Barclays defeats claim based on information provided to credit reference agencies

A couple who ran a successful property development business have failed to recover losses from Barclays, which they alleged were suffered as a result of information which Barclays provided to credit reference agencies. The key finding was that there was no liability, as the information provided was accurate, but the court went on to find that the credit crunch and falling property market were likely to have caused loss in any event.

The claim arose from events in 2008 when the Bank of Scotland refused to provide remortgage finance to the claimant, Mrs Gatt, and her husband in respect of their multi-million pound home. This refusal was based on information provided to credit reference agencies by Barclays that Mr Gatt’s account was overdrawn by £260,000 against a credit limit of £1,500. It was not disputed that the account was  overdrawn to that extent, but the Gatts’ case was that the overdraft had been authorised by Barclays. The claim against Barclays for breach of contract, negligence, negligent mis-statement and defamation was on the grounds that Barclays had made a false statement, which had the foreseeable consequence that the Gatts would be unable to remortgage their home to raise finance for their property-development business. That business subsequently collapsed, causing the Gatts to lose their home and other assets, and, in Mr Gatt’s case, resulting in bankruptcy (in the course of the bankruptcy, Barclays bought Mr Gatt’s claim from his Trustee and then dropped it, so that Mrs Gatt continued as sole claimant)…

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