There is still a lot of noise out there, but so far very few of you have been taken to court just one as far as I can tell, and I think that one was a bit of an admin screw-up. Arvind Patel trades as Coronation News in Leyton, East London. He says he had a summons notification from Northampton County Court (which is where the start of online small claims are administered). Arvind, as he is entitled, requested that the hearing be held at his local county court. He heard nothing and assumed no news was good news. It wasn't. The court either never received his request or he didn't receive its response. (It didn't help that he moved three doors up during this period.) It was referred to Liverpool County Court for final judgement and the judgement went against him as it would in this undefended situation. He now has a solicitor on the case to try to get it overturned. The machine he was given was second-hand rather than new and had a different serial number on it to the one on the contract. When it broke down and he couldn't get it fixed, he had to buy a replacement machine from another source.
Other interesting developments include Angie Patel from Greenford, Middlesex, who has received a court threat on behalf of Key Financial. She paid up for a year after the machine had stopped working, but she also got a letter from Lanwall before it went into liquidation confirming that it would arrange for a termination with Key Financial. The court has sent her the paperwork for her response and she will use this letter in her defence if the case goes to court.
I've saved the best bit for last. Anjana Patel (Anils Newsagents, Wembley) regularly got letters from Bank of Scotland's Collections & Recoveries over unpaid leasing fees of £5,719. She went to her trading standards office and even though she hadn't had any direct advice from her TSO, she put a note on the bill that the contract was in dispute and had been referred to trading standards.
She has now sent me the latest missive from Bank of Scotland which clearly shows that, as of November 29, 2010, BoS has written off the £5,719 and her closing balance is zero!
If you do receive demands from a debt collector acting on behalf of any of the leasing companies involved with Lanwall, tell them the debt is disputed and that you will not discuss it with them unless they have a court order. They cannot do this without the court notifying you, at which point you can register that you will defend and give your reasons (which, judging from the hundreds who have contacted me, will be plentiful).