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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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A computer repair shop lost 8 years worth of my data when I'd

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A computer repair shop lost 8 years worth of my data when I'd asked them to transfer the data from an old PC onto a memory stick. Instead they gave me some other woman's data. They said they could get my old PC back from the re-cyclers and get my data back but this was months ago and all I get from them is excuses and lies.
I have reported them to the Information Commissioner but how do I stand re claiming for all the time and money I've spent chasing up this company, going to CAB for advice, writing letters etc? and can I claim anything for all the lost data? If so, how much?
I can't remember exactly what the data contained - it was all personal. But it included photos of family members now deceased and information from when I was at University. This is obviously very upsetting for me but I am also furious at how this company has strung me along for so long.
I have written to complain to them but their answer was un-satisfactory. They can't tell me how or why my data was lost, what happened to the staff member who did it, what actions they will take in future to stop this happening again or why they have fobbed me off for months with excuses. Extremely poor customer service.
This company has also lost data on a friends' computer so it seems habitual to them to be careless with customer's data. Please advice on how I can proceed. Many thanks,
***** *****
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What has the ICO done so far?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben,The ICO has done very little. They were the ones who advised me to put a letter of complaint in the post to them. They said they will investigate their practises now I have reported them but they can't offer me any advice on how much my data was worth. Once I know this, they have recommended I write another letter to the company (I love my PC) asking for compensation as they are in breach of contract by not fulfilling the agreement between us.
When you are trying to make a claim for something which has not incurred you direct losses and for which no specific value can be attributed, you are in a bit of a legal grey area to be honest. The data is not something which you just went and purchased and can show you paid a specific amount for. Neither has t resulted in direct losses for you, which you can calculate. So it is very much a matter of sentiment and inconvenience and it is very difficult to put a specific value on that. It would depend in the nature of the data, how important it was, etc – in the end only a court can decide what a fair and reasonable amount of compensation would be, but it is not usually very high, unless there were direct losses incurred such as loss of business. What is also important is to actually check if the shop had any exclusions in place to state that they are not responsible if any data is lost – that could legally remove any liability, even if they were negligent in the process. As to time spent chasing this, that can be difficult to claim unfortunately. If you were to make a court claim then some reasonable time for preparation may be claimed but all of the time so far is unlikely to be included. So on the assumption that you get nowhere by trying to deal with them directly, you may wish to consider the small claims court route which is the only option left. You could then let the court decide what is reasonable here and the risks will be relatively low as each side pays their own legal costs so even if you lose you will not be responsible for any legal fees they had incurred. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should you decide to take the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.