If you want to make a small court claim against a company or individual, you now have the option of doing it online via Money Claim Online. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Money Claim Online?
Money Claim Online, or MCOL, is an alternative way to make a small claim instead of having to issue a civil claim through the County Court system.
You can use the small claims process if you want to get compensation, or a refund, after something has gone wrong with a purchase. Alternatively, you might use it if you have not been paid for a job you have done, have purchased a faulty product or received poor service.
MCOL vs the County Court small claims process
There are several differences between MCOL and issuing a claim in the county courts. These include:
- Cost: MCOL is cheaper than going through the county courts. For small amounts up to £300 you pay £25 for online claims vs £35 for the county court. At the other end of the scale, a claim for over £5,000 but less than £10,000 will cost £455 via the courts or £410 online.
- Time: You have up to six years to make a claim. Money Claim Online tends to be faster than filing paper claims in court so can be useful if the deadline is approaching.
- Claim size: The most you can claim via MCOL is £100,000. Anything above that must be dealt with in the courts.
- Details: If you have a complicated claim you may struggle to file it through MCOL as there is a 1,080-character limit on the box for explaining your claim.
Who can make a claim using MCOL?
To make a claim using Money Claim Online you need to have:
- A UK address
- An email address
- Regular access to the internet
- A valid credit or debit card
- A Government Gateway user ID. You can register for this on the MCOL website.
You must also:
- Be over 18
- Be making a claim for less than £100,000
- Be claiming against no more than two defendants
- Not be eligible for legal aid or support with paying the fees
- Not be claiming compensation for an accident or injury
- Not be banned from making court claims as you have been deemed a ‘vexatious litigant’ (someone who uses the court to harass people).
- Not be planning to issue a joint Warrant of Control (a legal document that allows bailiffs to attend an address for debt collection).
You also cannot use MCOL to make a claim against:
- Anyone under 18
- Someone who lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions
- A government department or agency such as HMRC
- The Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
How to make a claim using MCOL
Before you put in a claim with MCOL you should write to the company or individual in question. Make sure to include your details such as your address; what has happened; what you want them to do about it; and how much money you want.
You should give them a deadline to reply – 14 days is the norm – and tell them you will start court proceedings if you haven’t heard from them after that date.
If you are still unhappy after the deadline has passed you can contact MCOL. To do this, you need to tell MCOL how much you wish to claim, why you believe you are owed the money and a timeline of events.
You need to register with Money Claim Online, then you can start your application by filling out a form giving all the details of your claim.
How to decide how much to claim
You should make a claim to cover the money you want back relating to the problem, or what it would cost you to put the issue right. For example, if you are claiming for faulty workmanship get quotes to find out how much it would cost to put right and that is the amount that you should claim.
You can also claim for interest on the money you are owed. There are details of how to do this on the claim form.
Compensation aims to put you in the same financial position as you would have been in if the person or company had not behaved in a way that led to your complaint. You can’t make a profit.
If you win, you’ll get the cost of the court fees back as well as your claim.
What does it cost to make a claim?
The fee varies depending on how much your claim is for:
|Claim amount||Money Claim Online Fee|
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