Challenging Unfair Charges: Advice Centre Success Stories

When first year student Alarice Himoud and her friends dropped out of a house they’d put their names down for, they were told the fee she paid was not refundable.

Feeling that she had been unfairly charged by the estate agent, and frustrated that she wasn’t being taken seriously, Alarice sought help from our Advice Centre. We looked at her case and discovered the guarantor check that the fee covered never actually took place, so there was definitely strong evidence for at least a partial refund! Alarice also had evidence from the credit-checking company confirming that the estate agent had not performed the service for which has been paid.

We warned Alarice that complaints procedures can take months to get through, but encouraged her to pursue this challenge as she was in the right and this was not fair. We told her that we would be happy to guide and support her, check over her complaints before she submitted them and make sure that due process was followed.

When the estate agent refused to take responsibility following the formal complaint, we explained to Alarice how to escalate her complaint. Last week, four months after her first appointment, Alarice emailed us with the good news - she was to be fully refunded! It took a few emails and a lot of waiting, but justice prevailed!

Alarice says she is happy for us to share her story “so that other students know that they can do something about letting agents and get support.” We encourage you to do the same - share your stories with us and we can offer you the guidance which can then help others too.

What can we help you with?

Our advisors are trained to support you in many areas of advice, covering a lot of the issues that students may face during their time at Royal Holloway. We are happy to offer general wellbeing advice but it’s probably useful to know that we also particularly specialise in private sector housing and academic advice (i.e. academic appeals and disciplinaries).

How do I book an appointment?

If you've already looked through our web pages and you can't find the information you're after, or if you'd prefer to discuss something face-to-face, it's easy to book an appointment: 

  • Pop along to the Union Helpdesk on the first floor of the Students' Union and one of our Helpdesk Assistants will book you in
  • Alternatively, you can call the Helpdesk on 01784 276700
  • Email us at