Buying an allegedly faulty car – compensation for mental health deterioration

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They demanded in the region of £2000 in compensation for the distress caused.

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One of our clients recently had a court claim issued against them because (they said) the car was not sold in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act.

An element of the claim contained words to the effect that they demanded in the region of £2000 in compensation for the distress caused – resulting in a deterioration in the buyer’s mental health.  Part of our  client’s defence was that if any part of a claim was for damages (compensation) for personal injury (physical, mental or psychological) then the whole claim was subject to compliance with the Pre-Action Protocol on Personal Injury 

And that as the amount sought was over £1000* the case had to be allocated to fast track not to small claims.  *£1000 is the threshold for personal injury claims to be held in the “small claims” track of the county court.  We invited the court to dismiss the whole of the claim because none of the Claimant’s actions prior to issuing the Claim had followed the mandatory Pre-Action protocol.

The court held a preliminary hearing and convinced the Claimant not to pursue the mental health aspect of the claim.  Indeed, one suspects that the Judge was generally unimpressed by the Claimant and encouraged the parties to come to a settlement out of court purely on the issue of the value of the car alone – and nothing else.  The parties agreed to such a settlement there and then, which was endorsed by the court – but not giving the Claimant anything towards the substantial issue fee that the Claimant had paid to issue the claim in the first place. 

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