Durham-based Print Me It has accused Gloucestershire-based print reseller 2 Print 4 U of failing to repay outstanding debts despite winning a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against the firm.
On 3 July 2012, 2 Print 4 U was ordered by Gloucester and Cheltenham County Court to repay £3,714.64 to Print Me It, a print firm specialising in print jobs for businesses and charities needing low-cost printing.
The sum, comprising damages, interest, costs and witness expenses, was awarded following legal action brought against 2 Print 4 U owner Sean McDonald for outstanding invoices for print work carried out up until May 2011.
Following the hearing a CCJ was issued by the court ordering 2 Print 4 U to repay the full amount and refusing the right to appeal.
However Print Me It managing director Adam Chetter told PrintWeek that despite winning the case McDonald had so far not paid the sum and and attempts by High Court Enforcement officers to seize goods from McDonald's address had proved fruitless.
Chetter said McDonald had now offered to pay a monthly amount of £40 - which would see the debt repaid in around eight years – despite the CCJ specifying that it should be paid immediately.
He added: "This court action was really a last resort because of the costs involved and we even represented ourselves because of the added cost of solicitors. We thought having won the case it would be simple but nothing has happened and it's been about six weeks.
"I don't think I would recommend others trying this because all we have done is lose the money as well as had to pay the court costs. We now have to absorb that as a small firm."
PrintWeek also spoke to two small, family-run print firms based in Worcestershire and Leicester that claim to have had similar experiences with McDonald, allegedly being owed a combined amount of more than £7,000.
One of the companies said it had also instigated legal action and was awaiting a hearing date. However, the owner told PrintWeek that he was doubtful of ever seeing his money again.
"I think we have lost the money but this is more about trying to stop him doing this to others."
Another print company contacted by PrintWeek said that despite his small, family-run business allegedly being owed nearly £4,000, following Chetter’s experience, he was reluctant to take legal action for fear of racking up huge court costs that would "most likely" not be reimbursed.
"We have considered it but to be honest we are going to have to write it off. We want to back Adam by getting this message out there."
McDonald declined to comment.