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this seems to be a scam but is it illegal and can we do anything about it?

(5 Posts)
MrsWobble3 Tue 23-Dec-14 09:39:40

About two weeks ago my mil had a telephone call from DC Servicing Sussex telling her that her vacuum cleaner service was due and could they make an appointment. They came the next day, serviced the hoover and charged her £15 for the service plus £149.99 for a new motor because the old one was apparently burnt out.

My dh found out yesterday and called them up to check as the hoover hasn't been used since they last serviced it (at a cost of £15 plus £49.99 for parts). He asked to see the old motor but they can't find it as they have so many. We've checked the prices for these motors and even if it had needed replacing it could have been acquired for a fraction of the price charged.

Given that my mil signed the forms I suspect there is nothing we can do - when dh complained they offered to refund the service charge and a further 20% of the parts cost - and are apparently sending mil a cheque. We are not convinced this will arrive but even if it does she has still been cheated out of more than £100.

But is there anything we can do to stop them calling her again next year to remind her that her annual service is due? She is a confused 80 year old and faced with this sort of call will book the appointment at which no doubt another expensive part will need replacing.

Having googled it seems clear that this is not an isolated case of a misunderstanding but appears to be the company's standard business tactic. Is there any way it can be stopped?

I'm going out shortly so won't be able to respond to replies immediately but will check back this evening - any help or suggestions will be very much appreciated - it shouldn't be possible to prey on vulnerable old people in this way.

Thank you

specialsubject Tue 23-Dec-14 11:09:23

unfortunately there is no law against selling useless items, or selling items at a vast overcharge, and unless your mother-in-law is not mentally competent there is no defence. I agree it is despicable.

you could try trading standards, and you should certainly write a firm letter to the company saying that they are NOT to contact your mother-in-law again.

what you could also do is take the hoover away, that way they can't 'service' it.

TracyBarlow Tue 23-Dec-14 18:22:31

Trading standards, and always worth dropping an email to Watchdog in case they've encountered similar. Bunch of bloody con artists. Can't find the motor my arse. as if they that many motor replacements in two weeks. She could have had a new hoover for that.

Deeray Tue 23-Dec-14 18:23:18

Write to your local trading standards team at the council.

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 23-Dec-14 21:00:29

If they say it needs a new motor and it doesn't that is illegal. She should contact trading standards and you could try writing to the company once you have their cheque requiring the balance and say otherwise you will bring a small claim (I am presuming here it did not need a new motor).

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