Moneywise fights for your rights - Everest, Megabus and parking fines
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Everest won’t repair my windows
I bought double-glazed sash windows from Everest for my living room and spare bedroom, but now I have problems with both sealed units.
In the living room there is a crack in the glass that is invisible to the naked eye, but which has caused condensation between the double-glazed panes.
Although it was installed back in 1999, I think it should be covered by Everest’s lifetime guarantee, which says: “We guarantee to repair or, at our discretion, replace free of charge any Everest sealed unit installed in Everest uPVC windows which develop condensation or fogging between the glasses of the sealed units as a result of water ingress.”
I have had an Everest employee round, who said that the work should be done. But since then, I have been told “it’s the wrong type of glass”.
I’ve also complained about a gap in an upstairs window, which Everest installed in 2003. I have been told that because I didn’t complain straight away, my complaint will not be dealt with. A 10-year guarantee has expired, but I believe it, too, should be dealt with under Everest’s lifetime guarantee.
I know I didn’t complain right away, but I am in poor health and have been trying to sort this out for three years.
When you pay for home improvements, but are not happy with the way they are carried out, it’s important to complain as soon as possible – even if you have a lengthy guarantee.
In the case of the upstairs window, AS would have been better complaining as soon as it had been fitted so Everest would have had a chance to fix it right away. Due to his ill health and the fact that the room was not used, AS approached Everest in 2013 just after its 10-year guarantee had expired.
When I first spoke to a team leader at Everest, he explained that although the sealed units in the bedroom window do have a lifetime guarantee, it does not cover structural movement of a property, which “falls outside of the guarantee conditions”. However, AS pointed out that his house is made of Cornish granite and the walls are very thick – with no evidence of cracks.
He questioned what evidence Everest could provide that these gaps were due to structural movement, given that the company hadn’t arranged a survey on the property.
Everest also said that the lifetime guarantee didn’t apply to the sash windows in AS’s living room, for which the general 10-year guarantee had expired in 2013.
The good news is that Everest has now confirmed that it will repair the bedroom window and replace the glass in the living room window free of charge.
An Everest spokesperson says: “Your reader had two different types of window installed which have differing lengths of guarantee, one a lifetime guarantee on the glass and one for 10 years. Although the latter windows were three years outside their guarantee period, as a gesture of goodwill we decided to carry out all the work free of charge. We have apologised to AS for the inconvenience and, as agreed with him, we will be carrying out the repairs once he returns from holiday.”
AS says: “I am relieved Everest has finally agreed to repair my windows. It has taken years to sort out, but Everest has now arranged to carry out the repairs later this month.Thanks for all your help.”
Outcome: Window to be repaired despite guarantee expiring.
Megabus left me stranded
I made a booking with Megabus for a trip from Bristol to London on 31 May 2016, but the bus was more than three hours late and I had to wait on the street all this time.
It was very stressful as other Megabus buses arrived, but the drivers couldn’t take us on board as my ticket was for a different time.They kept giving me incorrect information, such as my bus would arrive in 10 minutes when it was two hours away.
In the end, I had to take a National Express coach, which very expensive as I had to buy my ticket on the day, or otherwise I would have missed the train I had to catch in London.
I contacted Megabus in June asking for a refund to cover the cost of the National Express bus I had to take, but it seems that customer services didn’t read my email properly. I have received a refund of £24 for my original Megabus ticket, but not for the extra ticket I had to buy.
Please can you help?
It's frustrating when you write to customer services, only to feel fobbed off with an impersonal response.
A spokesperson for Megabus says: “I have looked into this with our Megabus.com team. We were very sorry to hear about the issues this customer experienced with her journey.
“All customers affected by the delay to this particular service were provided with a full refund in the light of the disruption to the journey. In addition, we are making a payment of £50 to cover the cost of MK’s replacement coach ticket as a goodwill gesture in recognition of the inconvenience this situation caused.”
MK says: “I was quite disappointed with Megabus’s original reply, especially as it seemed as if it hadn’t read my initial query properly. But I’m happy with the final outcome.”
Outcome: £50 goodwill gesture plus ticket refunded.
Confused by parking fines?
The Fight for your Rights inbox regularly receives complaints from drivers who have been issued with parking notices in car parks, which they believe are unfair and are not sure whether to appeal, pay up or just ignore them. So here is an overview of the appeals process.
The two main types of parking fines you’ll receive in a car park are a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from the council or a Parking Charge Notice from a land owner or private parking company, which you might get on private land, such as a supermarket car park.
Local authorities have a fixed amount that they can charge, which is currently between £60 and £80 in London and from £50 to £70 outside London for minor contraventions such as overstaying in a pay-and-display bay. Meanwhile, you can expect private parking firms to charge as much as £100. In both cases, fines will be halved if you pay within 14 days.
If you receive a PCN from the council and you believe it is unfair, you have 14 days to make an informal appeal or 21 days if you received your PCN in the post. If your appeal is rejected, you will usually be given another 14 days to pay and will still get a 50% discount on the PCN. If you would prefer to then make a formal appeal to the council, you have 28 days to do so – but if this is rejected you will have to pay the PCN in full.
If you receive a fine from a private car park, check first if the operator is a member of a trade body such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Community (IPC). If they are not a member, they won’t have access to your DVLA details so you could choose not to pay.
Again, if your informal appeal is rejected, you can make a formal appeal to the Parking on Private Land Appeals if the operator is a BPA member or to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS) if they are an IPC member. If the formal appeal is rejected, you should pay the parking ticket.While you will see plenty of online comments recommending non-payment, private firms do take non-payers to court. For appeals advice and template letters, visit Citizens Advice and fines campaign site Parkingcowboys.co.uk.
Just to give you an idea of the sort of cases where appeals have failed, two readers who are both Blue Badge holders have contacted Moneywise. ES parked at a shopping centre in Bradford with her daughter. She walks slowly and lost track of time, arriving back at her car 40 minutes late. The operator, Parking Eye, issued her with an £85 ticket, pointing out that there were several signs displaying the three-hour limit. It offered a fee of £50 for early payment.
A ParkingEye spokesperson says: “ParkingEye adheres to the BPA’s guidelines on grace periods, operates an audited appeals process and encourages people to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances. If a motorist disagrees with our decision, they can appeal to the IAS.”
Our other reader,TM, was staying with his disabled wife at his nephew’s flat in a private gated development in east London and was given a number to put on his windscreen. His wife accidentally knocked down the number while getting out of the car. The operator, Parking Control Management, issued a £100 ticket for not displaying the number, and TM’s appeals have been rejected. Moneywise asked PCM for comment, but has not heard back.
- Read our previous Fight for your rights articles here.