Jan Graundfell, who runs Meadow Road Stores on the Isle of Wight, got a leaflet from a company called Voltage Accessories, offering reasonably priced watches that Jan thought might have made good Christmas stock and so ordered a couple of hundred quids-worth. However, when the goods arrived she found that many were damaged with broken glass and so began negotiations with the company to return the goods as she thought they were not of merchantable quality. But the company wanted to bill her for the freight.

She rang Trading Standards to see where she stood on returning and reclaiming. The first TSO she spoke to was very helpful and advised her that the terms and conditions did not require her to pay freight. The officer invited her to call back if she had any further problems. She did because HSBC, which apparently debt collects for the company, has been chasing her for the full amount of the returned goods – some £240. She wrote to HSBC twice and telephoned and explained she no longer had the goods. Somehow the message wasn’t getting through.

She rang the TSO again but got through to a different officer. “This one just wasn’t interested,” she said.

I rang Voltage Accessories and the company confirmed that Jan has had a credit note and isn’t liable. Hopefully, it will have informed HSBC. It’s not a bundle of fun when a bank chases you but even worse when a TSO – who would have been down like a ton of bricks if she had sold a faulty watch to a customer – couldn’t see fit to intervene.