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ATR v The Guild

Mar 28, 2012
Shortly after writing the story on page 30 Simon Jones from ATR Removals contacted The Mover. He wanted to alert us to what he felt were punitive damages he was ordered to pay The Guild after failing to remove the badge from his website.

He admitted that he had inadvertently left The Guild logo on his website.  In 2010 he said he was “bombarded with letters from a solicitors called Coyle White Devine of Amersham which I tried to read but were full of legal jargon so I just assumed they were a warning not to do it again and so I binned them.

Finally it sunk in that it was serious when one letter quite obviously stated I had to attend the Patients Court in London”. Simon said that the judge awarded The Guild around £9,000 damages plus costs. “This was then made into a provisional charge on my property even though I agreed to pay £100 a month as that is all I can realistically afford due to tough economical times. My company is a small local company, we have operator licences for 2 vehicles. I came out of Bankruptcy in Jan 2010 and for 2 years have been trying to build a life and I can’t believe the position I find myself in after a very small mistake.”

In response, Martin Rose from The Guild commented as follows: “Mr Jones (trading as ATR), was a member of NGRS but failed to pay all of the subscription instalments when in membership and still owes NGRS from that period. To add insult to injury it transpired some time after his membership period ended, he was still purporting to be a member of NGRS in his advertising in the Thomson Local and on his website.”

“Mr Jones was sent a pre-action letter in April 2010. Mr Jones failed and refused to deal with the issues or take legal advice. Mr Jones failed to deal with the court proceedings and judgment was entered against him, with the damages to be assessed by the court at a hearing. Mr Jones continued to ignore the majority of the solicitor’s letters and failed to comply with the court order. At the damages hearing on 20 January, 2011 which Mr Jones attended to “have his day”, he was ordered to pay damages of £9,673 and the costs of NGRS to be assessed by the court if not agreed. Mr Jones then failed to agree the amount of costs and failed to put in any evidence to dispute the costs claimed. On 20 July, 2011 Mr Jones was ordered to pay costs in the total sum of £9,024. As of today’s date Mr Jones has paid the total sum of £840 against his liability and he's complaining!”

Martin also said that all transgressors are sent a detailed pre-action letter by NGRS’s solicitors detailing the nature of the allegations and inviting them to put forward settlement proposals. Further still, the pre-action letter advises them to take independent legal advice. “Thankfully only a small minority of transgressors ignore the solicitor’s correspondence. However, where it is ignored NGRS is left with a stark choice; do nothing, and risk damaging the brand and the legitimate membership or pursue the matter via the courts. I should stress that the latter is always the option of last resort. In fact, from memory only 7 cases have actually been determined by a Judge. It is also worth noting that of those 7, none of the defendants have paid their damages and costs liabilities but NGRS has paid the solicitor’s, barristers and court costs, etc. In the event of the defendant defaulting, NGRS still has to meet all of the legal costs from its own funds. Clearly this type of litigation is neither a ‘cash cow’ nor an opportunity for NGRS to make a bit of ‘easy money’. I would appreciate you making this clear to your readers. Litigation for us is a last resort but absolutely necessary if we are to protect the moving public from bogus ‘Guild’ removers, protect the NGRS brand and provide value and security to NGRS members.”

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