Many readers will recall stories about the joint action being taken by legal firm Shoosmiths on behalf of more than 50 sub-postmasters over their faulty Horizon systems (average so-called debts for each amounting to about £30K).
With Lanwall retailers stuck in five-year leasing arrangements for equipment from the failed photocopy company, the amounts owed are generally between £3-5K. Still serious dosh that shopkeepers cannot just fish out of their back pockets.
My advice in the last issue (C-Store, June 10), designed to get your ‘case’ put back to the bottom of the debt collector’s pile (wouldn’t you hate their job?), prompted a call from Mary Birchall, who runs Derwen Stores in Bala, Gwynedd.
She has had yet another demand for £5K+ (or £4K for quick settlement) from yet another debt collector on behalf of the Bank of Scotland (it would seem that debt collectors get to the bottom of their own ‘too hard’ trays and then just sell their debt list to some other collector). She said she couldn’t take my advice about saying this is in dispute and that she’s taking professional advice because she’s already done that.
I think she could because, believe me, debt collectors don’t read below the top line of their instructions. (I expect the trainer says ‘Just ring and ring and keep banging on the door until you grow that callous on your forehead to cauliflower size. You’ll be a credit to the company’.)
Anyway, we came up with a far better idea. Mary is willing to collect the names and phone numbers of any and all Lanwall retailers who are being harassed for money for their failed deals and when she has enough, we’ll explore the next step with a group approach via lawyers (and meanwhile you can tell that to any debt collectors who are pestering you).
Her number is 01678 521084. It’s really worth a call.