LUCKLESS removers Alex and Sally Luckes have lost 18 months of their lives and more than £10,000 fighting demands for more than £50,000 from a trade association for a web error.

The married pair, 50 and 46 respectively, as owners of A. Luckes & Son Removals, decided to end their membership with The National Guild of Removers & Storers (NGRS) in June 2009, but inadvertently left the body’s logo on their own website.

NGRS aims to protect consumers by awarding its trademark to member firms which pass its inspections, and when it found its logo still on the Luckes’ website in November 2009 it complained.

Sally said: “We are busy people. Back then we had four very young children, and we did inadvertently leave the logo on.”

She said NGRS demanded £7,800, but settled out of court with a £900 payment from the Luckes.

“I was incensed. This was right in the recession when we were hanging on by our fingernails,” she said.

“It caused us an immense amount of stress because the recession had hit badly. But we thought that was that and forgot all about it.”

The family received a letter after their settlement, with NGRS declaring the matter closed.

But more than three years later, in April 2013, Sally said another letter came through from NGRS’s solicitors, shortly after their son had been in a serious motorcycle collision.

“We pride ourselves on being strong, hard-working, principled people and we couldn’t actually believe it,” she said.

NGRS found the Luckes’ website was once again showing its logo, along with a third-party website,, which also associated A. Luckes with the Guild.

Sally says the website had crashed and when it was restored it showed an older version, which did show the logo.

The Luckes have not admitted liability and refused to pay the £55,000 plus court costs Sally said they were asked for.

The case has affected their lives at home and the time they can spend with their four children, Max, 18, Maddie, 16, Jasper, 10, and Dexter, eight.

“I rang so many people, from Ireland to Scotland, to the Isle of Wight, to Wales and elsewhere,” said Sally, who found other removers had faced similar cases with NGRS.

“I lost my voice in the end. Everyone was in agreement that something needed to be done.We aren’t going through this again, it’s sink or swim. We have to take it all the way. It is absolutely heartbreaking. When you build a business up from nothing to a significant level it affects your home life.

“I didn’t really speak to my children for six months and Alex had to do all the care-giving because I was on the phone. This has stolen 18 months of our life so far and even when we win they’re never going to compensate us.”

Since the copyright infringement was brought to their attention, the Luckes have spent between £10,000 and £15,000 defending themselves.

After three court victories for other firms in similar cases with NGRS, the pair are confident they will win their own battle, but are currently waiting to see if the trade association will push it to the courts.

Acting on behalf of NGRS, solicitors Coyle White Devine said: “So far as NGRS is concerned, the dispute with Mr and Mrs Luckes is nothing more than a commercial dispute, relating to its allegation that they have unlawfully used its intellectual property.

“This is a dispute which should be solely determined by the court, if the parties are unable to reach a settlement.

“Whilst Mr and Mrs Luckes claim to have had no knowledge of their false advertisements, it is inconceivable that they were not aware of the false claims on their website and a lead generating website for, by their own admission, at least 48 weeks.

“NGRS is content for all of these issues and matters to be determined by the court in due course.”