Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • family4tunes
    • By family4tunes 27th Mar 18, 4:11 PM
    • 21Posts
    • 6Thanks
    family4tunes
    Cancelling a service contract
    • #1
    • 27th Mar 18, 4:11 PM
    Cancelling a service contract 27th Mar 18 at 4:11 PM
    Hi,

    My father has just passed away recently and I have noticed that his stair-lift service annual contract has been re-newed just over a month ago (40 days) at a cost of £325 which was payment in advance.

    I rang the company to cancel the service contract in the hope to save some money for my mother as she does not require the stair-lift or need its use, so a contract to service it was not needed.

    The company replied saying that they are not an insurance policy or company and the contract stands. There will be no refund even though its only a month old and they have not even serviced it or visited to inspect its usability.

    My question is can they refuse to refund like this even on a pro-rota basis, without ever doing any work and the contract only just over a month old? They didn't have a payment plan other than full payment in advance. If it had been monthly this might not now have been so upsetting.

    I would appreciate any help or guidance please
Page 2
    • family4tunes
    • By family4tunes 29th Mar 18, 3:42 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    family4tunes
    OP, I wonder whether your grief is clouding your judgement on this? You've asked about your consumer rights in this situation and, legally, you have none.

    Goodwill is a totally different matter, no company is obliged to give this. Shaming a company, as you appear to be attempting, will only increase prices for everybody else as the company will have to adjust prices to allow for refunds for customers who die during their contract.
    Originally posted by pmduk
    My fatherís renewal documents show no declaimer of theirs stating a no refund policy of any service agreement if later cancelled. Only details of an urgency to renew and a telephone payment service he can use to expedite payment.

    His renewal prompt did not contain any user agreement for him to sign and return which they now insist would be their practice to supply. They wonít provide a copy of this document which they said he would have signed and returned to confirm his acknowledgement. This no refund policy only became apparent when informing them of my fatherís death during a telephone call, which ended with a thank you and goodbye from a very uninterested telephonist.

    The receipt for my fatherís payment has no reference to their no refund cancellation policy, nor can you find anything on their web-site whereby you can see these policy details. They donít have a specialised complaints department or any contact via their web-site for this purpose, only an email address of a multi-purposed sales assistant.

    They have been contacted using several different medias including Facebook and I have no response to any of the emails or messages left. I even wrote direct to the owners who at present have not replied.

    I do not need to shame this company, they do this for themselves.
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 29th Mar 18, 3:54 PM
    • 10,288 Posts
    • 11,563 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    My fatherís renewal documents show no declaimer of theirs stating a no refund policy of any service agreement if later cancelled. Only details of an urgency to renew and a telephone payment service he can use to expedite payment.

    His renewal prompt did not contain any user agreement for him to sign and return which they now insist would be their practice to supply. They wonít provide a copy of this document which they said he would have signed and returned to confirm his acknowledgement.
    Originally posted by family4tunes
    As it was a renewal of an existing contract that was already in place, there is no legal right to a cancellation period.
    As this is the default position, there is no need for this lack of cancellation period to be stated on the documents.
    It's a bit like when you buy goods in a store.
    The default position in law is that you have no right to a change of mind return so there is no need for this to be stated in store or on the receipt.

    Even though your father may not have signed and returned the renewal form, the act of paying for the service to continue will be enough to show proof that he accepted the renewal.
    When you have a rolling contract in place, you don't have to sign to accept it each year. (think of house or motor insurance when the renewal documents are sent out and simply by paying you are accepting the renewal.

    Whilst what they are doing may appear to be poor customer service, it is within what the law entitles them to do.
    • George Michael
    • By George Michael 29th Mar 18, 5:13 PM
    • 3,163 Posts
    • 4,244 Thanks
    George Michael
    As you are considering selling the stairlift, have you asked the company if the service contract can be transferred to the new owner?
    • discat11
    • By discat11 30th Mar 18, 8:02 AM
    • 375 Posts
    • 493 Thanks
    discat11
    To claim any company's business model is skewed to disadvantage a demographic that has a higher percentage risk of passing away during a contract/service is outrageous frankly.
    The reverse argument of this would be a myriad of companies (including care homes) refusing to do work for anyone elderly or infirm as they might not get full value for money from any up front payment, and you then have accusations and smears like this.
    I rather suspect had the stairlift company insisted on intrusive medical questions every year you'd have been (quite rightly IMHO) annoyed at this also.

    You've done all you can to persuade the company to make a goodwill refund (and believe it or not, everyone on this thread sympathises with your situation), however you asked for consumer advice and have received it.

    What you have done since asking is to box yourself into a corner, where any company even considering a goodwill payment would now change their mind since goodwill works both ways, i.e. if you've already burnt your bridges you can hardly blame someone else for then refusing to meet you half way.

    No smaller company would have a dedicated customer complaints department -and if they do you need to worry since clearly they have enough complaints for a person to be employed at a profit!

    My father died recently, we have similar policies we are having to contact to cancel these-we won't be asking for refunds since we know few if any would allow for any.

    I think GMs suggestion is the best one -sell the stairlift and see if the company allows the transfer of the policy.
    • family4tunes
    • By family4tunes 17th Apr 18, 9:46 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    family4tunes
    As it was a renewal of an existing contract that was already in place, there is no legal right to a cancellation period.
    As this is the default position, there is no need for this lack of cancellation period to be stated on the documents.
    It's a bit like when you buy goods in a store.
    The default position in law is that you have no right to a change of mind return so there is no need for this to be stated in store or on the receipt.

    Even though your father may not have signed and returned the renewal form, the act of paying for the service to continue will be enough to show proof that he accepted the renewal.
    When you have a rolling contract in place, you don't have to sign to accept it each year. (think of house or motor insurance when the renewal documents are sent out and simply by paying you are accepting the renewal.

    Whilst what they are doing may appear to be poor customer service, it is within what the law entitles them to do.
    Originally posted by shaun from Africa
    Thanks for your response.

    I believe that the initial warranty expired. This was included within the purchase when the stair lift was first installed and valid for the first 5 years of use, it was not a roll-over policy but the ending of a warranty. It was suggested by the said company that my father then take up a new yearly service contract to cover call-outs and servicing.

    After ringing the company he chose to take out a 12 month service agreement and was asked to pay the full 1 year premium amount over the phone. Apart from explaining his cover and taking his payment there was no mention of the actual service agreements terms & conditions. He received an acknowledgement of payment through the post which included a remark about the agreements T&Cís being enclosed separately and needing a signature and sending back.

    There was no agreement enclosed with the payment receipt to view or sign, and my mother is absolute that an agreement declaration was not present and nor did she complete this on his behalf or post back. (my father was disabled and housebound and could not have done this himself).
    Iím sure that there should be some legal obligation that a person should be made aware of a service agreement terms before it can become validated between two parties. This was a new policy and not an extension of warranty or continuance.

    Although the stair-lift is only just over 5 years old and 100% operational and cosmetically very good because of limited use. (my father resided downstairs 24/7) the company has only offered to remove it free of charge but say it has no market or retail value anymore, so will not offer to buy-it-back.

    Some members have stated the dilemma is similar to car insurance and any service agreement cannot be refunded. In the past I have either cancelled car insurance because of selling a car, it not passing an MOT or because I have purchased a new car with free insurance. In these cases I have had to pay for the cover used up to the end of that calendar month, and an administration fee for cancelling. The remainder of the funds have then been returned.

    In hindsight, if polices was paid monthly whether as remarked it is for home care, car insurance or service agreements etc, then it would not only prevent situations arising but allow easy administration and cancellations and reduce losses of people in unfortunate circumstances.

    Overall, Iím not sure the agreement was actually binding and may have a claim against the company if pursued, but in honesty I would rather just received some return inclusive of any administration fees payable for the service which so obviously will never be called upon or cost anyone other than my mother any financial discomfort.
    • family4tunes
    • By family4tunes 17th Apr 18, 10:23 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    family4tunes
    To claim any company's business model is skewed to disadvantage a demographic that has a higher percentage risk of passing away during a contract/service is outrageous frankly.
    The reverse argument of this would be a myriad of companies (including care homes) refusing to do work for anyone elderly or infirm as they might not get full value for money from any up front payment, and you then have accusations and smears like this.
    I rather suspect had the stairlift company insisted on intrusive medical questions every year you'd have been (quite rightly IMHO) annoyed at this also.

    You've done all you can to persuade the company to make a goodwill refund (and believe it or not, everyone on this thread sympathises with your situation), however you asked for consumer advice and have received it.

    What you have done since asking is to box yourself into a corner, where any company even considering a goodwill payment would now change their mind since goodwill works both ways, i.e. if you've already burnt your bridges you can hardly blame someone else for then refusing to meet you half way.

    No smaller company would have a dedicated customer complaints department -and if they do you need to worry since clearly they have enough complaints for a person to be employed at a profit!

    My father died recently, we have similar policies we are having to contact to cancel these-we won't be asking for refunds since we know few if any would allow for any.

    I think GMs suggestion is the best one -sell the stairlift and see if the company allows the transfer of the policy.
    Originally posted by discat11
    I tried contacting the company by phone, email and Facebook PM and was ignored. Eventually after making more contacts using their web-site and Facebook I received contact. This was general and non-specific departments and I did not have a direct option to contact a person that was qualified to take on my queries and concerns until much later.

    They have not been able to produce evidence that my father had agreed or was aware of any contract service T&Cís, only payment refs. Iím sure itís a requirement of law to have this happen before an agreement can be validated. The service agreement was new and not a roll-over. The original was a 5 year warranty that had expired.

    Iím not looking to pursue issues through courts etc or have the premium refunded in full. I am just asking for them to consider refunding an element after administration fees and costs are taken into consideration as well as any expired policy cover period during which their service could be called upon.

    If payments had been payable monthly only the current month would be payable and any loses would be made more limited. Nursing home care which you highlight can be paid monthly on the same basis. Whether small business or big, advertising perfect customer service and speedy response and failing is not fair in my eyes. Being unconcerned and unsympathetic to their customers is also a no go.

    We are not a rich family and any help we can give my mother who now has the hardship of living alone and on a lower budget we will give freely, its unfortunate our family and my mother are not in the position that you are and can afford to have things lie.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,027Posts Today

7,029Users online

Martin's Twitter