Having considered all the available evidence, I do think Lloyds have acted unfairly in this case. I’ve explained why below.
Involvement of PayPal
I appreciate that Lloyds have to first consider whether a S.75 claim is valid by establishing the relevant DCS chain when they receive such a claim. But I don’t think PayPal’s involvement here has broken the relevant chain.
I say this because PayPal have confirmed to our service that when they offer the customer the option of a “guest checkout” they’re acting as a payment processor. This means they’re simply offering a service to the supplier where they facilitate a payment and the customer isn’t required to sign in to their PayPal account for this payment to be successful.
I’ve reviewed Mr Dawson’s PayPal statement from around the time to see if this payment went through his PayPal account in order to eliminate the possibility that he logged in to make the payment. And there’s no transactions to Hi Society around the time the payments were made to them. So I’m satisfied that Mr Dawson didn’t log in to his PayPal account to make the payment and was more likely to have used the guest checkout facility.
We’ve considered as a service the role of payment processors/facilitators, and we’re satisfied that they don’t break the DCS chain, so in this case, I think the evidence supports Mr Dawson in that he does have a valid claim . I’ve gone on to consider the claim and explained my findings on this below.
The S.75 claim
I’ve requested evidence from Mr Dawson of the breach of contract he alleges. He’s shown me images of the boards he purchased that have broken apart. He states this happened soon after purchase. I don’t have an exact date – but I don ‘t think this affects the claim overall. I say this because at this date, we’re over two years down the line since purchase and I’d expect decking boards, which are supposed to be able to endure poor weather, to still be in an acceptable condition. Considering Mr Dawson made his claim two years ago, I think its [sic] likely that had Mr Dawson’s claim been considered by Lloyds as it should have been, his claim would have been successful. There’s enough evidence to show that the boards weren’t fit for purpose and this means the contract has been breached.
Under the rules of S.75, the debtor in this type of contract is able to make a like claim against the creditor as they would a supplier – and I think this claim had it been made in a court of law would likely have been successful . So I think Lloyds are responsible for putting things right for Mr Dawson.
Putting things right
In order to put things right, I think Mr Dawson is entitled to a full refund of the goods provided as I’m satisfied he’s provided enough evidence to show the boards weren’t fit for purpose.
I therefore direct Lloyds to:
- Rework the credit card account to show the payments in question never existed;
- Refund Mr Dawson any payments he’s made towards the debt, along with 8% simple interest from the date of each payment;
- Remove any adverse markers on his credit file; and
- Pay Mr Dawson £100 compensation for the trouble and upset caused, in addition to the £225 already offered (£325 total) – this claim would likely have been resolved two years ago had Lloyds considered the claim when it was brought to them. So I think the delay here has been unnecessary.