Friday, 8 November 2013

Stamford Town Council 2: The Reply

Well, we got a reply...

Dear Mr & Mrs Harvey, (Good start... we're not married and my surname is not Harvey)

RE: Complaint – Stamford Christmas Festival 2013

Your complaint received on 31 October 2013 was examined by a complaints panel on Tuesday 05 November and its findings are as follows:


On examining all the paperwork and associated correspondence relating to your complaint, no reference to the alleged free offer made by Alison Hawley Smith could be traced, other than the copy you forwarded from Alison Hawley Smith which was dated 31 October 2013.

Stamford Town Council has identified Alison Hawley Smith’s communication to Reloved Vintage of 13 December 2012 re-stating the responsibilities of all traders participating in the 2012 Christmas Festival with a reminder of the requirement to hold valid insurance.  As per the Terms & Conditions of the (signed) contract no refund should have been made; however it is evident that a full refund of £75 was made by bank transfer on 20 December 2012 by Alison Hawley Smith as an unauthorized ‘goodwill gesture’.  

The delay you experienced in obtaining a response is regrettable but was unavoidable and we wholeheartedly apologise for any inconvenience.  However, such matters must necessarily follow due process, which I am sure you can well appreciate.

Stamford Town Council does not accept any liability in this matter. However, the offer of a 50% discount on the cost of a stall at the 2013 Christmas Festival remains and Stamford Town Council will ensure that a stall is held available for you until 15th November latest should you wish to take up the offer.

I trust that you find the above answers the points raised.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Brian C. Sumner

Mayor of Stamford

Copy to: Cllr Mrs S Sandall, Chairman of Events Committee

So, they've basically said: "Even though you say you were offered a free stall, and the organiser says you were offered a free stall, we don't believe you were offered a free stall."

They also think that taking three weeks to reply to an email, or return a phone call is "unavoidable".

Ladies and gentlemen, Stamford Town Council, where common courtesy is an alien concept.

We have, of course, replied:

we are asking you to re-examine our complaint and come to the only right decision, which is to honour the offer of a free stall. As this appeal process will no doubt take the full 20 days to be concluded, we suggest you make your offer applicable to the 2014 event.
We feel it is pretty clear that the weight of public opinion is on our side and that anyone of fair mind and sound judgement sees that the right, decent and proper action for you to take is to honour the offer of a free stall that was made to us by Ali Hawley-Smith.

We should not have had to go through all of this in order to get what was promised to us. We should not have had to email Ali Hawley-Smith ourselves to ask her for confirmation of the offer of a free stall. You should have done this the very moment, on 11 September 2013, that we asked you about the free stall.
The fact that you still refuse to budge on this and quote only the paperwork you have seen, suggests you think that both Ali and ourselves are lying.
Your heel-digging, back-covering and time-wasting stinks of stubbornness.

We accept your apology for your slow response, but strongly disagree that it was 'unavoidable'. It is simply common courtesy to return phone calls and reply to emails - even if just to keep us updated. We think the council needs to address this problem and make changes to the way it deals with communication to keep more in line with the 21st Century.
Also, my name is Thorpe, not Harvey, as has been abundantly clear throughout our unnecessarily long-winded correspondence.
Jack Thorpe and Laura Harvey

We would really, really, really appreciate your support. You can help us to make sure justice is done. On behalf of all small traders who have to deal with witless, feckless, self-serving councils, please email to show your support.

You can copy and paste the text below if you like:

We fully support Reloved Vintage's appeal against your ridiculous decision to not honour the offer of a free stall at the 2013 Christmas Market. We urge you to make the right decision and give Reloved Vintage a stall, free of charge, at the 2014 Stamford Christmas Market.