One of the forecourt operators who contacted me about Deal Direct/Our Price was Bernard Knowles who runs Forge Garage in North Yorkshire.

He had his fingers burned in dealing with Deal Direct and issued a small claims court summons over the internet. The company, which had not been responding to phone calls, responded pretty quickly to this but told Bernard that even if it went to court, he wouldn’t get anything because Deal Direct had no money, just a warehouse full of old DVDs.

So Bernard wrote off the few hundred quid he was owed. However, I thought some of you might find it useful to know that you can pursue debts in this fashion. Log onto either or The two sites are interlinked.

Money Claim Online (MCOL)is the court service’s first step in bringing court users an internet-based service. It won’t be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim – for that you would need to refer to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Lawyers for Your Business (020 7405 9075) both of whom offer free legal advice to small businesses.

You can claim via MCOL for a fixed amount of money that is less than £100,000 provided the person(s) you are suing is in England or Wales. You also must have a valid credit or debit card.