There is nothing stopping them from using your details they have, like name for example, to search online for who you are. If I had any personal details about you myself I could do that too. They cannot share your data with others but for their own benefit they can search around if they wanted to.
In term of taking this further, what they have said is more or less correct. You will be expected to submit a claim in the Small Claims Court to pursue them for compensation for the money paid or any other losses. Do not worry about defamation as long as you stick to the facts.
If a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:
1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 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 them for the compensation in question. 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 www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.
As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.
Does this answer your query?