We have probably all been involved in a dispute at some time in our lives, whether an argument with a neighbour or a disagreement with a service provider who has let us down.
Disputes can be overwhelmingly stressful, particularly if the dispute does not resolve quickly, or as the complainant, we feel that our concerns are not taken seriously.
What starts as a small disagreement can often mushroom into an overwhelming battle, causing untold personal stress and anxiety. We have all experienced the frustration of our complaints falling on deaf ears as we are passed from pillar to post, having phoned somewhere ironically called a ‘Helpline’.
Based on personal experience, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling that you fighting a large faceless corporation which no longer treats you as a valued customer but rather as someone whose concerns are insignificant.
The power of a solicitor’s letter
As a solicitor specialising in dispute resolution, clients frequently tell me that they feel they need the services of a solicitor to ‘fight their corner’ or give them ‘a voice’ which will be heard. I am frequently informed by clients that ‘It is a matter of principle now. Can you just send them a letter….they won’t ignore a letter from a solicitor’.
Sadly, it is a reality that a solicitors’ letter carries more weight. Some years ago, a client approached me feeling completely exasperated by a well know high street organisation. He had a legitimate complaint and had been offered £100 by this service provider as a ‘gesture of goodwill’.
He came to my office for a chat about whether he should accept this token gesture. The offer was derisory, but for him it was not about the monetary compensation offered, but about how he had been treated. He simply wanted a letter sent on his behalf to make them listen to him properly as a ‘matter of principle’. A solicitor’s letter was able to secure compensation of several hundreds of pounds, but more importantly, it secured an unreserved apology which, to him, was the greatest prize of all.
The dilemma facing most clients is that instructing a solicitor who charges an hourly rate to write a letter can be costly. With the fear of costs spiralling out of control, many simply conclude that they ‘cannot afford to fight on a matter of principle’.
It is also often the case that those in our community who are vulnerable or feel unable to make their voice heard are also without the means to meet these costs.
At FM&C solicitors, in recognition that ‘matters of principle’ are important and that having ‘a voice’ brings peace of mind, we offer a fixed and affordably priced ‘letter of principle’ service to represent your views yet avoid costly litigation.
Kerry Wigg is a partner at FM&C specialising in Employment Law. She may be contacted on +44 (0)7454 866 133 or +44 (0)1440 761 200.