Warning to all! You must follow the orders of the court!

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Had the consumer been reasonable, this issue could have been resolved without going to court.

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This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

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As a trade association, Lawgistics is very focussed on keeping our members out of court. Members can call our legal helpline to discuss any bubbling issues and have access to a full casework service when a reasonable agreement cannot be reached with a consumer. For various reasons, including when a trader has repeatedly ignored a consumer’s problem, a matter may end up in court. At that stage, the casework becomes litigated, meaning that only properly authorised and regulated people can work on those cases.

For such occasions, members can opt to use our associate company, Lawgistics Litigation for the Motor Trade CIC. This company was specifically set up to provide our motor trade community with vastly subsidised litigation support, saving our members thousands of pounds in legal fees.

In a recent case, a consumer purchased a car for £1.9k. They reported an issue, and our member offered a £500 goodwill payment. The consumer didn’t want to accept this, so to conclude the situation, our member offered them a full refund. However, the consumer decided to go ahead with what they claimed was a £1.7k repair. Clearly, a disproportionate amount to spend!

The consumer entered a court claim for the £1.7k repair bill and decided to add just over £3k for loss of earnings, inconvenience, emotional distress, etc.

We assisted our member in defending this claim. However, even after seeing our robust defence, the consumer decided to carry on with their claim. The matter went to a hearing where the consumer tried to produce a 100-page document that had not been previously sent to us or our member. At the hearing, our legal representative argued the consumer’s large document should not be entered into evidence as they had missed the submission deadline set by the court. Sometimes, judges can be soft on consumers and will allow late submission of evidence, but not on this occasion. The judge agreed with our representative and did not allow the consumer to use this last-minute evidence. The judge then dismissed the entire claim saving our member approximately £5k.

Had the consumer been reasonable, this issue could have been resolved without going to court. Further, once the matter was in the court process, if the consumer had followed the order of the court and submitted their evidence on time, they may have won an amount towards their repair costs.  

On this occasion, the consumer was rightly penalised for not following an order of the court. However, as a reminder to all parties, if the court orders you to do something by a certain date, you must do it. Otherwise, you may jeopardise your case.

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