Now I want complain about readers who ask me to tackle their problems, and then don't stay in contact with me!
The case of John Smith (a pseudonym, but the case is real) is not unusual. Mr Smith wrote to me about Home Software World, a branch of Book Club Associates now known as BCA.
He signed up for HSW's introductory software offer in 2001 but was not happy with the quality of the products he received.
"In return for some free software I signed a contract to buy three items of software during the following year. The freebies arrived and turned out to be the kind of stuff seen on the £3.99 racks at PC World," he said.
He complained to HSW's customer services department but got nowhere. So he returned all the software and told the company that he wanted nothing more to do with them.
Mr Smith said that HSW ignored his request to cancel his contract and, over the coming year, kept sending him choices of the month which he returned unopened and at his own expense.
Then at the end of the year he ended up with a £50 cancellation fee.
If Mr Smith had returned the introductory offer as he told me I would have thought that would have effectively ended the contract. I asked him if he had kept proof that he had sent the software back, but he hadn't.
I took up the case and called BCA to see if Mr Brown had been incorrectly charged.
BCA customer services kept me regularly updated, but I needed to clarify with Mr Smith what BCA had told me - which was that, on top of the free software, he had made one of the three purchases he signed up to.
Despite repeated phone calls he hasn't come back to me. BCA said he has paid them the £50 and his contract is now cancelled, but I am no wiser as to whether Mr Smith did the right thing.
Cases such as these take up a great deal of time and disappearing into the ether leaves me unable to supply answers to questions from companies or solicitors who have agreed to look at a case.
So for readers who decide not to take the matter further, I fully understand. But I would appreciate a quick phone call, email or letter to let me know.
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