Feeds

Telling lies to a computer is still lying, rules High Court

Discount scheme deception

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

The chain of causation

Thoms and his company argued that Renault UK's decision to process the orders broke a chain of causation. Judge Seymour endorsed a ruling from 1914 upon which Renault UK relied.

He paraphrased the judgment in that case: "It was not a defence to a person who has committed deceit to say that the fraudulent misrepresentation concerned was made to an agent for the deceived, and the agent knew the truth.

"It does not seem to me that, in relation to matters of dishonesty and its consequences, it is appropriate for the court to adopt any less exacting standards today than those applied... nearly 100 years ago," wrote Judge Seymour.

Thom's personal liability

He also ruled that Thoms could not escape personal liability by hiding behind his limited liability company. "The true issue is whether an individual who has personally made a fraudulent misrepresentation, as Mr Thoms did in completing each of the orders placed by FleetPro with [Renault UK] with the Fleet Code 'BALPA' or '46172', can escape liability on the grounds that he made the misrepresentation on behalf of a company. The answer is negative," he wrote.

However, Thoms' exposure to liability became irrelevant.

Blind to the obvious

Two of Renault UK's own staff had turned a blind eye to the unusually large number of orders – 217 – received through the BALPA scheme in a 10 month period. In contrast, an affinity scheme with Microsoft had generated just five sales in three years.

Judge Seymour wrote: "As it seems to me, the only proper conclusion to draw from these circumstances is that [Renault UK employees] Miss Sample and Mr Wilson did indeed either understand perfectly well how the sales by FleetPro were being achieved... or each closed his or her eyes to what, if they had thought about it for a moment, was blindingly obvious."

However, that was not Renault UK's ultimate downfall. Its problem was that it made money from the deception.

"[Renault UK] made a profit of some sort on every vehicle. Moreover, it appeared that most, if not all, of the vehicles were manufactured to order by [Renault France]," wrote Judge Seymour. "Thus, if the order for a particular vehicle had not been placed, that vehicle would never have been produced and sold at a profit by [Renault UK]. Thus it appeared that, far from suffering a loss as a result of the misrepresentations complained of, [Renault UK] was in fact better off."

He concluded that although, technically, Renault UK had proved that it relied upon fraudulent misrepresentations made by FleetPro and Thoms, it failed to prove any loss. "Consequently this action fails and is dismissed," he wrote.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.