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Raw Deal: Couple in removal wrangle after sale collapses

© SYSTEMJohn and Brenda Humphrey
John and Brenda Humphrey

John and Brenda Humphrey have had a grand start to 2022 after Raw Deal helped them get a refund of more than £1,000 from a removal firm following a house move that fell through.

The couple were due to relocate from Edinburgh to Penicuik, Midlothian, on October 1 last year.

They had booked GMB Removals & Storage for the job after seeing a flyer for the firm.

“The week prior to the move we paid them £1,500,” said John.

However, just hours after paying the bill the couple were dismayed to discover their house purchase had fallen through and that the move was off.

“We were told that structural work on the property did not have the appropriate planning approval and options presented to the sellers to apply for retrospective approval were not acceptable to them,” said John. “We had no option but to withdraw from the sale and seek another property.”

That same day, John phoned GMB to advise that the removal would not take place.

“As an alternative would take time to secure, we requested that our payment be refunded in the short term,” he said. “We realised that cancellation of the contract within seven days of the move would result in GMB retaining 30%, or £450, of the fee and we were willing to accept this.”

The situation became more stressful when the couple then had to pay rent for the people who had bought their own house for a few months until they themselves had time to find a new home.

“Before I retired I had worked in sales all over Britain and our previous five moves had been handled entirely by my employers so we had nothing much to do with organising things,” said John, 70.

“For the first time I was getting a taste of just how stressful moving home could be.”

The couple eventually found short-term accommodation and moved their belongings into storage while they looked for a new home. However, they ran into difficulties when trying to get their money returned from GMB.

“We were due £1,050 and needed the money towards our next move,” said John. “I repeatedly phoned and emailed the company for weeks asking for this to be repaid but got no response.

“I just didn’t know what to do next. I had paid for the removal in full just three hours before being told that the whole thing was off and I had been willing to rebook any rescheduled move with GMB.”

Feeling he was going around in circles, John emailed Raw Deal. After we contacted the company, GMB quickly refunded the £1,050.

It emerged that the relevant GMB branch had been closed temporarily due to staff illness but had since reopened.

GMB said: “This issue has been resolved and was down to really unfortunate circumstances. We have offered our sincere apologies.”

John and Brenda have now found a new house in Edinburgh and are due to move in later this month.

“We can’t thank Raw Deal enough for all the help and support,” said John. “You helped take the sting out of a frustrating situation for us.”