Some things take a-a-a-ges to clear up. Good to report that, in Mohammad Ali’s case, it is now done and dusted. In a nutshell, he went to court with RTA and won.

To put some bones on the meat, I first heard from Mohammad, Woodcote Way Post Office, in November 2011, looking for advice about RTA Business Sales Specialists’ cancellation charges. He wrote: “I signed a contract with them in 2003 for 12 months (sole agency), but they were unable to sell the business.”

After a year he wrote to them saying he didn’t wish to renew the sole agency contract, however if they introduced a buyer he would be more than happy to pay full commission.

“What is annoying is the fact they keep contacting me every 12 months or so and asking me to get ready for a viewing and, in the same letter, they would write that if I wished to cancel the contract I would have to pay £500 cancellation fee.

“Their most recent letter asked me to get an EPC done from their recommended company and if I didn’t they would have to cancel my contract (which to my knowledge was already cancelled some five years back) and bill me £500 plus VAT.”

I advised Mohammad to brazen it out and get his own Energy Performance Certificate should he need one, but warned that RTA (dubbed ‘Road Traffic Accident’ by one national newspaper) will sometimes resort to court and so it dragged on for another year and somehow the money owed grew like Topsy.

Mohammad got back in touch recently: “RTA took me to court with a claim for £6,500 plus expenses and interest, totalling close to £11,000. My court date was November 21, 2012 at Milton Keynes County Court. RTA’s representative tried his best to scare me by emphasising the point that they are professional lawyers, saying I don’t stand a chance as I was representing myself.”

The representative started with an offer of an out-of-court settlement of £4,000, coming down to £1,000, but he refused on the grounds that he would only pay the £500 fee if he had to.

“Eventually, there I was sitting in front of the magistrate. RTA gave a long-winded statement justifying their claim, but the magistrate declined their claim and awarded only the cancellation fee to them.”

You might argue that Mohammad could have paid that £500 in the first place, but interesting to see how RTA escalated the price.