Two stories illustrating the variety of cases which get to Court, from the £216 to £300 million.
A woman has sued the Ritz for £108, complaint about ‘hard scones, spilled tea and sandwiches straight from the fridge.’
Janet Wilson booked a £216 afternoon tea at the Ritz for a family celebration. She was astounded to discover that the scones were ‘rock hard’ and tea was spilt. She expected the ‘epitome of high standards’.
The hotel on boasts on its website that the treat is ‘exquisitely presented’ and ‘the finest slice of life’.
She complained and asked for a 50 per cent refund of £108 but the hotel refused – even sending her clips from its CCTV cameras which it said showed that no tea had been spilt.
Now, however, it has been ordered to pay up by a judge after Mrs Wilson took her case to the small claims court.
The story is silent as to whether the Ritz informed Ms Wilson about ADR under the ADR Regulations. It appears that they lost the case on a technicality, as their defence wasn’t pleaded properly, but now have negative publicity in the press. This is the kind of case that we mediate using our Consumer mediation scheme.
At the other end of the spectrum, Noel Edmunds is suing Lloyds Bank for £300 million. Much worse than a spoilt tea at the Ritz, Mr Edmunds alleges that his entertainment company, Unique Group, was destroyed along with hundreds of other small businesses thanks to ‘large-scale industrial fraud’ at HBOS.
Mr Edmonds said he was ‘taken to the brink of emotional annihilation’ after his company was destroyed by the scandal. Lloyds rescued HBOS at the height of the 2008 financial crisis and has set aside £100million for claims.
But the presenter is asking for three times this amount due to the ‘deep distress and public humiliation’ he says he suffered.
In September, the presenter revealed deep-pocketed investors would fund his landmark legal case. He is one of thousands suing the bank.
His claims refer to the £245million loan scam carried out by HBOS employees in Reading, who were jailed earlier this year.
Lloyds has already made more than £10million worth of compensation offers to customers affected by the scandal, which took place between 2003 and 2007.
Six people were jailed for the fraud, which targeted small businesses and forced owners to pay huge fees to a consultancy firm.
The consultants had bribed corrupt bank managers with luxury trips and sex parties.
Speaking frankly earlier this year about how the incident drove him to try to take his own life, he said: ‘Until these criminals took me to the brink of emotional annihilation, I had always felt those who opt out by taking their own lives were selfish and cowardly.
‘But having been cast into that bottomless dark space devoid of logic and reason, I have a much deeper understanding of life without hope. I seek no sympathy and feel no shame in admitting that on the evening of January 18 2005 I attempted to end the overwhelming mental pain which had consumed my whole being.’
Clearly, this is another case which is suitable for Mediation, particularly given the emotional anguish suffered by Mr Edmunds which cannot be helped by the ongoing Legal case. It is understood that Lloyds and Mr Edmunds did mediate their dispute. The Court would expect this to take place in order to try to resolve the case without it going further and costs being incurred. When a mediation fails, what happened during it cannot be referred to in Court.