Although it wasn’t really down to luck – more like persistence

Back in February I reported that the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) had provisionally upheld a complaint from Palasupramaniam Paladhanushan, known as ‘Dan’, over his dealings with photocopier company Ezeecopy.

He had taken out a hire agreement with the company for a photocopier for his store, Jerrys in London’s Lewisham, for what he believed would be 50% commission and better footfall. He did not realise that after three months there would be a monthly fee to pay and when he tried to leave the contract he would be liable for a cancellation fee of more than two grand.

It took him three goes to get a favourable decision from the FOS – the first two were turned down by caseworkers – but Dan is nothing if not persistent.

The ombudsman, Simon Wingfield, produced a detailed report in February which found that Dan would not have entered into the agreement if he had known the number of copies he would have to sell in order to make a profit was unrealistic.

Ezeecopy disagreed with the initial findings and asked the ombudsman to consider 19 further points which Wingfield summarised in his final decision in July. But the decision was to uphold Dan’s complaint.

Wingfield’s findings run to three A4 pages, again very detailed.

The ombudsman said: “I am satisfied the only reason Mr P entered into the agreement was to help increase footfall and make a profit. Had he been better informed, I don’t think he would have agreed to enter into the agreement.”

His final decision was that the hire agreement should be cancelled with nothing further to pay and that the goods and paper should be collected at no cost to Dan and that all records of the agreement should be removed from his credit file.

Dan says: “I feel as if a big burden has been lifted. It’s been two years, a very long journey. It’s over for me but not for others. This will be helpful to others if they go to court. It will be on public record six weeks after the final decision.”

Ezeecopy confirmed this is the only final FOS decision they had found against them in 23 years.

Convenience Store is not the only publication to report this. On 12 August the Daily Express ran Dan’s story, saying that although Ezeecopy has confirmed it currently has “no other cases at the FOS”, the FOS itself said it had received just over 10 complaints relating to the matter.

Ezeecopy said it “had about 2,000 accounts nationwide and that those complaints represented under 1% of its customer base”.

Dan is now of the opinion (as am I) that, if you want to offer a photocopy service, go buy a machine. They’re cheap as chips these days.