Consumer complains about her catalogue provider after the six-month time limit

Time limits Consumer Credit Exceptional circumstances

Susan brings her complaint about her catalogue provider after the six-month time limit. She told us she contacted the company again after receiving its final response letter because she felt it hadn’t reached the right outcome.

What happened

Susan had a catalogue account for many years and was unhappy that her debt had been passed onto a third party.

The catalogue company said in its ‘final response’ letter to Susan that it was entitled to pass the debt onto a company whose role it is to contact customers to help them get the account up to date. And it let Susan know that she had six months from the date of the ‘final response’ letter to refer her complaint to our service.

The catalogue company didn’t consent to our service looking into this complaint if it had passed the time limit. Unhappy with the outcome, Susan decided to get in touch with us to make a complaint.

What we said

We asked Susan why she contacted us after the time limit. Susan told us that she had received the catalogue company’s final response letter and accepted that she’d contacted us more than six months after it was sent to her. But she said she’d written back to the company after receiving the final response because she felt it hadn’t reached the right outcome.

Susan said she’d contacted us within six months of the next response she received from the company. So, she thought that she had complained in time.

We looked at both letters and considered everything that had happened.

We thought the first letter answered Susan’s complaint and was a valid final response letter for the purpose of starting the six-month time-limit to our service. The second letter didn’t change the company’s position or, importantly, revoke the previously letter. So it didn’t change or extend the time limit for contacting us that Susan had been given.

Susan agreed that she received the first letter, and we hadn’t seen anything to suggest she couldn’t have contacted us within six months of it being sent to her. So we thought she’d referred her complaint out of time and there were no exceptional circumstances for the delay.