EVERY Saturday, The Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Amanda Cable will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, Maddy Tooke rounds up the best coupons to save you money and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Jane Hamilton, property expert
EVERYBODY loves good neighbours – but having noisy ones is the top property put-off for buyers.
A huge 85 per cent of Brits say they would shun a home with loud families next door, research reveals.
Nearly three in five would reject a house if there had previously been a murder at the home, while 44 per cent would not consider a property reports of paranormal activity.
But the study from property buyer Good Move revealed Brits are far more concerned by more trivial faults, with a 73 per cent shunning homes with shared gardens or pads with damp.
Ross Counsell, director at Good Move, says: “It’s clear that certain things will put off most people.”
Here is how to remedy top buyer turn-offs.
- Noisy neighbours (85 per cent) – Speak to those involved. Inform council if noise does not stop.
- Short leasehold remaining (76 per cent) – Get a quote from your freeholder for a lease extension.
- Signs of damp (75 per cent) – Get a quote from several damp repair firms to compare costs.
- A shared garden (73 per cent) – Fence off your area to make it more attractive.
- Signs of cracks on the walls (73 per cent) – Ask a builder to check if cosmetic or structural issue.
- Front door opening on to a main road (70 per cent) – Screening road with plants or fencing.
- No parking (69 per cent) – Can you buy a nearby garage or parking space?
- No garden (66 per cent) – Window boxes are on-trend and you can even grow your own veg.
- Smelly (63 per cent) – Get scrubbing. Clean carports, curtains and furniture, too.
- Busy/high-speed roads nearby (62 per cent) – Check campaigns to reduce the speed limit.
Buy of the week
THERE’S no need to apply to ITV2 show Love Island to find your perfect partner.
Simply head to Hull.
New research by rental management platform Howsy found the Northern city has the UK’s highest percentage of singles.
So couple up in this stunning one-bed Humber view apartment with roof terrace for just £129,500 at zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/51576162.
SEE if your home is a winner.
The hunt is on for the UK’s best window with a view.
Entries are invited for views from offices, homes, hotels, museums and historical buildings – and the winner will receive a £200 Amazon voucher.
Submit your view by Friday, June 28, at myglazing.com or post a snap to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #WindowWith AView2019and tag @myglazing.
James Lee, from myglazing.com says: “From city landscapes to rural vistas, the competition is a great way to highlight outstanding architecture and natural beauty.”
Deal of the week
BRING some sunshine into your life after the downpours this week.
This Outdoor Tropical Lantern is perfect for parties and costs just £1 from Poundland, compared to £10 for a similar version at Talking Tables.
Q) MY daughter was celebrating her 40th birthday on the beach with friends when one friend who was drunk thought it would be funny to rugby tackle her.
She suffered a serious broken leg. This has resulted in several operations and three months of lost work and wages.
I feel she should be compensated by the friend but it’s a difficult situation due to their friendship. What should she do? Sue, Brighton
A) This is a difficult situation in law.
Just because this friend caused your daughter’s injuries, it does not automatically follow that they would be held legally accountable.
The law recognises that accidents are accidents so your daughter would need to prove that this friend acted negligently.
She would have to show this was not just a bit of fun that went wrong but that this friend behaved in a way which was obviously reckless.
Given this person was drunk and the tackle came out of nowhere (it wasn’t part of any game), your daughter may have a good legal case against this friend.
The problem will be deciding whether this friend is worth suing, in particular whether they have the resources to pay any compensation.
There is a possibility (albeit a slim one) that this friend may be covered for what they did by a clause in their house insurance.
Frankly, if this person doesn’t have a great deal of money or isn’t covered, bringing a claim may simply not be worth it.
I should be clear that your daughter could obtain compensation for reasonable damages which resulted from her injuries but this may have a serious impact of any friendship and may not result in a legal win.
Q) WHILE shopping in town I accidentally dropped a cigarette butt on the floor.
It must have fallen out of my jacket pocket.
A short while later I was stopped by two enforcement officers who gave me a £100 fixed penalty fine.
I was told I could appeal but risk receiving a criminal record.
Do you think I am best just paying the fine?
A) I would not be bullied by suggestions of a criminal record but I think it is worth paying the fine.
I appreciate this feels unjust as you did not throw the butt on the floor deliberately but given the evidence of two
enforcement officers, you are going to have an uphill and expensive struggle trying to get out of it.
Q) MY mother, my husband and I took out a deed of trust 18 years ago when we bought a hotel.
We all paid an equal amount and it stated that when one of us died, that share would be left to the survivors.
Sadly, my mother died earlier this year but the solicitors who dealt with it at the time have now told us that, although it was kept in a vault, it hadn’t been signed and if we want a copy we would have to pay for it.
Then we were then told we were tenants in common, which they said is different. Our problem is that our daughter is the sole beneficiary to my mum’s estate and wants one third of the hotel.
Where do we stand?
We didn’t get a copy of the deed of trust at the time and the solicitor who dealt with us has died and we are dealing with his son. Ann, Lancashire
A) This is a legal nightmare. Firstly, this firm of solicitors has behaved abominably.
If there was a deed of trust specifying that the property was to be divided between you and your father upon your mother’s death, then that is exactly what must follow and your lawyers were bound to ensure that all the necessary legal formalities were completed.
If they have failed to do this or have lost the deed then they have acted negligently.
If you are tenants in common as opposed to having a written agreement, this will undoubtedly have implications on who is no entitled to your mother’s share of the hotel.
Although this does not necessarily mean your daughter will be the beneficiary, it does make it far more likely.
Either way, I would seriously urge you to instruct a new lawyer, especially one with experience in probate law.
The Law Society will be able to point you in the right direction.
- Judge Rinder regrets he cannot answer questions personally. Answers intended as general guidance. They do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for obtaining independent legal advice.
- Got a question for Judge Rinder? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion
Q) WE bought a house at the start of the year that didn’t have a kitchen fitted. So we bought a full kitchen from Homebase at the beginning of January, paying nearly £3,800.
The service that we received that day from the store was excellent. But since then the service has been completely unacceptable.
Our sales order stated that the majority of items would be delivered within five weeks.
But after three months we had received only the washing machine, double oven, hob and hood – from an order which comprised a complete kitchen.
This is causing my family severe hardship. I have a five-week-old baby, following a traumatic birth, and now we are unable to move into our house because we are awaiting delivery of the kitchen so we can have it fitted.
My partner and I have spent hours trying to get this issue resolved. We are at our wits’ end and don’t know what to do next. Gemma Lewis, Leominstr, Herefordshire
A) With a new house and a new baby – but no kitchen – you were really up against it.
Fortunately, the majority of the fixtures and fittings did eventually arrive shortly after you contacted me – but Homebase lost the plans for the layout so your kitchen fitter faced a different set of challenges.
Furthermore, because of the delay, you were forced to pay to stay in your rented house for another month, which was a huge cost you could ill afford with all that was going on in your life.
With this in mind, I got on to Homebase for you and was able to secure £650 compensation as an apology for the poor service.
Homebase told me: “We are very sorry for the issues this couple received in the delivery of their new kitchen.
“We have spoken with them to resolve the matter and have also offered a part-refund.”
Q) LAST November we had a smart meter installed by Scottish Power. But they changed our direct debit details to an old bank account and it didn’t go through.
I have queried this several times. Scottish Power insisted it had the right bank details but each time I was told it had been corrected my payment didn’t go through.
I accepted £100 compensation but I have now received yet another email advising my direct debit has been cancelled.
I checked my Scottish Power account and, yet again, the old details have been registered. I am fed up. Robert Towler, Musselburgh
A) This was a complete customer service failing.
You’d identified that the energy company was using old bank details so all it needed to do was change them.
But that didn’t happen. Instead you were caused months of stress, with your payments all over the shop.
It took a nudge from me to get things sorted.
Scottish Power has now confirmed it has correct bank details.
It also moved you to a two-year fixed Help Beat Cancer account.
Do you have a consumer issue? Email email@example.com
Maddy Tooke, Coupon Queen
My top five freebies this week
Top 10 deals
- Dads go free at Gulliver’s theme parks this weekend. Valid all-day Saturday and Sunday at various locations. See bit.ly/gulliversfree.
- Treat Dad to a free burger at Sizzling Pub & Grill this Father’s Day after 6pm. See bit.ly/freeburgerdad
- Dads eat free at Giraffe restaurants all day on June 16. See bit.ly/dadeatfreegiraffe
- Free back, neck and shoulder massage or Elemis Prescriptive Facial at Bannatyne Spa for Dad when you book in for one, too. See bit.ly/freemassagefordad.
- Get £15 off first Very orders over £150 with code NWMQY from Vouchercloud.com. Expires June 20. See bit.ly/very15off
- Get £15 cash back when you spend £15 on fashion through Topcashback.co.uk. New customers only. See bit.ly/15offfashiontcb.
- New customers save 10 per cent at Asos. Order through Topcashback.co.uk and get 10.5 per cent cash back as well. See bit.ly/10offasos
- Get festival ready with 15 per cent off at Mountain Warehouse. See bit.ly/15offmountainwarehouse
- Make the most of the Ikea sale by getting an extra 10 per cent off with an Ikea Family Card. See bit.ly/ikeafamilycard10off
- Save 20 per cent on wedding rings from Goldsmiths. Full price items only. Expires Tuesday. See bit.ly/20offweddingringsgoldsmiths