Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Interview - Elizabeth Crampton from the Citizens Advice Bureau


Today we were joined in the studio by Elizabeth Crampton from the Citizens Advice Bureau who gave us plenty of advice about a variety of subjects such as what happens when a holiday tour operator goes bust, dealing with possible rogue traders that appear on your doorstep and dealing with home renting issues.

Elizabeth told us what you should do if you find yourself stuck in a foreign land when if your tour operator goes into liquidation. Recently 'Holidays 4 U' went into administration, stranding their customers, and should this happen you can be reimbursed through the ATOL scheme. You should also be aware of everything that your travel insurance covers and get in contact with your travel agent. Should you wish to find out more then visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority or give them a ring at 0844 933037.

The next topic was about people trying to sell their services on the doorstep and what should be done to avoid being conned out of your money. Some of Elizabeth's top tips were:
  • Don't agree to anything immediately. Take their details first.
  • Check their details thoroughly and make sure to get a business name and address.
  • See if they are a liscensed trader on www.direct.gov.uk
  • Ask for references
  • If you are actually looking for a builder/workman then don't just accept the first one you meet, get quotes from a variety of sources
  • Don't ever pay cash up front
  • Only pay once work has been completed
  • Don't be afraid to call the police if you think you've been conned.
  • For more information then call Consumer Direct on 08454040506
Finally Elizabeth covered the subject of renting properties and the problems that can arise if something is wrong with a property. Again, Elizabeth was prepared with list of handy top tips!:
  • You have the right to have the structure of the house in good repair and the heating and water should all work properly
  • You should always check the agreement you have with your landlord
  • Talk with your landlord if their is a problem and put all repair requests in writing (and remember to keep a copy!)
  • Don't just stop paying your rent as this can cause more problems
  • Take advice before instigating legal action
  • If the problem affects your health (such as mould) then you can report the property to the Environmental Health Department.
Finally, if you need any advice then please get in touch with the St. Albans Citizens Advice Bureau on 08444 111 444 (Mon - Fri, 10am - 4pm)

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