My day in court

Yesterday, I had my day in court. Actually, my day in court lasted about six minutes. But ‘day in court’ sounds a lot more impressive. So yesterday, I had my day in court.

It came about after being metaphorically screwed by a drain-unblocking company back in October. For their 3h 30m visit, they felt it appropriate to charge me a staggering £975.

Having previously completed and faxed across a form adorned with my debit card details, I had no recourse with the bank after they’d stung me.

So I filed a claim for £539 with Money Claim Online to cover the disputed amounts, including a premium they charged as a result of their doctoring the completion time after the invoice had been signed. Scum.

Money Claim Online is associated with Northamptonshire County Court and provides a mechanism for getting a claim filed online. They then process the paperwork necessary to invite a defence (which the company filed) before the case is referred to your local court (in my case Wandsworth) for the hearing.

My hearing was scheduled for 10.15 yesterday morning. No one from the defence showed, and after walking into the courtroom at 10.35am, I was out by 10.41am. When I say courtroom, I actually mean a guy’s office laid out in a T-shaped table arrangement, him sitting at the T-bar, with seats either side of the stem allowing the warring parties to face one another to discuss their dispute. For a few moments while readying myself in the sparse, uninviting waiting room, wondering whether any of the fellow occupants represented the defence, I felt like Atticus Finch.

The judge (for that’s what I think he was; no wigs or hammers though) reviewed my case, asked the odd question, and summed up (for my ears only, since beyond his, there were no others in the courtroom/office) by saying that I’d put forward a strong case and judged in my favour.

The company has until 1 July to pay the £589 owed (including the £50 fee that I paid to Wandsworth for the privilege) before the nasty boys are sent in.

All in all, it was a pleasing experience, despite some nerves on Monday night. The end-to-end process took too long, and it was irritating that Money Claim Online was not integrated with the local court system (hence having to pay court fees twice), but all in all, I have few complaints.

Let’s see whether the money comes through. As soon as it does, I’ll name and shame the organisation in question, mainly to warn others of their unscrupulous ways.


One Response to “My day in court”

  1. Niknej on June 27th, 2008 06:36

    Good for you – a job well done! but I did have to Google Atticus Finch. Having rather the relevant book rather a long time ago, he seems to have slipped my mind.

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