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Landmark laptop case may pave the way for other consumers

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A landmark case may assist consumers seeking to challenge their credit reference. It seems to be the first case the Supreme Court has heard in relation to disputed credit references.

Our consumer credit experts can advise you on this issue from £49.95 for half an hour.

If a bank, lender or utility company considers you have missed a payment they often put a note on your credit reference. This is called an adverse credit reference or sometimes known as a black mark.

You may not know about this until years later. That was what happened to Mr Durkin. He bought a laptop. It didn't match the description given. He sued in the small claims court and his deposit was returned. However the finance company said the loan he used to buy the laptop was in default and put an adverse credit reference against his name.

The black mark on Mr Durkin's credit reference stopped him from buying a house some years later in Spain. He sued at his local court in Scotland. He has just won the case in the Supreme Court and has been awarded £8,000.

My advice is that consumers should urgently check their credit reference. If there are unwelcome surprises on there you should raise a complaint to the lender or utility company who added the black mark. It may be that you are entitled to compensation. You should seek advice from a specialist immediately as time limits may be short. 

By Andrew Leakey, Partner and consumer law specialist