We Love The News: Streetwise claims back thousands of pounds while fighting consumer battles for News readers
Despite the pandemic, which put restrictions on the way Richard works, made it harder to contact companies, and saw his Streetwise column drop to once per month, the dogged pensioner has won more than £7,000 in consumer rights battles this year.
Richard, from Gosport, has combined working for The News for 29 years with a long career in trading standards and at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
His Streetwise column has claimed back more than £250,000 in the past seven years.
Along the way, he has dealt with threats from cowboy builders, legal challenges from large firms, ridicule from commenters on social media and the pressures of editorial deadlines, but he keeps on working to help others.
He said: ‘Dodgy deals, shoddy service, disputed bills, holidays from hell, rogue trading - it’s been my privilege over the years to investigate and assist readers who have been at their wit’s end battling with consumer problems they’ve been unable to resolve.
‘Along the way we’ve routinely recovered many thousands of pounds, in refunds, compensation and ex gratia payments.
‘The many messages of thanks I receive from readers are testimony to the value of supporting your local newspaper and providing a platform to be of service to them.’
This year, some of his most notable cases, included Paul Merrick, who moved home after his wife sadly passed away and decided to invest in some new furniture with Anchor Mobility Ltd.
But when he cancelled the order they just pocketed his £1,600 deposit and failed to return his calls, until Richard got involved.
Another case saw Streetwise intervene in a tortuous refund dispute with a cruise company that went bust.
Havant couple Hugh and Maureen Futcher were delighted to get their £1,502 back.
Eastleigh couple Peter and Liz Dawson spent more than a year and £600 unsuccessfully battling through the courts for the return of a £2,619 deposit payment from the notorious no show glazing firm Sage Windows and Doors.
But when they finally asked Streetwise to step in, they were overjoyed when the refund promptly turned up in their bank account just a few days later.
Editor of The News Mark Waldron said: ‘We do what we can to stand up for our readers and Streetwise is a part of that.
‘It is brilliant to have Richard as part of the team as I know he has helped so many people and how much happiness that bring them.
‘I see the letters of thanks they send in after he has helped, often after months of frustration. We continue to give a voice to our readers and help them in any way we can.'
To get in touch with Richard email [email protected]