Doreen’s expensive chair proved too difficult to use- STOCK PHOTO
Convinced that the chair was bigger than the one she had tried when a salesman visited her home in Bristol last June, Doreen wanted to return the chair and claim a refund.
But communications over her complaint with retailer The Mobility Furniture Company broke down, before more problems came to light when Doreen asked Crusader to fight her corner.
Her case was made even more complicated because as well as being in a lot of physical discomfort she was often very anxious and had severe hearing problems.
Like many other people in similar circumstances, she found it easier to sleep in a chair than any bed. Her previous one, although comfortable, had just become too old.
In the course of looking for a new one she asked Mobility Furniture to send a salesman round.
Doreen was convinced the chair she used was bigger than the one she had first tested- STOCK PHOTO
When I complained and asked for that back, I was told they couldn’t understand me and could not find it
However in her cluttered room, she admitted, it was difficult to try out the new chair.
“I could see the one the sales rep brought could be raised, however it was not obvious to me that the back stayed more upright,” she said.
“I only became aware of that after the chair I bought was delivered. It was also bigger than my old one.”
Doreen said the deal she had agreed to involved her handing over £1,000 immediately, followed by a credit agreement with Ikano Bank to repay the remainder at £60 a month.
Her old chair was removed at the same time in an agreed £300 partexchange deal.
Doreen found that the company was stalling in their communication
“When I complained and asked for that back, I was told they couldn’t understand me and could not find it.
They kept stalling,” she said. With few immediate options open to her, Doreen felt she had no other choice but to buy another chair from Sutton Stairlifts and cancelled her hire purchase agreement before any repayments were made.
That triggered calls from the bank.
As she became increasingly stressed Crusader asked Mobility Furniture for a review of what had become a very difficult matter.
Customer service manager Adam Wring insisted the company had tried to help but that Doreen had then refused to speak to them.
The company allegedly offered to send technicians – STOCK PHOTO
“I offered to send technicians out free of charge to try to figure out what the issue was and resolve this with as little inconvenience to her as possible,” he said.
The company is now a member of the Furniture Ombudsman scheme which operates a disputes resolution service for consumers.
While this was rumbling on Doreen was admitted to hospital and unable to pursue her claim.
She forwarded to us a letter from the firm saying that, as it hadn’t heard from her, it was closing the case until it heard otherwise and referring her to the ombudsman about the contract.
It looked highly unlikely she would be able to do that alone, so we were ready to carry on helping in a bid to get a resolution. But sadly, not long afterwards Doreen passed away.
Disputes: remember the ombudsman
Executors responsible for sorting out debt
THE chair and the contract are now matters for Doreen’s executors to sort out, explains solicitor Joanne Lezemore of consumer affairs advice site consumer-genie.co.uk.
“When someone dies, no one becomes responsible for individual debts but debts remain recoverable from the estate, which cannot be divided between beneficiaries until all of the debts are settled,” she says.
“The executors need to see if the finance agreement in this particular case extinguishes on death and to find out if Doreen had any payment protection insurance with the agreement.
“Likewise, any claim against a company can still be pursued by executors.”