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'I paid £954 for a deposit on a new kitchen then the company went bust. Have I lost it all?'

Jessica Gorst-Williams
One reader’s plan for a brand new kitchen ended up in court - HULTON ARCHIVE

I placed an order for a kitchen worktop nearly two years ago. Following a visit to the kitchen company’s showroom a quotation was prepared for £1,980 and I paid a £954 deposit. The worktop was never installed.

The showroom closed (it was a one-shop business) and my telephone calls, emails and texts were unanswered. Then I received an email advising that the kitchen company was still trading.

The email didn’t address my particular situation. It stated if I had any questions to contact the writer. I attempted to do so but there was no response.

I therefore pursued the matter through the courts. The company’s bank was ordered to refund me but I’m still waiting.

PF, South West England

Had you paid by card it would have been so much easier to get your money back either via a “chargeback” for a debit or credit card or a claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, had it been a credit card. Unfortunately you paid by bank transfer.

You established that the company owed rent on the showroom premises, which was also its registered office.

There was another similarly named company at the same address which had been ordered to be wound up, although on application of the Official Receiver that measure had been deferred. You also found out that the company had changed its name but showed the same address.

You served correspondence on the registered office address and on the proprietor’s home address. A claim was submitted in the small claims court. The defendant did not appear and a judgment was made in your favour.

A third-party debt order was made against the company’s bank, Santander.

You paid a £60 court fee for the initial claim, then another £110 for the third-party debt order. Eighteen months after submitting the claim, 12 months after securing the judgment and 10 months after getting the third party debt order you were still waiting for payment. The defendant was still in business and you said Santander was ignoring you.

I spoke to Santander, which said it had been unable to locate the business on its system as the account was still held in the company’s previous name. You had given the bank all the information but it was only now that it got the facts straight at last.

Santander said: “We’re sorry that this issue took as long as it did to resolve. This is well below the level of service we want for our customers. Unfortunately, confusion over the company name, and the name in which the account with us was held, delayed the customer receiving his funds.”

Santander has also paid you £200 for goodwill.