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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45306
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I used a storage firm when my husband developed dementia &

Customer Question

I used a storage firm when my husband developed dementia & I needed to clear his 30 year old business quickly. The storage firm did the job well with phoned info.No paperwork was sent & no details explained.Several phone calls requested clarification of invoices.At the same time my husband had a hip operation so I took my eye off the ball.
Then bills were missed but there were several e.mail contacts by me asking for patience & explaining difficulties.I have dates relating to this. When I got in touch to finally sort things I wold goods had been sold.There had been warnings but I believed I was sorting things ( bearing in mind my situation) However I asked for details of pod contents & what they had been sold for.There were many expensive business books. I was refused any info.
I now understand that any excess money should come to us but have no idea of details of sale & a refusal to give that. The contents are complicated by a pod full of expensive competitive dance costumes which we also stored. The total value far exceeds storage costs.
Of course the stress this has added to our lives is obvious plus incredible difficulty now to replace those costumes.
We are in our mid seventies & I really need some help please
AngelaLeek
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Hello do you actually have any idea of what the value of the sold items was at the time of sale? Please note I am in court today so may not be able to reply fully until later today thanks
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Rather stupidly we did not make an inventory because of time pressures etc.one pod held management books in excellent condition which we intended to sellThe other had costumes& other theatre paraphernaliaThere would be a minimum of 10 sets of costumes plus very large pieces of material which were used for stage sets - very costly to replace.The company wouldn't even tell me who they sold to so I couldn't try to retrieve.The outstanding bill would only have been hundreds of pounds.& the costumes alone would be over a thousand pounds per set. My home phone number is ***** if it's easier to talk.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Thanks for your patience. Whilst the storage company would have been legally entitled to dispose of the property if it was left for longer than arranged or if the storage was not paid for, this should have only happened after formal notification of their intentions. This may have happened, although I understand it was at a difficult time for you, but nevertheless if they can show that they did that then they can justify the disposal. The issue then is what happened to the proceeds of the sales and how much did they sell for. You need to consider the actual value of the items at the time of sale, not what they were initially worth. Therefore, there would inevitably be some depreciation in value, based on age and condition. Nevertheless, the amount which they sold the items for should not be used by them to make a profit, it should cover any costs they have incurred in the process but the remainder should be returned to you. At this stage they have failed to notify you what the amount they sold for is or who they were sold for. You cannot force them to reveal such information at this stage. If you were to make a formal claim against them then as part of the disclosure process they will need to disclose these details and any evidence, such as sale receipts or other documents associated with the sale. So you could start threatening them with legal action but if it comes to it then you may have to actually initiate legal proceedings for the value of the items and then expect them to disclose the relevant information as part of the process. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to take the matter 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, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45306
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. 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 8 months ago.
Do the e.mails re outstanding invoices & possible sale count as official documents. The fact that I responded & asked for their patience should have made my intentions clear. .But In effect I accepted the inevitable but asked where the goods had gone as there was only a short time & they refused. In their terms & conditions they state that excess cash would be returned.How can this be calculated without figures?
Is there a professional body which covers this? Or do we contact an ombudsman ? Or pursue it legally?
Thankyou
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
yes they can certainly amount to official documents, after all it was all part of the dealings between the two parties. You need to check whether they are part of a professional body, such as the National Guild of Removers & Storers. You can also try the Removals Ombudsman, apart from these it is court as mentioned earlier

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