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  • FIRST POST
    • Zadzad
    • By Zadzad 8th Jan 18, 8:27 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Zadzad
    Small claims court.
    • #1
    • 8th Jan 18, 8:27 PM
    Small claims court. 8th Jan 18 at 8:27 PM
    I have commenced small claims action against VGL Services who despite their attempts to bluff are part of viagogo.

    I served papers to the vgl offices through the court and they had until the 8/1 to respond. The claim was for £350 and on the basis of breach of their own terms selling items that did not exist and under the consumer rights act.

    Saturday I received a special delivery letter from a major law firm suggesting that the two companies are not linked and therefore the paperwork was served wrong and advising that I should drop my action.

    There is proof from a number of sources that the companies are linked namely several media articles, a visit by MPs and etc.

    There was also a post under tickets to say someone a month ago had tried the same route - company - address and acts and the case was not defended.
    All of a sudden that person has not posted here or on FB.

    I think the letter is to bully me to drop case.

    If I proceed I know there will be a court fee to pay all refundable if I win.

    My question is IF I was to lose at this stage would I be liable for any defence costs.

    Itís a minefield trying to find the answer.
    I have also tried to find out if there is a central register of small claims judgements to see if the post about a success is true.

    Many thanks for any advice.
Page 1
    • Lomast
    • By Lomast 8th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    • 362 Posts
    • 268 Thanks
    Lomast
    • #2
    • 8th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    Just because they are linked does not make them the same company if it's a ltd company then it is a legal entity in its own right.
    As far as I know there is no central register as unlike higher courts, county court judgements do not set a precident

    • dj1471
    • By dj1471 8th Jan 18, 8:56 PM
    • 1,012 Posts
    • 701 Thanks
    dj1471
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 18, 8:56 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Jan 18, 8:56 PM
    Why are you knowingly claiming against the wrong company?

    You need to claim from the company you contracted with (viagogo AG, in Switzerland). You agreed to the Swiss courts having exclusive jurisdiction as part of the contract. Being "linked" makes no difference at all.

    Yes, the judge could order you to pay costs if they believe you have behaved unreasonably.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 8th Jan 18, 10:50 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #4
    • 8th Jan 18, 10:50 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Jan 18, 10:50 PM
    Companies have different legal personality. You are NOT permitted to claim against other companies simply because they are in the same group of companies or the same owner.

    If your contract is with Viagogo AG, that is who you must sue. Not VGL Services.

    If you have sued the wrong company, you need to withdraw your claim and start again.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 8th Jan 18, 10:52 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #5
    • 8th Jan 18, 10:52 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Jan 18, 10:52 PM
    You need to claim from the company you contracted with (viagogo AG, in Switzerland). You agreed to the Swiss courts having exclusive jurisdiction as part of the contract.
    Originally posted by dj1471
    While that is what Viagogo AG's T&Cs state, it is unlikely to be legally enforceable.

    See https://www.out-law.com/page-11564
    • Zadzad
    • By Zadzad 8th Jan 18, 11:07 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Zadzad
    • #6
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:07 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:07 PM
    Steampowered

    Thank you for the link. I have spent hours researching my position before getting to small claims court. As I said there is evidence that VGL is a subsidiary of V and this was discussed in the media as I previously mentioned. Not just one report but a number. As a subsidiary they are bound by the terms of the country they trade.
    There is action being taken in number of countries against their illegal practices and most they are trading under different company names.

    In tickets there is a posting or similar action. If VGL are not connected surely a letter from their internal legal team
    is sufficient not the bullying of a major law firm to defend £400.
    The question remains as to if someone knows the extent of my liabilities if I was to lose.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 8th Jan 18, 11:33 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #7
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:33 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Jan 18, 11:33 PM
    Steampowered

    Thank you for the link. I have spent hours researching my position before getting to small claims court. As I said there is evidence that VGL is a subsidiary of V and this was discussed in the media as I previously mentioned.
    Originally posted by Zadzad
    It doesn't matter.

    A subsidiary and a parent company are independent companies with separate legal personality.

    You cannot sue a subsidiary under a contract you entered into with its parent. You cannot sue a parent company under a contract you entered into with its subsidiary.

    You need to establish which company your contract was with (this will be stated on your invoice / order confirmation), and sue that company.
    • dj1471
    • By dj1471 9th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    • 1,012 Posts
    • 701 Thanks
    dj1471
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 8:19 AM
    While that is what Viagogo AG's T&Cs state, it is unlikely to be legally enforceable.

    See https://www.out-law.com/page-11564
    Originally posted by steampowered
    The ECJ don't have jurisdiction over Switzerland since they are not a member of the EU.
    • Supersonos
    • By Supersonos 9th Jan 18, 9:31 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    Supersonos
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 9:31 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 9:31 AM
    My question is IF I was to lose at this stage would I be liable for any defence costs.
    Originally posted by Zadzad
    The question remains as to if someone knows the extent of my liabilities if I was to lose.
    Originally posted by Zadzad
    Everyone on here is doing a great job of ignoring your question.

    Claimable costs in the small claims track are very limited. Legal costs cannot be reclaimed, regardless of whether you win or lose.
    Last edited by Supersonos; 09-01-2018 at 9:34 AM.
    • MH1927
    • By MH1927 9th Jan 18, 9:45 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    MH1927
    Thats not strictly true, costs can be awarded against a claimant in SCC if the claim is considered vexatious or unreasonable.

    No one knows how a judge will consider a claim.

    I've heard of a FMOTL'er get hit with £3.5K in costs after suing a council because a traffic warden put a ticket on his car ignoring his "schedule of costs" that was displayed on his car.

    Whilst an extreme example is it reasonable for the company to stand its own costs in this instance?
    • Supersonos
    • By Supersonos 9th Jan 18, 9:49 AM
    • 76 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    Supersonos
    Then I stand corrected. Everything I've ever read about the small claims track is that costs are very limited. Citizen's Advice say:

    "You'll usually have to pay if you instruct a solicitor even if you win your case, so most people don't use solicitors."

    "If you lose, you won't get the court fees back - but you won't usually have to pay any other costs."

    I appreciate it says usually, though.
    • dj1471
    • By dj1471 9th Jan 18, 9:57 AM
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    • 701 Thanks
    dj1471
    Everyone on here is doing a great job of ignoring your question.
    Originally posted by Supersonos
    When someone posts asking how to do something foolish it's generally better to advise them accordingly rather than help them do the foolish thing.

    The OP will be laughed out of court when they present their "evidence" from media reporting as their argument for why a different legal entity is liable for their claim.

    Their only chance of success is if the company they're claiming against decide it's cheaper to pay up rather than defend the claim long enough to get it dismissed.

    The MSE guide sets out what expenses can be awarded:
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/small-claims-court
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 9th Jan 18, 12:04 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
    • 1,936 Thanks
    steampowered
    The ECJ don't have jurisdiction over Switzerland since they are not a member of the EU.
    Originally posted by dj1471
    Switzerland is a member of the EFTA and has signed up to EU law in this area through the Lugano Convention.

    As such the rules of the Brussels Regulation (which is the EU law governing jurisdiction between different national court systems), and the decisions of the ECJ in relation to the same, are incorporated into Swiss law and apply in Switzerland.

    In any event, the statutory protection of unfair terms under English law are mandatory and apply to all UK consumers regardless of the governing law clause in a contract. If the clause giving jurisdiction to the Swiss courts is an unfair term, that term has no legal effect.

    I think the Op could be extremely confident bringing a small claim in the English courts - so long as he sues the correct company. He doesn't need to go to Switzerland.
    Last edited by steampowered; 09-01-2018 at 12:14 PM.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 9th Jan 18, 12:07 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
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    steampowered
    Op, my advice would be to withdraw your current claim.

    Re-issue the claim against the correct company. Even if that happens to be a Swiss company - if they are doing business in the UK they can be served in the UK.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 9th Jan 18, 12:13 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
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    steampowered
    Whilst an extreme example is it reasonable for the company to stand its own costs in this instance?
    Originally posted by MH1927
    It is impossible to comment without knowing the details of exactly why the Defendant's law firm have told the Op to drop the case. The Op would need to give us more details for anyone to say whether the case is vexatious or not.

    If the case is vexatious, then absolutely the Defendant may seek legal costs if it loses.

    If the case is reasonable, then even if the Op ultimately loses it is incredibly unlikely that legal costs would be awarded in small claims track.

    If the Op is knowingly bringing forward a claim against the wrong defendant, I think an argument could be made that it is a vexatious claim.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 9th Jan 18, 12:42 PM
    • 3,743 Posts
    • 3,801 Thanks
    DoaM
    The bar for determining a vexatious litigant seems to be very high. In the parking tickets world there are companies who are serial litigants bringing cases with no hope of success if properly defended yet they continue to bring them ... and they are still not determined (as yet, in any case) as vexatious.

    However a claim against the wrong defendant could be seen as unreasonable, and so extended costs could be awarded by the judge under the CPRs (can't remember which clause) for unreasonable behaviour.
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    • waamo
    • By waamo 9th Jan 18, 1:48 PM
    • 2,236 Posts
    • 2,692 Thanks
    waamo
    Op, my advice would be to withdraw your current claim.

    Re-issue the claim against the correct company. Even if that happens to be a Swiss company - if they are doing business in the UK they can be served in the UK.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    One difficulty people have found is that Viagogo have no UK address. They only physical address for them seems to be Switzerland or the USA. How do people serve papers? Do you simply put the Swiss address and the system sorts it out?
    This space for hire.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 9th Jan 18, 5:00 PM
    • 2,058 Posts
    • 1,936 Thanks
    steampowered
    One difficulty people have found is that Viagogo have no UK address. They only physical address for them seems to be Switzerland or the USA. How do people serve papers? Do you simply put the Swiss address and the system sorts it out?
    Originally posted by waamo
    The rules on service are set out here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part06

    The rules allow you to serve a company at "any place within the jurisdiction where the corporation carries on its activities and which has a real connection with the claim."

    So you don't necessarily need to have a formal registered address mentioned on T&Cs. If you can prove that Viagogo is doing business from an address in the UK, you can serve proceedings against them there. Hopefully your research will be useful for demonstrating this.

    Serving English proceedings to an address outside England & Wales is possible but is a bit more complicated - you would have to serve it (rather than the court) and would need to file a certificate of service.

    More practically speaking, if you do manage to get a CCJ, you would need to identify assets belonging to Viagogo to be able to enforce that judgment. If Viagogo does not have assets in the UK you could have an enforcement problem.

    I am assuming the letter you were written by VGL's lawyers says you should be suing Viagogo, it is difficult to comment without knowing what the letter says.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 9th Jan 18, 6:50 PM
    • 10,182 Posts
    • 5,837 Thanks
    CIS
    Everyone on here is doing a great job of ignoring your question.

    Claimable costs in the small claims track are very limited. Legal costs cannot be reclaimed, regardless of whether you win or lose.
    Originally posted by Supersonos
    No, but as he's acting for himself the litigant in person rates can be claimed at £19p/h (all monies are obviously at the discretion of the court)
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 9th Jan 18, 6:53 PM
    • 10,182 Posts
    • 5,837 Thanks
    CIS
    Viagogo & VGL seem to have a UK office - https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/20/mps-threatened-with-arrest-after-protest-at-viagogo-office

    71 Fenchurch Street is the address given by the MP's in the article.

    It seems that the OP is not the only one having issues between the two companies.
    Last edited by CIS; 09-01-2018 at 6:56 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
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