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It’s not fair!

Our consumer credit expert Paul Tilley has won another great success for a client receiving unfair conduct from a big money lending company, Swift Advances. This case Swift Advances Plc v Lazell Anita Daley was heard in in the County Court at Bow with District Judge Bell and is a good example of how creditors can treat consumers unfairly.

Paul was successful on in representing Ms Daley in several parts, firstly, challenging the terms of the agreement for fairness. There were a number of terms which allowed for the imposing of the late payment and default charges and litigation fees, which Paul argued were unfair within the meaning given by the Unfair Terms in the Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. The Court found in the client’s favour on this point and the Judge commented, at paragraph 61 of the judgment, that: “Considering all these matters, in my judgment, the charge provisions imposed on the account for the years 2006 through to November 2009 are to be regarded as unfair under the Unfair Terms in the Consumer Contract Regulations 1999. They created an imbalance between the parties to the detriment on the consumer who had to pay charges not linked to Swift’s costs of dealing with a customer in default”.

This is a significant ruling especially in light of the fact that many sub-prime lenders charge late payment and default charges along the same lines as Swift.

The second area that Paul was successful on was arguing that the relationship between Swift and the Defendant had been made unfair by Swift’s conduct. In her judgment, the Judge found that Swift in effect overstepped the mark and took steps that went far beyond measured warnings to the Defendant that they were intending to take legal action. Furthermore, despite the Judge finding that the client had written to Swift telling them only to contact her in writing, they continued to contact her by telephone. The Judge commented, at paragraph 84 of the judgment, that: “This behaviour, in my judgment, crosses the boundary and was oppressive and unacceptable”.

Quite clearly the Judge took the view that Swift had engaged in unreasonable practices.

As a consequence of the Judge’s findings, Swift were ordered to remove all of the default charges that had been applied to the account during the period set out in the Judge’s judgment and were ordered to pay compensation to the client for the unfair relationship that had developed.

This is the second high profile case that Paul has dealt with under the provisions of s140A Consumer Credit Act (the unfair relationship provisions). The first case was an equally high profile case called Harrison v Link Financial. We would also like to show our thanks to Thomas Brennan, the Barrister who presented the case to the Court, who had a great deal of involvement which contributed to the great success of this case.

If you feel like you may have a case similar to Ms Daley, or would like to get in touch with Paul, please contact us today on 01273 327272.

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