The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) was due to uphold a complaint from Palasupramaniam Paladhanushan, known as ‘Dan’, over his dealings with photocopier firm Ezeecopy on Valentine’s Day. As this is being written, Ezeecopy has not appealed the decision.
I’m not surprised it got this far because Dan does not give up easily. It took him three goes to get his case reviewed by an actual ombudsman as two caseworkers had previously turned him down.
I was impressed by the length of the ombudsman’s reply in his provisional decision at the end of January and the detail it included.
Dan had taken out a hire agreement with Ezeecopy for a machine for his store, Jerrys in Lewisham, south-east London, after seeing a leaflet promising 50% commission. He assumed better footfall and profits, but it didn’t work out that way. Dan claims he did not know that after three months he would be charged a monthly fee. When he tried to get out of the contract he was told that there would be a cancellation fee of over two grand.
Ezeecopy had its say as well. It claimed that Dan had been harassing other customers, trying to persuade them to join a campaign against it. And it said it had provided Dan with 7,500 sheets of paper and he tried to order more, suggesting he had sold a significant number of copies.
Dan subsequently supplied a photo of unopened reams of paper.
The FOS found that Dan would not have entered into the agreement if he had known the number of photocopies he would have to sell to make a profit was unrealistic.
Finally, the ombudsman recommended that the hire agreement should be cancelled with nothing further to pay. The goods and paper should be collected at no cost to Dan. Ezeecopy should remove all records from Dan’s credit file and refund him any payments with interest added at 8% a year.
Dan is involved in a support group for others on similar contracts. And he is basing one of his arguments on a legality: “If Ezeecopy signed a contract on 15 March 2017, why was the copy of the contract sent to the ombudsman on 18 December 2017 not countersigned? I believe this is a criminal offence while the investigation is going on.”