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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I am currently receiving intimidating mail from a debt collector

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I am currently receiving intimidating mail from a debt collector claiming that I owe 854 euros. Events leading up to this were as follows. Am I entitled to reject the claim?
1 On 12/08/2014 I bought two market research documents online from Research and Markets (R&M), Dublin. At checkout I paid 854 euros via PayPal using my Barclaycard.
On 12/08/2014 I received an email from PayPal confirming payment:
You authorised a payment of 681.00 GBP to Research and Markets.
Issues with this transaction? You have 180 days from the date of the transaction to open a dispute in the Resolution Centre.
On 12/08/2014 I received an email from Orders Dept (R&M) as follows:
Your order reference number is ***** Your order has been placed and is pending. Due to a recent increase in fraudulent orders coming from free email addresses, Research and Markets requires a work/business email address to prevent any delays in processing your order. Please provide your work/business email address so that we can process your order and if necessary the product can then be delivered to your free email address. Thank you for your prompt assistance in this matter.
On 12/08/2014 I received an email from Claire Bedford (R&M) as follows:
Many thanks for placing your order with Research and Markets. Your order is currently pending, we require you to supply a business or an academic email address. We can arrange dispatch of the report to your personal email if you wish but would still require the business or an academic email for confirmation of the order. Your co-operation on this request will greatly help in expediting dispatch and receipt of your order. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.
On 12/08/2014 I sent an email to Claire Bedford (R&M) as follows:
My business uses *****@******.*** as its emailing address. The company has no other email address. Can you please use this address for mailing my order?
2 On 16/08/2014 I emailed Claire Bedford (R&M Customer Service System) as follows:
On 12 August 2014 I ordered two reports from you, which were to be delivered electronically. The reports have failed to arrive, and I can no longer use them. Can you please cancel the order and refund my PayPal account.
3 On 18/08/2014 Claire Bedford replied as follows:
Many thanks for your order and for your query. Please be advised that your order was never processed as it was placed using a free email address. We contacted you in order to receive your business email address but had not received a reply from you. As per our terms and conditions we are unable to cancel an order once it is placed with us and payment is still outstanding. Kindly provide us with your business or academic email address and we will process your order without delay. Hopefully this information provides some clarification on the matter. Many thanks,
4 On 18/08/2014 I checked transaction status in my PayPal account, and tried to report a problem in the Resolution Centre. But the complaint at the time was refused.
5 On 19/08/2014 I telephoned Barclaycard to ask them to stop payment? They said, ”Telephone back tomorrow, and if the payment is not processed and you have still not received the item, then Barclaycard will intervene.”
6 On 16/10/2014 I received a letter from Moreton Smith Ltd debt collectors acting for R&M to recover an overdue debt for 866.93 euros including interest charges.
In my opinion, mistakes of contract were as follows:
In making the online purchase on 12/08/2014, I relied on PayPal Buyer Protection being a term of contract. In their email to me on 12/08/2014 PayPal stated that I have 180 days from the date of the transaction to open a dispute in the Resolution Centre. It is a mistaken contract if this protection is withdrawn, which has been my experience to date.
R&M failed to deliver the said items to me. R&M argued that I had not given them a correct email address. In fact, I had and said so. R&M argued that I had not paid for the said items. In fact, I had via PayPal using a credit card - reference PayPal ID Transaction: 3XS09381UU025944E
R&M claimed that: “Our terms and conditions state that orders cannot be cancelled once they are placed. We therefore request that you arrange payment immediately so we can have your order sent to you.”
On the contrary, the merchant was properly authorized to access funds to pay for the said items. But the merchant avoided the PayPal payment. The merchant avoided due process to resolve the dispute in the Resolution Centre.
Having bought the said items online, R&M have been unfair not to permit a “cooling off” period. Is this against Consumer Legislation? The merchant avoided displaying product description upfront at the time of purchase. It appears to be overpriced. When the merchant failed to cooperate, I was forced to source similar item from another supplier.
Did you receive the reports and was it a condition that you would receive the reports only if you provided a business email address?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I did not receive the reports. I have just been onto the merchant's website (ref. above) for terms and conditions. I cannot see the condition that I would receive reports only if I provided a business email address. The only dialogue I have had with the merchant are the emails I have sent you. From those emails the merchant insists on being given a business email address.

Thank you.
You should dispute the debt and write back to the debt collector and R&M and inform them that R&M was in breach of contract by failing to provide the reports as contracted,has no valid claim against you and to stop further contact with you or you will see it as harassment.
It is unlikely that they will go to court but even if they do, you may defend any claim on the above grounds.
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