And welcome back to the column to business sales agents RTA

22nd FEBRUARY, 2012

After a brief absence, it's time to welcome back RTA "business sales specialists".

We revealed last summer how the firm's manager Ceri Edwards admitted its contracts were "draconian" and "heavily weighted in RTA's favour".

Previously we've told of clients whose businesses were not sold but RTA still demanded huge fees. Now Manchester pizza shop owner Hiwa Ali is celebrating after being sued by RTA when he refused to pay £3,000 plus VAT on top of his £117.50 upfront fee.

The firm wrote to him saying: "The agreement was to remain in force until revoked in writing by registered or recorded delivery and at no time have you sought to withdraw our instructions and therefore the agreement remained in force.

"We attempted to make arrangements for a party to view only to be informed that a sale of the business has now taken place."

But Mr Ali became fed up with Stockport-based RTA precisely because no one had come to view his shop, blaming the firm for valuing it at £48,500 when he suggested £36,000 was nearer the market price.

With the help of a friend, Mr Ali, who has poor English, launched a counterclaim for £5,000, saying "it must have been obvious" to RTA's sales rep that he did not understand what he was signing.

His friend pleaded: "Four and a half months after signing the contract, Mr Ali was in dire financial straits but there had not been a single viewing or offer for City Pizza.

"Since RTA did not sell the shop, the defence submits Mr Ali does not owe RTA £3,000."

Result: RTA's claim, and Mr Ali's counterclaim, were both thrown out.