Hoover is sued over free flight promotion

A PENSIONER with no legal training took on Hoover yesterday in the first courtroom battle over the free flights promotion which has so far cost the company nearly pounds 30m and the jobs of two of its senior executives.

Sandy Jack, 70, from Methil in Fife, a retired teacher armed only with a copy of the Small Claims Handbook, was seeking damages of pounds 380 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

After buying a dishwasher last year for pounds 350 he had expected to receive air tickets. Yesterday's small claims hearing before Sheriff William Christie was the culmination of four months' work in seeking damages from Hoover for failing to supply the tickets.

In court, Mr Jack argued that after buying the dishwasher he had correctly completed each stage of the offer. This included an application form and a registration form.

A yellow ticket voucher arrived from Hoover outside the time limit promised by the company. Mr Jack, who admitted he had then not completed the voucher form, argued Hoover had broken one of its key rules in the promotion and had therefore failed to uphold its part of the contract.

David Walker, Hoover's solicitor, said that Mr Jack had not fully understood the terms of the offer and that Hoover had made every effort to accommodate him.

Andy Moynihan, a trading standards controller from Strathclyde region, told the court confusion had been orchestrated as part of Hoover's promotion. He said Hoover did not allow any latitude when applicants made mistakes but that when 'the boot was on the other foot, Hoover had been swift in putting it in'.

Sheriff Christie is to deliver a written judgment within 10 days.

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