This guide is for you if you have an everyday legal problem; like a problem with your boss, benefits or landlord; or an argument about a bill or something you’ve bought. It will guide you through the seven steps you can take to solve your problem; and will lift the lid on the tricks of the trade which advisers use to solve problems as quickly and effectively as possible.
Below you can read what happened to Sean when he had a problem with his gas bill, or you can get straight down to business and start solving your problem by going to step 1.
"I got a massive gas bill just before Christmas. It's never that high, so I checked the meter reading myself. It was completely different to what it said on the bill. I called customer services and tried to explain, but the woman I spoke to didn't believe me. To be honest I lost my rag a bit. I ended up shouting at her that it was their mistake, and they should sort it out.
A few weeks later, I came home to find a red bill from them for the same amount. When I phoned up to complain, they said I should have contacted them if I had a problem with my bill! It was so infuriating. I tried to explain that I had, but the woman said there was no record of it. I had to go through the whole thing again. She said she'd put a note on the system so someone would come round and ‘verify’ what I said about the meter.
Over the next few weeks, I got more letters talking about ‘pre-payment meters’ and even telling me they'd get a warrant to come and cut me off. I assumed that somebody was on their way round which would sort it all out. I wasn't going to waste any more of my time phoning them up!
I didn't hear anything more for a few weeks, and to be honest, I forgot about it. That is, until I got home one day to find my gas had been cut off!"
What went wrong for Sean?
We've all been in situations we could have handled better. This wasn’t Sean’s fault but in an ideal world Sean could have:
- Tried not to lose his temper
- Made a note of who he spoke to and when, and what they’d agreed
- Followed up the other letters, even though he’d already explained the situation
- When he wasn't getting anywhere, he should have got some advice.
If he had, it would probably have been a very different story. (See Sean sorts it to find out how Sean sorted it the ‘seven steps’ way.)
Can you spare a few minutes?
We would be grateful if you could tell us what you think of this information by completing our Feedback survey. We will use your feedback to improve our guides, inform our future work and seek funding.