I have just remembered I forgot to write about my day in court.
About a year ago I contracted for two mobile phones for my sons, with Th Mobile Outlet (also called Dextra Solutions). They had a deal whereby you sign up with them for 12 months and as long as you send the statements that you receive from Vodaphone to them as per their instructions you get re-paid the amount of your line rental as cash back. They make their money by you overspending your free calls each month and also by you not fulfilling the instructions on how to claim the money back.
The instructions are written in print too small for me to see, even with my glasses, but I enlarged it on the copier and found that I should send the first four months statements to them with 21 days of the date of the fourth statement. Then again the next three within 21 days of the seventh statement. I have to say that I thought that the instructions had been compiled with confusion in mind. If at any point your breach the claim instructions you can no longer claim any cash back for the rest of the contract.
Anyway at the end of month 4 I received the last 4th statement for each phone, made a little package of them both including & SAE for return of the statements, which was offered, and sent them off. I heard nothing. After a month or so I phoned and was told that there was something on its way to me. Still nothing. I phoned again, and yet again, at monthly intervals. Finally in October I received a letter saying the statements got to the too late and so they would not pay. It went through my mind to just put this down to experience but I wasn't happy about it at all. I felt that they must think me really stupid to even try such a thing. I decided to do something I had never done before, take them to small claims court.
I filled in the details on the Money Claims Online website and paid my court fee. The defendant decided to fight the case and so it was transferred to the district court. On 28th of December I was due in the Southampton Combined Courts at 10.20am. Eek this was getting a bit out of hand.
I am pleased to say though that it was fine. The court room was a small office ( I wondered if it was chambers but it was labelled court room 7. The judge was pleasant and personable. He listed to my explanation, saw my paperwork and considered the reply from the defendant. After just about 10 minutes he decided that the contract was an unfair contract which basically set you up to fail by making it as difficult as possible to understand the rules and to stick to them. He ruled full payment of contract cost plus court costs to be paid to me by 14th January. Of course I don't know if I will actually get the money but I will certainly be returning to court if it isn't forthcoming.
I would suggest to anyone who has been taken for a ride financially to consider this process. It really isn't always the big boys that win, just because they understand the rules. I did too.