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Am I childish to consider taking a minicab to the small claims court?!

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I've got it in my head that I should take a local minicab firm to the small claims court. Some friends think I'm stupid, others think I should go for it. Perhaps someone on this forum can knock some sense into me?

 

On the 30th July 2018 I called my local minicab firm and booked a cab for 4am the next morning (31st) to take my family to the airport for a holiday. I was told this would cost me £30.00. I live 25 minutes drive from the airport and the flight was scheduled for 0630.

 

At 04.05hrs the next morning with no taxi present I called the cab firm. When the phone was eventually answered I was apologised to and assured that a taxi was on its way and would be with me between 10 and 15 minutes.

 

At 04.20hrs, with no taxi having arrived, I called the minicab firm again. I was told again that the taxi was almost with me but when I pressed the operator for an actual location he admitted the driver was in another area which I know to be at least another 15 minutes drive away, possibly more. (This is not subjective, Google Maps etc shows this to be the case).

 

I felt I was unable to trust the person I was speaking to on the phone seeing as they had already lied to me with the initial claim that the car was almost with me. Worried that I may miss my flight I felt I had no choice but to drive to the airport and use the long stay car park. What should have been a nice gentle beginning to a holiday was a rushed nightmare.

 

If the operator had simply been honest the first time I had spoken to him and admitted no one would be with me for at least half an hour it would have been a lot more helpful & I wouldn't have had to make my last minute decision of driving to the airport; I could have tried to call a competitor or tried my luck with Uber. But I felt I didn’t have time for either.

 

The cost of 8 nights parking at the airport came in at a sizable £239.00!! And I don't really have £239 to throw away lightly. My question is should I take the cab firm to the small claims court to get that money back? My issue is not just that the cab was late but that the operator was lying to me, the combination of which could have meant me missing my flight.

 

Now I’m not completely unreasonable and seeing as my original plan had been to book another cab through the same firm for the journey home on the 8th August, presumably at the cost of another £30.00, I would be willing to accept £179 from them (ie the £239.10 cost of the parking minus the amount I would have paid had the driver turned up).

 

I emailed the cab firm while I was away to express my frustrations and have never received a reply. On return to the UK I sent a letter by recorded delivery (which I can confirm they received) reiterating my complaint and asking for £179.00. I asked them to respond within 14 days. It’s now day 16 and I have heard nothing. So do I take this to the small claims court, something I have never played with before? Or do I give up and just feed my kids bread and rice for the next month?

 

Did I ever receive a text message / anything in writing confirming the taxi I booked? No I didn’t.

 

Did I record the conversations? Of course not. So they may choose to contest my version of events.

 

How can I prove my account? Other than having my wife back me up (probably not a very independent witness) my mobile phone show me calling the cab firm on the 30th July when I booked the taxi. It also shows me calling them at 0405 and at 0420. Why else would I be calling a minicab firm at these times? Why else would I have an airport long stay car parking ticket timed at 0450hrs that same morning? I would like to think that this evidence backs up my account to the standard of ‘balance of probability’.

 

Their website is currently down (I don’t know how long this has been the case) so I cannot see their terms and conditions.

 

Any advice / suggestions to grow up would be much appreciated.

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It sounds like you have been reasonable in deducting the £60 from their Bill.

Imo I think the phone record is enough to prove that you engaged in a contract with them and they didn't fulfil their part.

Time is of essence in cab booking, so they can't say that half hour delay is acceptable, especially for an airport run.

I would carry on taking them to court as the extra expense you'd risk is quite modest.

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Something to also consider is as this is a cab firm they would need an operaters licence from the council so no harm in having a wee chat with the councils licencing dept for cab firms, they may even note this for when it comes time for the cab firm to renew its operators licence.


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IMHO knowing someone very well that has owned and operated private hire firms for more that 45yrs , I've gotta say you don't stand a chance.

 

it wont hurt you to write to the owner of the firm and ask politely if they would be willing to help you out and come to some arrangement.

 

sadly there is no guaranteed cab via private hire


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So I have one person say ‘go for it’ & another saying I don’t have a chance! Love it!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. And cheers for your advice even if i’m still not much clearer.

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well that's what a forum is for

if we all said the same thing it would be just recommended template responses with no need for a discussion.


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The basis of my answer are as follow:

1. You booked a service and they accepted your custom, therefore entering into a contract imo

2. Time is undoubtedly of essence in minicab service, especially to the airport. No need to state it formally at time of booking

3. They didn't keep their part of the contract and you sustained a loss

4. You mitigated your losses and been reasonable in deducting the £60

5. The court fee will be minimal, so very little risk to you

 

Keep in mind that the decision to sue is yours.

If you want to have a chance to recover your losses you need to go ahead and sue them, otherwise you'll have to accept being out of pocket.

Lastly but not less important, there's always a chance to lose in court and waste more money, although I think you would win.

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