The council left my bins out in the road again today, forcing Mrs Sane to stop in the road and move them before she could park in the drive.
They’re taking the piss now, but I have a cunning plan …
Once again my bins have not been put back at the end of my garden from where they were taken, instead being left at the end of my drive at the edge of the road. My wife had to stop in the road, blocking the way for two cars, while she got out and moved the bins out of the way of the drive so she could park.
A couple of months ago I sent you a fine through the post. That was joke to get your attention and hopefully deal with the problem. You didn’t respond to the fine and you haven’t dealt with the bin men leaving my bins in the road because they can’t be bothered to put them back where they got them from.
The fine was tongue in cheek but on reflection I believe the council may have a case to answer. If I leave my bins in the road you will fine me but you seem to think your rules don’t seem to apply to your own people. I pay you to empty my bins so we have a contract and I think that a clause in our contract allowing you to fine me for leaving my bins in the road but not for me to be able to fine you if you do it is an unfair term.
The Office of Fair Trading defines an unfair contract term as follows:
“A standard term is unfair ‘if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer’– Regulation 5(1). Unfair terms are not enforceable against the consumer.”
There is a significant imbalance in our rights and obligations under the contract we have for you to empty my bins. I have an obligation to leave my bins out at a certain time on a certain day determined by you and at the edge of my property and not on the road or pavement. You, on the other hand, only have an obligation to empty my bins once a fortnight, on a day of your choosing (which may or may not be the day you are supposed to empty them) and are allowed to leave my bins wherever you want without penalty.
The Office of Fair Trading also says the following on exclusion of liability for poor service:
A business that supplies services to consumers accepts certain contractual obligations as a matter of law. In particular, consumers can normally expect services to be carried out to a reasonable standard. That applies not just to the main tasks the supplier agrees to perform, but to everything that is done, or should be done, as part of the transaction.
It is a reasonable assumption that under our contract you will return my bins to the place you got them from and not leave them in the street. By failing to meet such a basic and reasonable level of service with no penalty to yourselves in our contract, that is again an unfair term.
Rather than cancel our contract, I will instead fine you £60 every time you fail to return my bins to where you took them from. This redresses some of the imbalance in our contract.
p.s. I’d quite like an answer this time.