How much money, and for how much work?

Reported by Jac Roper, The Grocer http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/articles.aspx?page=independentarticle&ID=200589

12 June 2009

Sukhvinder Kaur and her husband Dhesi Jaswinder have been having a serious barney with business transfer agents RTA.

She writes: "In March 2006 I put my shop on sale through RTA. I had also paid them an advertising fee up front. However, in August 2008 I decided to take my shop off the market, and thus contacted RTA to tell them."

Someone from RTA told her to send the advice via email, which she did. "I didn't hear anything from the company, which led me to assume that they had taken my shop off the market."

However, in March 2009 RTA sent someone round to the shop (The Corner Shop, Tamworth) to view it. The premises were no longer as advertised, though. They had been extended to include a whole new building. The cost of this renovation was about £350,000.

"My husband told the person he spoke to from RTA all this, who said he would discuss it with his company. He did not mention that I had 'breached their contract' over the phone. The next day, I received a letter from RTA demanding £11,000, including VAT. It also stated that I had broken their contract by not sending them any accounts, which I clearly recall were not even asked for.

"I believe the payment demanded by RTA is highly unjust, especially when I had told them to take my shop off the market nearly a year ago and they didn't."

The amount of money being demanded is breathtaking. Copies of the demand in front of me show that £12,650 is now due.

I contacted the company and was put through to customer services. A spokeswoman said: "I cannot speak with you. No one can. We are dealing with our vendor's solicitors. I've had lengthy conversations with Mrs Kaur. You've only heard one side of the story."

I said, that's why I'm calling you - to get your side. She said that someone in authority would ring on May 14. No one has so far. And Sukhvinder says no one has spoken to her at all - her husband has been doing all the talking.

There is, by the way, a lively website pertinent to this subject. Investigative journalists Andrew Penman and Nick Sommerlad, who write a weekly column in the Daily Mirror, have roundly slated RTA with numerous examples of unhappy commercial customers. RTA answered back to the adverse press coverage saying it would be reporting the Mirror to the Press Complaints Commission. The PCC rejected the complaint.