I was first contacted by Pawan Kumar in early February 2017. He had taken on a photocopier from Ezeecopy the previous June for his store, Woodman News in Benfleet, Essex. He apparently signed an agreement, but says he was told it was for a direct debit so that the company could take its cut from the number of copies done. Pawan says that at no point did the rep mention that this was a hire agreement, or that the contract was for several years, or that there was a minimum transaction level cost attached.

He says: “I was not left with any copy documentation and was told that this would be sent by post. As this did not occur, there was no opportunity to read relevant paperwork, or for any statutory cooling- off period.”

He said he had a video recording of the meeting (although the footage had been overwritten and he had to settle for a report from a CCTV engineer to confirm this).

He later discovered that the low cost for the first three months was to allow him to build up copy volume, but this did not happen and he was subsequently charged £60 a month from October through to December, at which point he cancelled the direct debit.

Ezeecopy then sent him a bill for £3,824 for termination. This was for a five-year contract that Pawan would never have agreed to because he knew he wouldn’t be there that long - he has since sold the store.

I had copies of the communications between Pawan and the company and Ezeecopy’s solicitors Brabners LLP. It’s quite a thick file.

I contacted Ezeecopy at the time and got a long email refuting all of Pawan’s claims (including the one where Pawan said the rep was only in the shop for less than half-an-hour and the whole discussion took place while he was also serving customers, hardly enough time to take in the terms and conditions). Ezeecopy’s rep says it took place out the back while staff took over. Pawan said he had no staff, a well-known customer kept an eye only while Pawan provided bank details and signed on the dotted.

The email to me ended as follows: “Ezeecopy put you on notice that anything that is printed we reserve the right to refer to our solicitors Brabners LLP if we believe it to be untrue or of a libellous nature.”

Upshot: Ezeecopy took Pawan to court. I decided to wait for the outcome before going into print.

The date was set for mid-September but was postponed until December because the County Court at Southend On Sea was very busy and short of staff.

Pawan didn’t take a solicitor, but he took statements from other retailers who had had similar experiences. Afterwards he sent me all the paperwork, including the 21-page witness statements submitted by Ezeecopy.

The hearing took two-and-a-half hours, then the claim was dismissed and Pawan won. The judge said she would not allow an appeal.

Meanwhile, others have been getting in touch with similar complaints.