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View Full Version : Anyone experience of the Small Claims Court (UK)


fabs
7th Mar 2013, 15:42
In particular the Money Online aspect. Long story short, ordered some white goods 3 months ago and cancelled the order (24 hours later) when they gave an unacceptably long delivery timeframe of over a month.
Asked for my money back (only 300 odd quid) by phone 4 times, letter twice and received no reply. Only communication with company has been from me. Last letter titled 'Letter prior to Court Action' as per the CAB website went recorded over 2 weeks ago, still no reply.
Can't see any other way I'll get my money, it will cost 35; just wondered if anyone had tried this before and how it went.

Thanks

sitigeltfel
7th Mar 2013, 16:22
Sometimes raising a small claim action is enough to jolt defendants into action. If not, you have to be determined to see it through.

I used small claims in Scotland around 15 years ago to get money from this bitch. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/joyride-s-over-for-daughter-of-merry-widow-as-high-life-cons-land-her-in-prison-1-1438352) I had to attend court three times because the defendant kept claiming she was too sick to appear. I eventually discovered the doctor signing her sick notes was not her GP, but a personal friend (he was later disciplined for that). I eventually got the decree and it took the Sheriff Officers (bailiffs) some time to serve it on her as she was able to see them coming up the driveway of her mansion house. The money was eventually paid, with all the costs, but it was a damned hassle.
I was one of the very few claimants to get any money from her, others were either less tenacious, or unlucky.

Capetonian
7th Mar 2013, 17:10
Go for it.

Against all advice, I sued a tenant who lived in one of my properties for 6 months without paying rent, then ducked off leaving a false name and address. I had her traced, issued a summons through the Money Claim Online process - it takes about half an hour at the most and costs about 80.

I got judgment by default, obtained a writ of execution, and through the HCEO had that enforced. She was forced to pay 70/month, then after a year or so wrote a pathetic letter saying she spent 40 a week on fags and booze, so could only afford to pay 1 a month (50 years to settle the debt!). I wrote back to the enforcement office and said this was derisory and I would not accept less than 50, and she is now paying 35. So not a bad result.

I am getting the money that she tried to defraud me of, and it sends a message that people cannot get away with such behaviour.

radeng
7th Mar 2013, 17:18
Can you not get your 35 as well if you get judgement?

Capot
7th Mar 2013, 17:26
I used it some years ago with success.....I bought a reconditioned diesel engine to replace one with a cracked block. It came with a 3-month guarantee. I paid a reputable garage to remove the old engine and fit the new one. As soon as the new one was run it was apparent that it, too, had a cracked block.

The seller refunded the cost of the engine under the guarantee, and paid for its collection. But he refused to pay the garage's charges for fitting and then removing it.

I made a claim for 100% of the charges through the "small claims court", or rather my solicitor son prepared the papers (very simple statement of case, no legal argument involved) which I filed, with the fee. (The "small claims court" is actually a procedure for small claims in the County Court; it's not a special court for small claims.)

Defendant then chose to have the case moved to near his place (ie SW England to Newcastle). This is a defendant's right and is sometimes used to make it difficult.

Neither I nor son could attend hearing. Defendant argued that if he had chosen the garage to do the work it would have cost far less. Judge said that the defendant must pay for the work, but since I was not there to refute the argument about excess charges, and only because of that, he would award only 70% of the claim, which was a lot more than the defendant offered. If I had been there, I could have produced more evidence that the charge was reasonable for a reputable garage as opposed to a back-street botcher.

Defendant paid the 70% (about 500 I think) in full after threat of bailiff visit.

So the court works well, but you need to be there to get the best out of it.

Because a judgement against a defendant is a Count Court Judgement, and thus goes on the defendant's credit record for ever, there is a strong incentive for a defendant to settle out of court. IMHO you should only do this for the full amount when offered, which it probably will be at the last minute if you have a fair case which the defendant thinks the judge might or will uphold.

Cases which might trigger copy-cat cases, or even class actions unless settled quietly, such as consumer claims against large retailers, airlines etc. are also often settled quietly.

But you must have a good case in law, not just an opinion about what's fair and what's not.

fabs
7th Mar 2013, 17:36
Thanks very much. Have submitted the claim with money online. It automatically added the 35 fee applicable to the claim. I won't be able to attend court if it is defended as off overseas with the job for few months. May send the mother in law (a solicitor and complete dragon too) if it comes to it
Thanks again

Gertrude the Wombat
7th Mar 2013, 19:20
Can you not get your 35 as well if you get judgement?
Yes, I did.

Capetonian
7th Mar 2013, 20:03
Yes, the fee can be included, it is on a sliding scale which is why mine was 70 as my debt was about 1800, and interest can also be included in the amount that the court orders the debtor to pay.

airborne_artist
7th Mar 2013, 20:20
Because a judgement against a defendant is a Count Court Judgement, and thus goes on the defendant's credit record for ever, there is a strong incentive for a defendant to settle out of court.

Not quite true. It's on their credit record for six years or when satisfied it can be marked as such.

A little known fact is that if the County Court judgement is for more than 650 including fees and costs you can have the judgement moved up from the County Court to the Crown Court by paying a fee.

The advantage of this is that Crown Court bailiffs are self-employed (County Court bailiffs are employed by the court). Crown Court bailiffs can and will take goods etc to the value of the judgement for sale at auction, which rarely realises more than 30% of the retail value. Once faced with serious guys with genuine intent I've founds debtors pay up willingly. By then the debt will have at least doubled with costs, perhaps trebled, all of which they have to meet.

I think of it as due punishment ;)

racedo
7th Mar 2013, 20:28
Not quite true. It's on their credit record for six years or when satisfied it can be marked as such.


Only if Debtor marks it as satisfied......................can always take time doing so.

Whirlygig
7th Mar 2013, 21:33
Used it many times through my work ... mostly successfu,l but there are some companies that just don't care whether they have CCJs against their name and so are happy to default. OK, you win your claim but getting the money out of them can result in further cost.

If you've had no reply from the company, it sounds like they're going, or have gone under in which case, you won't see your 300. Sorry.

Cheers

Whirls

fabs
8th Mar 2013, 13:56
I was wondering about the state of the company too. But they ate still trading so here's hoping they'll cough once the papers are served.

Capot
8th Mar 2013, 14:56
Airborne Artist

Not quite true. It's on their credit record for six years or when satisfied it can be marked as such.

Many thanks for putting me right; I wondered whether to check that out, but didn't. You don't get away with much on Pprune....next time I'll check!

And Racedo....!