Thawsome! TONY HETHERINGTON helps unhappy customer get a refund for a faulty freezer ordered from Currys after problems with door seal
Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.
Mrs A.B. writes: I ordered a new freezer from Currys, and on delivery day we took everything out of our old freezer, packed it into the bath and covered it.
Currys’ fitters removed the old freezer and took it away, but then found they were short of screws for the door of the new freezer. Their depot advised them to pack all our food into the freezer, switch it on, and seal the door with tape.
When they returned with a replacement freezer they said they could not remove the faulty freezer as it would leak in their van, so they sealed it again and next morning we found melting ice and thawing food.
Cold shoulder: Currys initially offered only £62.50 for a freezer full of wasted food
Tony Hetherington replies: This has been one of those nightmare experiences where you think nothing else could possibly go wrong – and then it does, and all for the want of a packet of screws. After the debacle of the door, Currys promised you a replacement, but it turned out to be a 177-litre model and not the 250-litre freezer you ordered.
In growing desperation, you accepted it, and this is when the fitters refused to take back the freezer with the faulty door. Instead, they resealed it, with all your food in it, and told you to turn it off and then empty it next morning. And that is when you found the tape had not been tight enough to hold down the temperature, so your food had thawed.
You called Currys and were offered three options. You could have a refund and they would remove the freezer. You could have a replacement freezer. Or you could accept vouchers to spend on more goods from Currys. You chose the refund, but then had to fight to get Currys to cover the cost of your lost food.
Eventually, Currys offered you £62.50. Apparently this figure was arrived at by calculating that every cubic foot of freezer space would hold food costing £10. You said to me: ‘I wonder whether management at Currys ever do any shopping to see exactly what £10 buys nowadays.’
After a bit of a struggle (‘people are working from home’), I managed to get Currys to look into what you told me. The company’s first response was to tell you that the freezer should have been left to stand for four hours before it was switched on, and that it would not reach the proper temperature until 12 hours later, so you should have expected a loss of food. But why did Currys’ fitters not know this?
Happily, common sense prevailed. A spokesman told me: ‘We are truly sorry about the upset and frustration caused to Mrs B when our installation team was unable to fit her new freezer, which resulted in her frozen food spoiling.’
As well as the £62.50 it offered, Currys has sent you a cheque for a further £137.50, making a more reasonable £200 in all.
At last, a normal electricity meter
Ms D.G. writes: I have been with British Gas since I had my first home when I was 19 years old, and I am now 57. I have lived at my present address for over 30 years.
When we moved in, money was tight and we asked for a prepayment electricity meter. Now I am disabled and find it hard to go to the nearest place where I can charge up my key. I asked British Gas for a normal credit meter, but they have declined.
Do they want to keep me on a prepayment meter as they make more money this way?
Struggle: Do British Gas want to keep Ms D.G. on a prepayment meter as they make more money this way?
Tony Hetherington replies: Your finances have changed a lot over the past 30 years. You already have a normal gas meter and British Gas collects payments from your bank account by direct debit. It makes no sense to refuse you the same system for electricity. You have told me that you have to go to a shop or showroom every three months and hand over £300 to top up your prepayment meter.
I asked British Gas to explain, and three days later, after an apologetic phone call to you from a senior official, an engineer removed your prepayment meter and fitted a new credit meter.
A spokesman told me: ‘We have now exchanged Ms G’s meter to a credit meter and have apologised to her that this did not happen when she initially requested it.’
We’re watching you
Crook: Jeffrey Revell-Reade was jailed for stock market frauds
The Serious Fraud Office has confiscated more than £1million from one of the world’s major share swindlers, and the cash will be handed over to 200 of his victims.
Jeffrey Revell-Reade was jailed for nine years and six months in 2014 and ordered to repay more than £7million of the £70million his victims invested and lost in a lengthy series of stock market frauds.
The Australian-born crook personally pocketed an estimated £37million when he headed a network of scam broking firms in Britain, Spain and Germany. He is known to have bought three apartments in Marbella and a £5million luxury home in Wimbledon. The SFO has already recovered £3million for victims, and the latest confiscation follows its seizure of a penthouse on the Costa del Sol.
The Mail on Sunday first warned against one of Revell-Reade’s scam broking firms as long ago as 2003.
A year later, I named Revell-Reade and linked him to corrupt London brokers Pacific Continental Securities, which he secretly controlled. In 2007, the Financial Services Authority fined the firm and it closed down. The SFO then opened its own investigation, which led to the conviction in 2014 of a total of nine people.
Emma Luxton, the SFO officer who heads the seizure of proceeds of crime, said: ‘This result demonstrates our tenacity and commitment to ensuring victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve, no matter the complexity of the investigation or how many years have passed since the crime was committed.’
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email [email protected] Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.