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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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A company from whom I hired a removal van has recharged me

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A company from whom I hired a removal van has recharged me for damage for which I was not responsible as it occurred after the van was driven away from my property. They deducted the funds from my credit card account before notifying me. Included in their charge was a VAT element added to the cost of the repair charged to them although they had not added any value to the transaction themselves, and they then sent me a simple receipt rather than a numbered VAT invoice. To whom might I have recourse please?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How much have they deducted?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Ben, they have deducted £261.19, broken down as follows:-
Cost of repair to them with VAT of £7.00 included - 217.66
VAT added by them but with no value added - 43.53
TOTAL £261.19
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Couod I please check if the company had the right to make deductions from your card in the event of damage? Was this something included in the contract you had with them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They had the right to make deduction for damage, but the driver who collected the van made a full inspection and found only a small scratch on the passenger side mirror casing, and recorded this, with both his signature and mine, before he left with the van at 10.15am. They have not charged me for that, the damage for which they have charged me is to the rear indicator which was smashed and which was noted by the supplying company at 14.09pm on the same day. I have copies of documentation for all of this.
Thank you. Whilst they had authorisation to make deductions for damage which was genuinely incurred whilst you were in possession of the car, they have used such authorisation incorrectly in the circumstances and charged you for damage incurred after you handed the car back.
If they inspected the car and confirmed what the existing damage was, then that would generally be formal confirmation that you are only responsible for that damage.
As they have now taken the money and it is in their possession you only have a couple of options. The first you have already pursued and that is to raise a claim with the card provider under a Section 75 or a chargeback claim. They are dealing with this matter so they should keep you updated but as mentioned the payment could be reversed back to the company.
If that was to happen then your only option is to consider pursuing them for the amount via the small claims court. This is a relatively risk free option as whilst you would have to pay some court fees, they will not be too much and even if you lose you would not be responsible for the other party’s legal costs. You have 6 years within which t make the claim so there is plenty of time to allow the credit card company to try and resolve this first.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the specific steps you need to follow to take the matter further to court, 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
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your help so far Ben. I believe you had some more detailed instructions for me about the Small Claims Court? Also, is there no comeback for me on the question of them charging VAT when they didn't bring anything new to the transactions and only provided an e-mail receipt for the funds? It seems like fraud to me.
Thank you. I would not go as far as saying this is fraud but you can pursue the full amount back, including any VAT element. As far as the procedure is concerned, 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 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 2 years ago.
Thanks, I'll keep note of your advice. I don't mean to bang on about it, but as an accountant my understanding is that as an e-mail receipt doesn't need to be recorded in the books of the company, and as a numbered invoice could be raised by the company for the net amount of £217.66 only for their records, the extra £43.53 "VAT" could go into someone's pocket as an overpayment which was neglected to be returned. I know it's only a small amount but the principle is retained surely?
Yes of course, although I cannot comment on the possibility of that happening as it is more of a tax/accounting issue so you will probably know more than me on the subject