Man Wins 16-Year Battle to Prove a Point Over Laptop Credit Agreement

By Gary Cutlack on at

A long-running battle between Richard Durkin and PC World has finally been resolved, with the electronics chain agreeing to pay £8,000 in compensation over a credit agreement that turned bad. Shame it cost Durkin around £250,000 in legal fees, though.

The problems started back in 1998, when Durkin bought a laptop from PC World, taking out a credit agreement for £1,500 to pay for the hardware. The next day he returned it, asking for a refund as there was no modem in the thing, only to be told it wasn't possible by loan backer HFC Bank, so the only escape route was to default on the loan -- and ruin his credit record.

That kicked off the 16-year, £250,000 legal war, which Durkin thought he'd won in 2008 with a £116,000 settlement, only to see the decision reversed by judges on appeal. Now it's really over, with Durkin pocketing a less impressive £8,000 in damages and the bank deemed to have broken its "duty of care" in the case.

Durkin said: "As a result of the decision, no consumer will have to endure again what I had to put up with -- the loss of the ability to buy a family home because of wrongful blacklisting of me." His legal fees were paid by the Law Society of Scotland, so he's not personally £250k in the hole over a crappy 1990s laptop.