for an URN number with the Somerset & Avon Police department. I have now been advised by the Police that the company supplying this service is no longer recognised by the Security Systems & Alarms Inspectorate Board and as such the Police will withdraw its response to this company's system within the next three months.
The system was properly installed and, as far as I can tell, it is working properly as designed. However the police response to an alarm from this system was very much a integral part of the system which I purchased. All communications to the company are now being ignored so I suspect the company is no longer in business.
The five year contract cost me some £3,500 - what should my next course of action be ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 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 :

From what you say am I correct to understand that you can point to either a) a term in the contract that places an obligation on the company to provide police response or b) that this was promoted in the advertising material for the contract please?

Joshua :

How did you pay the fee? Was any part paid by credit card - either a deposit or the full amount or did you pay using another method?

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

The contract states that the company will sell the security system specified in this agreement and provide monitoring and maintenance services for the system. The total cost includes the cost of an URN number (£104.36) payable to the Police for their response services as required, and this was paid by me in full by cheque No 001134 dated 15th August 2014.

Joshua :

Thank you. And for the avoidance of doubt monitoring and maintenance services specifically includes police response as part of the service - I appreciate the obvious implication by payment reference to the police but from what you say do I understand that this is specifically mentioned either in the contract or advertising material or both as being part of the service provided?

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

The advertising material is substantial and I would have to read it all very carefully to be able to answer your question precisely. However considerable emphasis was placed on the Police response, and other responses such as fire brigade and ambulance services as appropriate, during the initial, and follow up sales meetings (and installation procedures) AND it is certainly covered in the notice giving me my URN number from the Avon & Somerset Police dated 8th September 2014.

Joshua :

Thats fine. Thank you. I have been doing a little research on the company in question. It appears to have recently changed its name to STORM SECURITY SYSTEMS LIMITED

Joshua :

It is still active and this could be the innocent explanation for no longer being recognised by the police because they would likely have to reregister with their new name. Notwithstanding the company appears to still be active and does not appear to be insolvent based on the most current free information available.

Joshua :

Accordingly I would hope that it is a question of obtaining clarification of the position from the company with regard to its new registration under its new name in order that it can continue to provide service and possible discussion of a refund or extension to your contact to take account of non service for the relevant period in question.

Joshua :

If the problem is more significant however and the company is insolvent (though the name change has only just happened and it would be unusual for director to bother changing the name of a company that is insolvent) then the position is more difficult. You would appear to have the basis of a claim for breach of contract against the company for the recovery of the balance of monies owed for the non period of service but if they are insolvent you may be limited in what you can recover.

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

I have certainly not been informed of a change of company name. Also I now see from the back of the agreement that my system is (or should be?) connected 24 hours a day to Advantage Monitoring Receiving Centre which means that if the alarm is triggered the system sends a signal o the Alms monitoring centre who will call the relevant emergency service informing them that the alarm has been triggered.

Joshua :

It is always a good idea which paying up front for service or goods to pay in full or at least in part by credit card as this can allow you to hold the credit card provider jointly liable for the whole amount paid under the Consumer Credit Act s69 even if you just paid a small deposit they are liable jointly for the whole value of the contract. However that does not assist here.

Joshua :

If you find that there are more sinister financial problems, you can consider making a claim for a refund of the balance owed, using the county court but you will need to be mindful of possible limitations on what you can recover as you will pooled with any other creditors if they are insolvent and can only recover from the pool of money left following insolvency proceedings.

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

I remember at the time that the company representative said he was only able to accept payment by cheque - as he did not have the means to accept credit card payments ?????

Joshua :

For now though the company seem to still be operating and as above has just changed its name so hopefully you will be able to seek some further information and the matter will resolve itself swiftly or you can seek your money back from the operating company if they do not propose to continue offering the service you paid for.

Joshua :

You can see information about the company here:
http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk//wcframe?name=accessCompanyInfo

Joshua :

The company no. is 07770209 - assuming I have found the right one - you will see the name change listed in the particulars down the page.

Joshua :

You can find reasonably up to date financials on the company here:
https://www.duedil.com/company/07770209/ssh-fire-and-security-ltd
You will note this still shows the old name as it has only just happened and the information has not been updated yet.

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

In these circumstances would you suggest that my next course of action should be a (registered) letter to the company seeking more information and see where that gets me ?

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

Assuming your advice to my last question is 'yes' thank you for your help and will I get a printable copy of this live chat for my records?

Joshua :

That is one course of action, but letters are easy to ignore. If you have contact details for individuals at the company you may initially be better served by making a nuisance of yourself and seeking further information. You could probe what the position is and ask them if they are making any changes at the company that you need to know about to see what they say. One would imagine they would volunteer the name change and any other changes that are ongoing if all is ok and they should be able to explain what the position is with the police response. You could also contact the inspectorate board you mention to see if they have information. If you are not satisfied you could consider a notice by email or post that you consider them in breach of contract as you suggest and advise that you require a substantive response to your queries failing which you will have to consider a claim for brach of contract.

Joshua :

I can ask customer services to email you a copy of the above if that would be helpful?

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

Thanks very much a copy would be most helpful.

Joshua :

Certainly. 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. I will ask customer services to email you as above

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

Finally, I did ring the Inspectorate Board seeking their views and did ask whether it was likely that the company would seek to obtain recognition again? They said that this was most unlikely because (a) recognition is not withdrawn lightly and (b) it is a timely process to get official recognition in the first place and even more so once withdrawn.

Joshua :

That does not sound positive. I don't suppose they were willing to volunteer the reason recognition had been withdrawn. It would be useful to know the reasons if they can disclose them. It may be that the company name change is part of another set of issues the company is suffering with as there would based on the above appear to be something more substantive at issue and a company name change may be an attempt by the company to rebrand itself but this is conjecture.

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

No, they would not reveal reasons for the withdrawal of recognition but they did point me in the right direction to seek another company who might be willing to take over the maintenance and monitoring of the system.

Joshua :

However the good news is that the company does appear for the moment at least to still be trading and as long as it does you have the basis for a claim for breach of contract and a refund of monies owed. If you decide to issue proceedings the simplest way to do so is by using the counrts online issueing service:

Joshua :

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

JACUSTOMER-vi6fb2ge- :

Thanks again. Goodbye for now and I'll contact you again if I think you can be of any further help.

Joshua :

As above though it does not help here, if paying out in advance to a person or company do consider paying at least a small part of any contract on credit card. This gives you protection in the event of insolvency for the whole contract value even if you only pay a pound on card.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have been trying to phone the company (SSH), as you suggested, over the past several days but each time all I get is a recorded message saying "there is no-one available to take your call at present"

It would seem that the company are not going to respond so what do you suggest my next course of action should be?

Also you said that the company had/were changing names to Storm Security Services Ltd but I couldn't find anything about this. However, can't this company be stopped from trading in another name since they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations in the name of their previous company?

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello
Sorry I posted a response in the other thread you opened. This appears to have been closed by customer services - perhaps at your request.

I will ask customer services to send you a copy of my response to avoid typing it out again as I posted detailed links to information which will take some time to find again.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks I will await the copy that you have requested Customer Services to send to me.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I have just asked for this to be sent over to you. They normally respond within 24 hours or so. Sorry for any inconvenience you have experienced.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Below text is my post just received.

Joshua : I am very sorry if my earlier response did not come through straight away.
Joshua : Reference the company name change. If you go to Companies House using the below link and type in company number 07770209 you will see the name change listed about 2/3s down the page:

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk//wcframe?name=accessCompanyInfo

Joshua : On the plus side they do appear to have just filed accounts and appear to still
be trading which are good signs.
https://www.duedil.com/company/07770209/ssh-fire-and-security-ltd
Joshua : In terms of how to proceed, you may need to consider issuing a claim agaisnt the company for breach of contract. You will need to first write to them by email or post
advising they have 7 days to respond to your claim against them failing which you will
have to consider a claim in the county court.
Joshua : If you are forced to issue a claim te simplest way to do so is by using the
courts online issuing service:
https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome
Joshua : You will need to bear in mind that if the company does become insolvent you may not receover all your money even if successful in court and that you have to pay court fees in order to issue the claim. You can find the court fee applicable here (page 3):
hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex050-eng.pdf

Joshua : If the matter proceeds to a hearing, there will also be a hearing fee payable
which is based on the value of your claim and the applicable fee is shown on page 5
Joshua : all such fees can be claimed from the company if you are successful very in mind the above caveat if the company is insolvent

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