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Please help, customer care appointment from hell tomorrow

(73 Posts)
wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:19:49

Have name changed again.

Recently posted on here about customer who cancelled my contract two weeks in to it because he wanted to get shut of the cleaner I had employed to clean his offices. However I explained the TUPE law which means her job goes to the incoming firm and he is not happy.

Friday was interesting, he emailed me to tell me he is suspending the contract on no pay until the end of the notice period (got 2 weeks left to run) unless I remove cleaner.

Have repeatedly asked what is the problem with the cleaning as when I audited the site last week I thought she was doing a brilliant job. Problem is the offices need 30 hours labour a week and he will only pay for 12. As of yet he is refusing to email me with the details of the defective cleaning which means I cannot correct them as I have no idea what they are.

Spent Friday on the phone to Peninsula Business Services (thank goodness I have these people to help me) and consulted with a civil litigator to find out whether suspension with no pay equates to unlawful termination of contract, which it does and I have a court claim. I had to pay to speak to the civil law advocate.

Drove 20 miles over to the site to get a text that he is now not suspending me (think this may have been down to the email the lawyer advised me to write) and instead I am being called in to a customer care appointment tomorrow.

At this meeting I will no doubt be pressurised into giving them a refund for no reason and sacking someone who I think is doing a good job.

Any advice? Posted here for traffic. Dreading tomorrow.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:23:25

I read your last thread and wouldn't be pressured if I were you, instead I'd ask for a list of concerns in writing

I'd also record the meeting. A good trick is to say as little as possible and let them talk - have stock phrases handy like 'tell me more about that/ what outcome are you expecting/ I will need to talk to my lawyer about that etc'

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:26:45

I have emailed and requested a list of concerns 3 times, to which the response is "there are too many to put on an email". I have said why don't you tell me the most important issues or even send a photo over, to which I am told "no, you will come to a meeting".

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:33:20

The lawyer I spoke to has said the likelihood is they have found someone cheaper so just want to get rid of me.
I will not be issuing refunds as when I add my legal bill onto this contract, and the 40 mile wild goose chase on Friday I am now trading at a loss and will probably go to small claims to try and recoup the legal bill.
I woke up this morning really frightened and panicked. This whole thing is having a detrimental effect on my mental health and I am sick of it.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:34:22

I'd definitely record it then plus write everything down and read it back to him

Try not to let him bully you, I'd just keep saying that you will run it past your solicitor if he demands money etc

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:35:57

Can you just not go and not give a refund knowing that if they try and sue you for it they won't win?

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:37:17

Thank you for so much for your help and good advice. I love running my business and it has helped rehabilitate me and gain confidence after a long spell in an intensive care unit. DH cannot work and I just want to earn a bit of cash to support my family. I am appalled at the way my lady and I have been treated.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:38:42

I'm hoping a solicitor/ HR expert comes on with some better advice actually smile because frankly you deserve it after all you've done for your worker

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:39:44

That is an idea. I went in and audited last week and found no problems. However the client is really angry that I did not speak to him when I visited site. I went to the door to his office 3 times and every time I did he was busy on the phone so I did not think he would appreciate being interrupted. Now I am in trouble for this too!

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:43:28

I wouldn't go without taking someone with me. Tell him that as he's unwilling to list his issues, you will attend but with your solicitor and you will be invoicing him the costs incurred in this.

He sounds very aggressive. The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them.

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:43:42

I have Peninsula Business Services on my side thankfully and they are brilliant. They say I can remove her at the clients request but where would that leave me? The other candidates who came to interview were nowhere near as good as her so they will only end up griping more.
Normally I would cover the site myself, but I do not feel comfortable going there. I did the site for the first 2 weeks as they wanted me to start with no notice (their last cleaner a cash in hand lady had apparently walked out). I did one hour's unpaid overtime every visit and rather than being polite he pulled me in and spoke to me like dirt over not doing a job that was not even on the specification.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:45:46

I think you doing the job has made this twat think he's allowed to be rude to you hmm

He sounds awful.

Bogeyface Sun 16-Nov-14 21:47:58

Dear Client

After further consideration I do not believe that this meeting will be in the best interest of myself or my employee. I will be happy to meet with you once I have received a list of your complaints against the cleaner so that I can conduct my own investigation.

If you refuse to co operate in this and insist on the cleaner being removed then I will consider you to be in breach of contract and will charge you accordingly for the notice period, legal costs incurred and any other out of pocket expenses. As you are aware, my employee will need to be kept on by any new company you employ under TUPE rules. ACAS have confirmed this and will assist my employee if this doesnt happen.

I look forward to receiving your email detailing the issues you have.


wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:48:35

I spoke to the civil advocate about taking DH with me and he advised against it as DH is hardly impartial being my relative.

Bogeyface Sun 16-Nov-14 21:48:41

Obviously ring ACAS first thing to get it registered, so if the cleaner doesnt get taken on then there is a record of it, they are shit hot about stuff like this.

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:51:50

Exactly Laurie. He saw me pushing a mop around and thinks that because I do not mind getting my hands dirty I am somehow beneath him.
This happens a lot in contract cleaning, there can be an element of snobbery towards cleaners.
I recently pulled a contract without notice as I sent a black stand in cleaner and the customer said "you better not send any more bloody n***s here".

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 21:53:27


wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 21:54:25

good letter bogeyface

I spoke to ACAS last week and Peninsula are a bit like ACAS but work for the employer to help the employer avoid ending up in a tribunal

Pumpkinnose Sun 16-Nov-14 22:09:42

Very difficuktto tell from the facts but are you absolutely positive TUPE applies? TUPE doesn't apply to contracts of short term duration - did you get advice on this part as well - are you absolutely sure of your position here if this is one of the key things you're arguing over. I'm absolutely not saying it doesn't apply but TUPE is complex so best to check your facts carefully.

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 22:15:08

No I am absolutely sure it applies.

Pumpkinnose Sun 16-Nov-14 22:17:32

Ok fine although you obviously want to avoid getting into a lengthy argument with him about it. Does your contract with him mention what happens on termination a show to deal with TUPE etc?

Pumpkinnose Sun 16-Nov-14 22:18:41

Sorry - lots of typos. Does the contract mention TUPE?

Bogeyface Sun 16-Nov-14 22:27:18

I recently pulled a contract without notice as I sent a black stand in cleaner and the customer said "you better not send any more bloody n***s here".

I think you can report them to the police for racial abuse. H's employers did when someone called him a black bastard at work, the bloke got taken to court and H was awarded £50 compensation. He didnt care about the compensation but about the fact that he wasnt going to accept being spoken about like that.

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 22:27:46

No contracts do not have to as TUPE applies to every contractor in the UK not just me, when I got contract drawn up lawyer said it did not need putting in.
Peninsula and ACAS said I can SOSR her (removal at client's request) but that will leave me in a pickle as I will either be putting someone worse than her into the position or worse still doing it myself. I love cleaning but I feel very uncomfortable going there. I think the only reason she has not quit is because her English is poor so she does not engage in conversation with them and has no idea how rude they are.

wwwwd Sun 16-Nov-14 22:29:34

With the n word comment it was done on the phone. I immediately hung up my mobile, drove over to the site (a very large bar in MCR), grabbed the hoover and mops and quit.
I would love to report it but doubt police would do anything as it is my word against his.

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