Simon Routledge, J&S News, Hull, got in touch for the second time. After our first conversation last year I suspect he took the decision to stop paying for non-serviced equipment because most recently he emailed: "The problem I have now is that I am trying to arrange a commercial mortgage and the lease agreement is affecting my otherwise perfect credit rating.
"I have spoken to Bank of Scotland and they are waiting for the copier to be sold at auction, but are quoting £4,800-£6,900 to settle the agreement. Do you know of anyone in a similar situation who has managed to negotiate a smaller settlement and if so how did they do it?"
Here's the gist of my reply to Simon. Everything in this life, I believe, is down to negotiation although I don't know of anyone who has managed to get BoS (or its debt collectors) down by much. But they are coming down as more retailers protest (and, as the creditors must realise, they are on a sticky wicket).
However, the specific advice for Simon is to phone the credit checking companies Experian/Equifax and tell them his agreement with BoS is in dispute and has been passed to the Financial Ombudsman. Then ask that his records be amended accordingly. The BoS itself advised Pam Hoffman (who has long championed retailers through the courts over Lanwall) of this course of action a long time ago.
I would add one note. Even if there is such an amendment on your records, it might not help with random credit checks. Anyone contacting a credit checking company might just get given the first line of the report, which will say there is a problem and not go beyond it. In Simon's case, though, he can go back to his mortgage arranger and tell them to ask beyond the first line where it will be spelled out.
Please, please, all Lanwall retailers, contact the Financial Ombudsman. He's now pretty aware of the problem.