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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46808
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My son is an alcoholic who was seeking help. He was advised

Customer Question

My son is an alcoholic who was seeking help. He was advised to attend an Addiction Detox & Rehab Clinic in Newmarket which is some distance from where we live. This was in part why this Clinic was suggested as he had attended a more local one but had walked out. (he had walked out due to his problem & had not managed to stay the course) The idea was that he wouldn't be able to leave so easily.
The Treatment contract says that it provides refunds by means of treatment credit should you self discharge from treatment prematurely. Should your treatment contract be terminated by the /clinic for breach of community guidelines you may not necessarily be permitted to access the service in future depending on the grounds of your discharge from the service.
However the clinic may consider re-admission after a period following further assessment, focus on motivation, commitment and willingness to address addiction and change behaviour, in such instances of re-admission a treatment contract will be issued specifying conditions of treatment.
My son paid £2,900 before he left home (all fees are payable in advance) for 7 days. He turned up with a friend signed the necessary paperwork and was there a matter of hours. He entered ok and was shown to his room. A doctor came to give him his medication which is normal. For some reason my son went into a melt down locking himself in his room and causing a disturbance.. The police were called and he was escorted from the building. He pleaded to be allowed to return but was denied, he had to get a taxi home costing £120.00. He telephoned the clinic several times over the next 2 days and was eventually told he would never be re-admitted and not to contact them again.
He has since been back to the local clinic and completed the course. He is now on the road to recovery.My thoughts are that £2,900 for a few hours is a great deal of money to lose. He was clearly drunk when he arrived at the clinic and his signature does not resemble anything though it was witnessed. His name is ***** ***** spelled..Is there any case for a refund?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Does the contract state that if he is discharged by the clinic prematurely there is no right to a refund?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only refund offered is that they may consider re-admission following a further assessment etc. in the future. He has been told however not to contact them again.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel this is about a vulnerable person being fleeced of £2900 when clearly incapable who is then made to leave the premises in a very unstable condition. I accept that no one person should be allowed to disrupt the comfort of others but to take that amount of money with no recourse available to him seems very wrong.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I agree that to keep the full amount may indeed be unfair, although it would depend on what losses they have suffered as a result. Whilst some minor disruption could be expected in rehab clinic, if someone becomes violent and the safety of others is jeopardised, subject to contractual terms dealing with this, they could be evicted and have their treatment terminated. This could make the service user in breach of contract and in these circumstances the clinic could hold them responsible for losses incurred as a result. The most obvious losses would be treatment costs which they would have lost out on due to the person leaving prematurely. However, the clinic would have a duty to try and minimise such losses by trying to replace the person with another service user. If they manage to do that then the losses would be reduced and the person should be refunded the remainder. If no replacement at short notice is possible the clinic could try and hold the person responsible for such losses. So it really depends on what costs the breach of contract has resulted in – if they try and keep money when their losses have been limited or reduced, that could amount to a penalty clause and be unenforceable. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can follow next to try and pursue this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46808
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As requested I have ticked the rating only so far.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks. Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have not entered into any correspondence as my whole concerns have been trying to get detox treatment for my son.
He was in an extremely bad way and this experience did not help. However, as I mentioned we have now achieved this aim.
The contract clearly states that the Refund Policy is by means of treatment credit and does say that in breach of community guidelines" you may not necessarily be permitted to access the service in the future depending on the grounds of your discharge from the service". This is where I am concerned that there is no recourse, though he was not capable of appreciating the contract he signed.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You could try and argue that he simply did not have capacity to sign the contract at the time and that he should have been accompanied or someone capable should have been asked to deal and sign it on his behalf, so if he did not have the required capacity it should make the contract invalid. However, only a curt can decide if he did have the required capacity or not at the time. In any event, following steps one by one may eventually prompt them to try and resolve this rather than deal with a claim
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I shall write requesting a refund, less reasonable expenses, on the grounds that he is denied treatment credit and was only at the clinic for a matter of a few hours. This feels morally wrong that such a large amount of money should be taken from someone with an "illness" or "disease" which are the definitions given to alcoholism, from a 'clinic' which is supposed to help.
I was hoping to learn that this type of contract has no legal binding.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I am afraid it is not the case that it is automatically not binding. As mentioned they can pursue direct losses as a result of his behaviour, whether intentional or not. The key is what these losses are and if they are reasonable
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I fear they will not even entertain detailing their losses and will only refer to the contract.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
They will be required to do so if the matter goes to court though

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