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Did you know that that you can be the winner in suing someone, but end up losing tens of thousands of pounds – and more – in costs?
In a recent case, A dad whose credit rating was "annihilated" over a laptop he bought in 1998 has won an epic legal fight to clear his name, as reported by The Register.:
“ Richard Durkin's 15-year nightmare began when he walked into a PC World store in Aberdeen, Scotland, to buy a £1,449 notebook.
He specifically asked for a computer with a modem. A sales assistant picked out a model for him, although was unsure its exact specification, and said that if the machine didn't include a modem, he could bring it back the next day and return it. Durkin paid a £50 deposit, signed a credit agreement for the laptop, and went home.
Inevitably, the laptop didn't have a modem. And when he took the computer back first thing the next morning, the store manager refused to accept the return, locking Durkin into the credit agreement.
Durkin, an offshore construction surveyor, successfully sued PC World to get his deposit back, but the credit agreement was still in place. Even though he had given the computer to the store, HSBC-owned HFC Bank, the lender in the disputed agreement, demanded payment for the unwanted machine. When Durkin refused to cough up for a laptop he didn't ask for, he had a black mark put against his credit score, which other lenders and agencies could see.
The father of two took his legal fight to remove the blacklisting all the way to the UK Supreme Court in London – which ruled he was right to cancel the credit agreement all along.
Durkin was hoping for a £250,000 payout given that HFC told credit agencies he had defaulted on the laptop agreement, a move he said threw him in "financial jail" and cocked up his plans to put down a deposit on a house in Spain in 2003. However, the Supreme Court instead could only award him £8,000 due to a legal technicality. It is likely his lawyers will push for HFC Bank and PC World to cover the six-figure legal costs of the case.”
As reported by The Guardian: "Although I am disappointed that the supreme court was unable to restore to me the full damages awarded by the sheriff – even though it was clear they were sympathetic to my position – this decision is a great victory for all consumers, and I am proud to have been the driving force behind it," Durkin, 44, told The Guardian after the ruling.
"Taking a case to any court is a huge stress, but taking it to the highest court in the land with all the risks that go with it was the most stressful thing that anyone could voluntarily put themselves through.
"But sometimes you have to do what is right and not what is easy. This case was not all about me – it was about principle for all consumers. I always felt that PC World and HFC Bank had acted disgracefully towards me, and I have now been proved right."
A Pyrrhic victory indeed, or “bitter sweet”
See The Guardian: