There are very few textbook cases and this certainly isn't one of them. Life is seldom so simple that you can apply a blueprint to solve a problem.

Raja Razzaq, who trades as Alif Self Service in Shipley, West Yorkshire, ordered a photo booth and fax machine more than a year ago, for which he paid £800.

He was happy to delay delivery (from supplier CTL Solutions) because he had been having some renovations done to the store and as he put it, "at the time there was more rain inside the store than out".

By last July, though, he and the store were ready. However, the deliveries have been constantly delayed and he has been given a string of excuses. "I ring them once a week and I think they are just messing me about."

I tried on his behalf to contact the company, but the two people on whose mobiles I left messages, haven't responded.

His only recourse now is legal action. He could try writing to them and giving them seven days to deliver or return the money, threatening small claims court if they don't respond. But he has decided to go one better and see his own solicitor. Shouldn't be necessary, though, should it?