Well, the case is being evaluated by the arbitrator, we assume. They do not acknowledge anything (emails, paperwork, etc) which is a tad rude. So we assume the case is in hand. We will see.
I would hope they detail what exactly is claimed, and allow us to defend that. If not, then something is very wrong. I have asked. I got no reply.
But I am left pondering how the outcome can be anything but bad.
1. They could come back and say they should not have taken the claim and give us back our £335+VAT claim fee. That would be the best outcome. Obviously we would invoice them the cost for paper, ink, postage and time in preparing a case file if that is the case, and take them to county court when they do not pay.
2. They could make an award against us for up to £272. I.e. what we have already credited. But if the claimant is claiming less than already given the case should not have been taken. That is clear. Obviously having credited £272 we would not have to pay the claimant, but if the arbitrator should not have taken the case that sounds like we need to take them to county court for our £335+VAT case fee and costs if that happens. After all, if the claim was settled, why did they accept the claim? It would be vexatious at the very least. Of course we will also amend our credit note to the claimant to match
the lower amount of the award so they have to pay us more as well. The
claimant owes us a number of later invoices not involved in the ADR
3. They could make an award for more, well in fact any award. We did nothing wrong (in contract) and so under law and our contract terms we owe nothing. We never guaranteed any delivery date, and anyway we met what they asked for, so there is no liability at all. If they make an award then they have not taken in to account the law and our terms, as they are required to by their terms of reference.
This last one will be interesting as the contract we have with them requires us to adhere to their final decisions made in accordance with the terms of reference, as does the OFCOM general conditions. We cannot appeal the final decision.
But, if the final decision was not made in accordance with the terms of reference, as this would be the case as our terms are clear on limits of liability, then we don't have to accept it or pay. We don't have to appeal it, we simply do not have to pay.
That will be interesting. They would have to take us to court and show they had followed their terms of reference, which would be tricky.
So, overall, it is hard to see what possible outcome there can be to the ADR which does not involve us, and the arbitrators, in the county court!
I'll let you know how it goes!
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