The following email from Jean Alcock had the subject heading ‘Camelot rant’. It went like this: “We are a small independent general store which we took over three years ago. Camelot took a £5,000 bond which they said they would hold for two years. We foolishly forgot and have for the past month been trying to get it back.
“We followed their instructions and emailed credit control, three times; not once have we received a reply. We even wrote, but still no reply. We have telephoned on many occasions and been able to speak to the only person in their organisation who deals with bond repayments. We have been told that we have failed on our Experian credit check, even though we have an excellent score.
“After more calls we have now been told that it has been declined on the grounds of the business credit check which, after consulting with Experian, we have been told there is no problem. Can you ask your readers if they have ever got their money back from Camelot before selling their business?”
Ironically, this arrived just days before my story of Nigel Park’s battle to get back his £5K deposit (C-Store, 25 March) was due to be published. Nigel, too, had been fruitlessly struggling one year after he was due to get his money back.
Camelot told me they would be dealing directly with the case so I contacted Nigel again to find out whether he had got his deposit returned. The answer was: partly.
“We got £3K back with the remaining £2K to be reviewed on 10 June,” says Nigel. “They said we just did a credit check and nothing has changed. I said I’ll gladly give you access to my books. There is no justification for it. Will you be telling me in June that I’ll get the same answer?”
If he does then he plans to start legal proceedings. “I have never defaulted. They don’t give a damn about us.”
I then re-contacted Jean with an update, but her case had not progressed. She says: “I wrote to the new managing director, but have not received a reply. We spoke to the rep who told us that once it has been looked at they will not look at it again so we can see no hope of getting our money back as they will not answer emails or letters.
“The rep told us that they had lost a lot of money through defaults even though we have never defaulted a payment.”
That may well be the reason, but that’s no excuse for taking it out on blameless bystanders.