Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has had its appeal against a county court judgment in Luton, UK rejected, with the judge telling chairman Dr David Levy that his no-show in the dock over troll fears was unfounded.
In a ruling last week, Senior Circuit Judge Melissa Clarke refused permission for Levy, acting on behalf of RCL, to appeal against the judgment, which ordered RCL to refund aggrieved customer Rob Morton who had paid money on crowd funding site Indiegogo to reserve an RCL-made gaming device in February 2016.
Summarily dismissing RCL's appeal on Wednesday, 7 March, Judge Clarke noted in a written ruling that Levy had "failed to attend the trial....the application is totally without merit and the appellant may not request the decision to refuse permission to appeal to be reconsidered at a hearing."
In court filings where Levy tried to excuse himself for not attending the original county court hearing in Luton in Bedfordshire – north-northwest of London – he had quoted a pseudonymous Twitter account, claiming the operator of it had threatened to have his "cock chopped off".
In fact the tweet in question was part of a surreal conversation about Levy and the court case.
Circuit Judge Clarke ruled: "The appellant's concern for their own safety should not prevent them from attending trial in a court protected by security and there is in any event no evidence they were in threat of physical danger."
The original case
Morton, who had paid RCL via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for one of its promised ZX Spectrum Vega Plus handheld gaming consoles, took RCL to Luton County Court when it failed to deliver the goods after more than a year of broken promises over delivery deadlines. As we exclusively reported from the hearing, District Judge Clarke ordered the company to pay Morton £584, made up of the original £85 discount price for his Vega Plus, legal costs for Morton himself and travel costs for witnesses who attended the hearing.
The judge ruled that an implied contract of sale had been formed between Morton and RCL, and that RCL had breached the contract by failing to deliver the Vega Plus that Morton paid for.
Key to the case was the judge's dismissal of Indiegogo's terms and conditions, which would otherwise have torpedoed Morton's claim, because the crowdfunding website's systems use the word "order" when one gives a project money for a promised product. "Not 'this pledge' but 'this order'," District Judge Clarke said, ruling that this was enough to create a contract of sale.
Since that verdict, Indiegogo has, very unusually, stepped in to limit the damage that RCL's continued failure to deliver is causing to the crowdfunding website's business model. If RCL fails to deliver a product by the end of May, it will receive a knock on the door from debt collectors that Indiegogo has promised to hire.
The Register is aware of at least two more small claims cases that have been filed against RCL. ®
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