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Kyoto

Help I'm Being Sued!

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I'm being sued for a couple of grand by an old car finance company that I used in 2007.

They are completely trying it on by interpreting one of their ts & cs in a very odd way.

It came in via money claim online. I've responded and it's clear how frivolous their claim is.

Does anyone know what will happen next? Are the courts generally fair and sensible or is it a case of the small guy always loses out?

Legal system sucks how you have to risk £thousands to defend your corner.

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I'm being sued for a couple of grand by an old car finance company that I used in 2007.

They are completely trying it on by interpreting one of their ts & cs in a very odd way.

It came in via money claim online. I've responded and it's clear how frivolous their claim is.

Does anyone know what will happen next? Are the courts generally fair and sensible or is it a case of the small guy always loses out?

Legal system sucks how you have to risk £thousands to defend your corner.

Can you explain the background?  Presumably as an HPCer who clearly has intelligence you haven't take out a loan  then crashed the car and assumed that there was therefore nothing outstanding.  So I am guessing it is some technicality.

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I'm being sued for a couple of grand by an old car finance company that I used in 2007.

They are completely trying it on by interpreting one of their ts & cs in a very odd way.

It came in via money claim online. I've responded and it's clear how frivolous their claim is.

Does anyone know what will happen next? Are the courts generally fair and sensible or is it a case of the small guy always loses out?

Legal system sucks how you have to risk £thousands to defend your corner.

The small claims court doesn't award costs. If you lose you'll just be liable for the claimant's costs of entering the claim and court hearing fee.

Ideally, you want to complete the acknowledgement of service online and then spend some time putting a well thought through defence in.

You also need to apply to have the claim heard in your local court, which you are entitled to do as a private individual when defending a claim. This means they'll be inconvenienced by having to either travel to your local court or incur the unrecoverable cost of employing a local solicitor.

Both of these will probably be enough to deter them from taking it further and incurring the cost of the court hearing fee and the claim will just be automatically struck out.

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The small claims court doesn't award costs. If you lose you'll just be liable for the claimant's costs of entering the claim and court hearing fee.

Ideally, you want to complete the acknowledgement of service online and then spend some time putting a well thought through defence in.

You also need to apply to have the claim heard in your local court, which you are entitled to do as a private individual when defending a claim. This means they'll be inconvenienced by having to either travel to your local court or incur the unrecoverable cost of employing a local solicitor.

Both of these will probably be enough to deter them from taking it further and incurring the cost of the court hearing fee and the claim will just be automatically struck out.

That's got to be the most useful contribution I've read on HPC for a long time.

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Can you explain the background?  Presumably as an HPCer who clearly has intelligence you haven't take out a loan  then crashed the car and assumed that there was therefore nothing outstanding.  So I am guessing it is some technicality.

It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments. They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation of the language. Laughably so but that's not deterring them.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me with a ccj.

Will the amount of time that has passed affect this at all?

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The small claims court doesn't award costs. If you lose you'll just be liable for the claimant's costs of entering the claim and court hearing fee.

Ideally, you want to complete the acknowledgement of service online and then spend some time putting a well thought through defence in.

You also need to apply to have the claim heard in your local court, which you are entitled to do as a private individual when defending a claim. This means they'll be inconvenienced by having to either travel to your local court or incur the unrecoverable cost of employing a local solicitor.

Both of these will probably be enough to deter them from taking it further and incurring the cost of the court hearing fee and the claim will just be automatically struck out.

Thanks very much for this. Will definitely follow this advice!

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It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments. They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me with a ccj.

Will the amount of time that has passed affect this at all?

:blink:

Why not take all the details into a local Lawyer and find out very quickly what the score is ? It will cost you but probably not a huge amount. To get any decent advice on here you would have to provide 100% of details. Even then you will have to get someone who knows what they are talking about to read thorugh it all and help you for free.

Possible - but hoping a little !!

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:blink:

Why not take all the details into a local Lawyer and find out very quickly what the score is ? It will cost you but probably not a huge amount. To get any decent advice on here you would have to provide 100% of details. Even then you will have to get someone who knows what they are talking about to read thorugh it all and help you for free.

Possible - but hoping a little !!

May do that - yes.

I'm not really looking to recount all of the details here. It's a bit boring as it's a three way contract thing between the finance company, insurer, and my company and it's not clear who has agreed what with whom.

Was more looking for experiences of MoneyClaim online to be honest.

I won't be losing that much sleep over it, but definetly going to argue for a while!

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It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments. They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me witha ccj.

Are you in a position to pay the claim if it doesn't go your way in court and judgement is entered against you?

If so provided you pay (within 14 days, or similar) the CCJ should be removed from your credit record - if for some reason it's not you can apply to the court for written evidence the judgement is satisfied and forward it to the ratings agencies and they must remove it.

A general warning, is that although it's something like 14 days to avoid the CCJ being stuck on your credit file. Once the claimant has the judgement, if it's over a certain amount - about £750 I think, they can send it to the high court and then have a high court sheriff (sounds fancy just your general private bailiff firm type scum in reality) to collect it. This can rack up masses of exorbitant bailiffs costs plus the aggro of them sniffing round.

Some firms, like store-card collections companies etc. will just do this as a matter of course because the bailiffs don't charge them anything and earn their money by bullying it out of the hapless defendants.

In summary, you really need to be able to pay immediately if you lose but, it's not correct, many people's assumption, that losing means a wrecked credit record otherwise there'd be no point to the county court system eg two parties have a dispute over who owes what, the court decides and then you pay up accordingly without fear of a credit record blemish.

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May do that - yes.

I'm not really looking to recount all of the details here. It's a bit boring as it's a three way contract thing between the finance company, insurer, and my company and it's not clear who has agreed what with whom.

Was more looking for experiences of MoneyClaim online to be honest.

I won't be losing that much sleep over it, but definetly going to argue for a while!

Does moneysavingexpert have a forum for this sort of stuff ? Don't ever go there but I imagine they have far more people and someone may be able to help a bit more. (Or have experience of Moneyclaim)

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It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments.  They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation of the language. Laughably so but that's not deterring them.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me with a ccj.

Will the amount of time that has passed affect this at all?

Did you have the contract or was it the employer?  If it was a lease car that terminated with the job, I'd assume it was the employer - even if you were paying for the car out of a car allowance then had the whole month been paid then the insurance wouldn't automatically be invalid unless it was self insured by your company.

Sounds like they are fishing.

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Are you in a position to pay the claim if it doesn't go your way in court and judgement is entered against you?

If so provided you pay (within 14 days, or similar) the CCJ should be removed from your credit record - if for some reason it's not you can apply to the court for written evidence the judgement is satisfied and forward it to the ratings agencies and they must remove it.

A general warning, is that although it's something like 14 days to avoid the CCJ being stuck on your credit file. Once the claimant has the judgement, if it's over a certain amount - about £750 I think, they can send it to the high court and then have a high court sheriff (sounds fancy just your general private bailiff firm type scum in reality) to collect it. This can rack up masses of exorbitant bailiffs costs plus the aggro of them sniffing round.

Some firms, like store-card collections companies etc. will just do this as a matter of course because the bailiffs don't charge them anything and earn their money by bullying it out of the hapless defendants.

In summary, you really need to be able to pay immediately if you lose but, it's not correct, many people's assumption, that losing means a wrecked credit record otherwise there'd be no point to the county court system eg two parties have a dispute over who owes what, the court decides and then you pay up accordingly without fear of a credit record blemish.

That's interesting too - thanks very much for both posts.

Yes I will have to stump it up if it goes against me. It would stick in the throat a bit, but a CCJ would be a nightmare in my line of work, so would have to bend over for this one.

Finance products just not worth it, have been cash only for 3 years and would never look at anything like this ever again.

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That's interesting too - thanks very much for both posts.

Yes I will have to stump it up if it goes against me. It would stick in the throat a bit, but a CCJ would be a nightmare in my line of work, so would have to bend over for this one.

Finance products just not worth it, have been cash only for 3 years and would never look at anything like this ever again.

Key points are:

Vital to make sure you lodge your defence before the due date, I would tend to complete acknowledgement of service to give longer to compile a defence then submit the defence a few days before the deadline as this drags things on and might also make the claimant believe you've been taking legal advice. This one is absolutely vital *do not* allow them to obtain a default judgement against you by failing to enter a defence.

Secondly, make sure you apply to have the hearing moved to your local court.

Thirdly, my guess is that, if it goes to court and they don't walk away - I think they will if you look like a fighter who knows the game, the judge will not award the finance firm a year's worth of payments but probably will award them for the additional period you had the vehicle on a pro-rata basis.

Judges probably won't know the ins and outs of car finance contracts so the risk is they tend to be very heavily led solicitors who appear to know their sh1t. Small claims judgements tend to be of the King Solomon commonsense six of one and half a dozen of the other variety and can ignore lease clauses, contracts etc.

Edit to add: The county court claim itself is a bit of a sign of weakness. If I thought I was owed money under a watertight contract/lease I'd serve a statutory demand and then go to the county court to prove the debt if the defendant managed to get the SD set aside.

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Does anyone know what will happen next? Are the courts generally fair and sensible or is it a case of the small guy always loses out?

Only been sued once, by the council last month and the magistrate agreed with me that the council were bang out of order, so the little guy can win.

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It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments. They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation of the language. Laughably so but that's not deterring them.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me with a ccj.

Will the amount of time that has passed affect this at all?

All down to the wording of the contract - sounds a bit tricky in your case. Lease agreements are mind-numbingly precise on bailment, return of goods, balloon payments, exceeding permitted mileage. List is tedious.

If you've received the official claim form for £2k there will be a hearing date for small claims court sent to you when the case is listed. Judges are polite, no nonsense, sympathetic. Hearing is effectively in private, just sitting around a desk in chambers. If you've acted reasonably there shouldn't be a costs order if your defence fails (but court fees have to be covered, £150+).

Once claim form is served on you just follow the written instructions and keep track of the time limits - don't want default judgment because you missed a date. A typed defence attracts more attention and goodwill. Don't ramble, stick to facts. Be polite to everyone. Not a complicated process.

It does a man good to argue his own case. But remain calm - outrage and victimhood will only pop your blood vessels.

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All down to the wording of the contract - sounds a bit tricky in your case. Lease agreements are mind-numbingly precise on bailment, return of goods, balloon payments, exceeding permitted mileage. List is tedious.

I once had one (foolish days of youth) that exceeded the mileage by quite some amount but never heard a thing from them again after they got the car back.

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It's a bit of a long story.

It was a lease car with an insurance policy that said I could give the car back if I left my associated job.

I left the job but didn't give the car back till 3 weeks after I left - this was June 2007.

I haven't heard a thing from them till today when I received the moneyclaim thing asking for almost 1 year of lease payments. They claim I should have given the car back on the day I left work and that by keeping it for three weeks the insurance became invalid.

This may or may not be true, and maybe I made a mistake here, but the contract doesn't mention any of the above unless you take a very odd interpretation of the language. Laughably so but that's not deterring them.

Any advice appreciated, but I'm clearly in the right as per the contract, but I'm just concerned that the court just rubber stamps these things - leaving me with a ccj.

Will the amount of time that has passed affect this at all?

That's a problem for them straight away then. They are supposed to show that they've made efforts to resolve the dispute before getting legal on it. You should have at least have been sent a "letter before action" to tell you that they intend to sue and give you the opportunity to pay up.

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Details please.

Council sent me a summons for non payment of council tax, although they knew I was unemployed when I became liable.

I informed them I was unemployed again to sort out their clerical error but they still insisted on taking me to court.

I demonstrated that I had done everything reasonable to rectify the situation and prevent it going to court but the speed at which the council operates meant it was impossible to do so.

I pointed out I was being sued by an organisation making an assumption about my future liability (council tax is a forward looking tax) despite knowing that because I was unemployed I wouldn't be liable under any circumstances for the amount being claimed.

At no point had I refused to pay any debts, simply refused to pay a fictitious and incorrect sum when the council had not properly established my liability instead relying on bullying and threats.

They cite R v Bristol City Magistrates Court and Bristol City Council ex parte Willsman and Young (1991)

I point out the local government ombudsman says council's shoudn't be abusing their power in this and rule against the council using legal powers as a first resort when it hasn't bothered to establish a person's liability.

They cite R (Williams) v Pontefract Magistrates Court & Wakefield MBC (QBD) 2002

I pull out the results of an FOI request to the local government ombudsman detailing multiple similar case where the LGO has ruled against the council and also point out that the IRRV of which my council is a member condems the practice as an abuse of power.

Magistrate grinning from ear to ear agrees with me, council furious and I'm thinking I should have raised the issue of my £3.50 costs in busfare as the icing on the cake, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.B)

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Council sent me a summons for non payment of council tax, although they knew I was unemployed when I became liable.

I informed them I was unemployed again to sort out their clerical error but they still insisted on taking me to court.

I demonstrated that I had done everything reasonable to rectify the situation and prevent it going to court but the speed at which the council operates meant it was impossible to do so.

I pointed out I was being sued by an organisation making an assumption about my future liability (council tax is a forward looking tax) despite knowing that because I was unemployed I wouldn't be liable under any circumstances for the amount being claimed.

At no point had I refused to pay any debts, simply refused to pay a fictitious and incorrect sum when the council had not properly established my liability instead relying on bullying and threats.

They cite R v Bristol City Magistrates Court and Bristol City Council ex parte Willsman and Young (1991)

I point out the local government ombudsman says council's shoudn't be abusing their power in this and rule against the council using legal powers as a first resort when it hasn't bothered to establish a person's liability.

They cite R (Williams) v Pontefract Magistrates Court & Wakefield MBC (QBD) 2002

I pull out the results of an FOI request to the local government ombudsman detailing multiple similar case where the LGO has ruled against the council and also point out that the IRRV of which my council is a member condems the practice as an abuse of power.

Magistrate grinning from ear to ear agrees with me, council furious and I'm thinking I should have raised the issue of my £3.50 costs in busfare as the icing on the cake, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.B)

What are the rules on council tax liability if you are unemployed?

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