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British Airways have had to do a complete U-turn after they tried to limit the compensation claim time for victims of its numerous data breaches. The airline announced on the 6th September 2018 that their security systems had been breached by hackers and hundreds of thousands of their customers personal data and card payment details had been stolen.
The airline applied to launch its own class action trying to dictate a restricted claim window. Your Lawyers, a consumer rights law firm, exposed the airlines tactics meaning that British Airways attempt to limit the window for sign-ups failed. Originally the deadline was just 17 weeks, this however has now trebled to 15 months. With the cut-off date is now being the 17 January 2021. The High Court of Justice made the decision as it approved the group litigation order initially called by British Airways but ensured the claimant window was reasonable for the large number of victims.
The airline could have to pay out up to £3 billion, based on the average compensation settlements of £6,000 for each of the approximate 500,000 claimants across the two data breaches in 2018. Only around 7,500 potential victims had actually contacted lawyers for compensation claims at the time of the hearing.
Lawyer Monthly reported that Aman Johal, Director of Your Lawyers, said: “When Your Lawyers first flagged British Airways’ underhand tactics – trying to deny victims compensation from the data breaches – the airline claimed its proposed window did ‘not prevent customers joining the group claim.’ After being held up to media scrutiny, we warned that hundreds of thousands of potentials claimants could miss out on compensation, the airline has shown that it is prepared to climb down from its original stance. It claims this was a ‘negotiation’ rather than a cynical push for a low-ball recruitment period.”
British Airways claimed to have notified over 500,000 customers in September and October 2018, that they may have been subject to data breaches in which their personal information and financial details were compromised. Information that was breached included their names, email addresses, billing addresses and card payment details including their card numbers, expiry dates and in many cases their CVV security codes.
It is believed between April and July of last year 185,000 reward booking customers had their personal and financial details compromised, and a further 380,000 more customers were supposedly notified they may have had their data breaches between August and September from the airline’s app and website.
Financial losses from the breach can also be claimed as well as compensation for the distress caused to the victims. Those affected by the breach could receive up to £16,000 or more in cases where psychological injury is extreme. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has also issued a notice of intention to fine British Airways £183 million over the breach. This sum represents 1.5 per cent of BA’s global turnover in 2017. This is set to be the first penalty imposed after the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation law was introduced. Under the new GDPR if an organisation does not protect customers’ data, they can be fined up to 4 per cent of the annual global revenue.
Mr. Johal continued, “British Airways’ U-turn is a vindication for our efforts to champion consumer rights. However, there is still a great amount of work to do – the airline does not have to contact its victims to let them know about what they stand to gain. I encourage everyone affected to join the class action and ensure they hold BA accountable for any losses.”
If you are one of the 500,000 people affected by the BA data breaches, you should act now before it is too late. If you aren’t sure whether you have been affected check if you were emailed by BritishAirways_GB@fly.ba.com in September 2018, under the subject title ‘Criminal Theft of Customer Data, more information’. Search this title or ‘British Airways’ into your email box, junk/spam folder and deleted items to see whether you have received an email.
After a hearing at the High Court of England and Wales Queen’s Bench Division on Friday 4th October 2019, the final cut-off date was established as the 17th January 2021. If you have been affected you could be entitled to up to £6,000. Contact us today via email at email@example.com or consult our data protection team on 0151 203 1104 for free advice on whether you can pursue a claim against BA under a ‘no-win no-fee’ agreement.
We are asked for advice every day. Day to day we come across interesting cases and one in particular we will share in this blog post. This is a unique case and the specific person will not be named. We will change certain details to ensure discretion is maintained however we think it is important to share this story as many people do not understand the reality of misleading their insurer.
We will call the individual, who contacted us for advice, Mrs Smith. Mrs Smith was involved in a road traffic accident some years ago. As far as she was concerned, she was not at fault for the accident as the other individual (“Mr Jones”) had ran out in front of her vehicle.
Mrs Smith was relieved that the police had attended the scene and taken statements from independent witnesses and to her knowledge they had compiled a police report. Mrs Smith was compliant with the police and was free to leave once her statement was taken.
A couple of years went by and Mrs Smith was contacted by her insurance company. Mrs Smith’s insurance company advised her that Mr Jones was making a personal injury claim against her policy. It transpired that Mr Jones was claiming he was injured as a result of Mrs Smith’s negligence.
Mrs Smith instructed her insurance company to obtain the police report which included vital witness evidence and advised her insurance company not to settle the personal injury claim as she was not at fault. Mrs Smith’s insurance company contacted the police. It transpired the police had lost/destroyed the police report and accompanying witness details.
Mrs Smith’s insurance company advised her it came down to her word against Mr Jones’word and given there was no independent witness evidence it would be more economical to settle Mr Jones’ personal injury claim opposed to taking the case to trial. Mrs Smith disagreed with this opinion and wanted to go to trial. After a short battle, Mrs Smith’s insurance company settled Mr Jones’ personal injury claim. Mrs Smith’s insurance company paid Mr Jones £50,000.00 in damages for his personal injury claim and £45,000.00 in legal costs.
Payment of £95,000.00
Some months later Mrs Smith was contacted by her insurance company and advised that although they had paid Mr Jones the sum of £95,000.00, she was now liable to pay back the insurance company due to a breach of her insurance policy.
Mrs Smith was advised that she had failed to advise her insurer of a previous road traffic conviction which subsequently made her insurance policy void. Mrs Smith was only aware of a spent conviction so did not disclose this to her insurer. Mrs Smith is now being sued by her insurance company for £95,000.
Ultimately if her insurance company obtain a Judgment against her to pay the £95,000.00 this will show on her credit file as a County Court Judgment (“CCJ”) which will affect her ability to obtain credit and the insurance company can enforce that judgment by repossessing her home or any assets she has. This could potentially lead to bankruptcy.
Points to Take from This Blog Post
Some people may mislead their insurance company to pay a lesser premium however when it comes down to a claim, do not be naive, your insurance company will scrutinise the insurance policy conditions. That additional £100.00 or £1000 you pay yearly could save you an unnecessary bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Remember your insurance policy, is exactly that, insurance. The policy is taken out to protect you should a claim be presented, it should not be treated as a formality to get your car on the road.
We strongly recommend any driver to check their policy conditions and make sure they are complied with.
The digital age may be bringing about a change in one of the oldest pieces of legislation we have. Wills have largely been governed by laws from 180 years ago. The Law Commission published a public consultation in July 2017 however setting out possible reforms.
Nearly 60% of the adult population do not have a Will. The Intestacy Rules specify what happens to a person’s property if there is no Will. These rules may be contrary to what a deceased person would have wanted. For example, an unmarried partner can receive nothing.
The Law Commission considers that the law could do more to encourage people to make Wills.
Areas of possible reform
Some of the key areas relate to the following:
A Will currently has to meet strict legal requirements to be valid. For instance, two witnesses not being present when it is signed can make it void. It is proposed that the Courts in England and Wales be granted powers which will enable them to recognise a Will as valid in situations where it may currently not be.
There has been a proposal of electronic Wills to allow Wills prepared on computers and mobile phones to be deemed valid in exceptional circumstances (such as where the person making the Will was suffering from a serious illness).
Currently, anyone over the age of eighteen (in most cases) who has ‘testamentary capacity‘, basically the understanding to make a Will, can arrange their affairs and plan who to leave their assets to. There is a proposal to allow people from the age of 16 and over to make Wills to remove the possibility of their assets passing under the Intestacy Rules if they were to die before the age of 18.
The Law Commission is concerned about vulnerable people making Wills and will more closely review gifts to people in special ‘trust’ relationships such as a doctor, solicitor or carer.
A major way to revoke a Will is to get married. A Will can sometimes be revoked without knowing it though if you marry. The Law Commission believes that there are circumstances where this could be reconsidered.
Marriage or civil partnership;
An increase in the size of your assets and/or they are approaching £325,000;
You no longer own assets left in an existing Will;
New beneficiaries have come along or there has been a pre-decease of a beneficiary in an existing Will.
The public consultation sets out proposals and invites comments from the legal sector by 10th November 2017 with the findings of the public consultation expected in early 2018.
If you have a Will or think you do, it’s always important to review it. If the following apply to you, speak with our Will planning team on 0151 203 1104 and ask about a review.
Wrongful arrest and assault by police –
Stephen Morgan, Liverpool
" Cannot fault this firm, really helped me when I was being ignored and mistreated by the police. I only wanted an apology from the officer involved, which I received following the help of Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors together with a big settlement figure."
Challenging consumer debt client –
David Gardner, Liverpool
" I can’t fault this firm at all. They took the time to clearly explain everything to me from the start and it was never too much effort to answer any questions I had. Best of all, I am now free of several debts which have been looming over me for years. Thank you for all your help!"
Challenging consumer debt client –
Kevin Williams, Uxbridge
" Thanks to Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors I am less stressed and in a far better financial position. They helped me clear over £32,000 worth of debt and I am now able to pay off the remaining debt quicker!"
Unlawful detention by Cambridgeshire Police –
" Thank you so much for everything again that you and your company have done with this matter, wow. Thank you."
Challenging consumer debt client –
Sharon Moss, Dagenham, London
" Having received countless letters over the years saying my debt had been bought by another company, I was left clueless as to who my money was going to. So for the same price I was paying into my debt management plan, this solicitor firm helped me understand and I am now £12,500 closer to being debt free! I can’t thank you enough."
Action against the Metropolitan Police –
Paul Wright, Romford
" Thanks for all your help in representing me in this case, you have really done me proud as a lot of people had their doubts about pursuing this unlawful conduct, but you have proved that it was worth taking action as I was an innocent victim of a police officer who thought he would get me into court several times for something I am innocent of doing, thanks again."
Injured at work –
Matthew Simpson, Liverpool
" Excellent service and stress free. Keep up the good work! "
RTA Client –
Frederick Burman, Hornchurch, Essex
" As I was told at the beginning of my case, you provided a first class service from start to finish. Well done to all concerned! "
Holiday sickness client –
Penelope Carter, Gosport, Hampshire
" A really good solicitors. Very good at helping you to understand. I would definitely use them again. "
Slipped in a shop –
Karen Byrne, Birkenhead, Merseyside
" Very professional firm, kept me updated from the start and organised the necessary rehab to help with my recovery. "
Flight delay –
Lillian Jones, Manchester
" I had a delayed flight and the airline ignored my letters and emails for months, I instructed Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors and the case was settled and paid out within 6 weeks! "
RTA Client –
Pamela Beadline, Newcastle upon Tyne
" Just like to say a huge thanks to Korie Rose for spending time to explain various situations. All his advice showed he is a very knowledgeable individual. "
RTA Client –
Julian Morris, Liverpool
" I have been through other firms before, but with Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors, I could not ask for a better service. "
Talk to one of our solicitors today