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Sunday 22 April 2018

Woman buys wine, leaves it on shelf in different Dublin shop - and then sues for €20k when asked if she paid for it

Stock image Photo: Bloomberg
Stock image Photo: Bloomberg
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A WOMAN settled a defamation claim for €20,000 after she bought a bottle of wine in a Dublin supermarket, walked down the road to a different shop, left the wine on a shelf and was asked by a staff member if she paid for it.

The woman purchased something in the shop and as she was leaving, she picked up the bottle of wine which she had bought in the supermarket.

The wine was left on a shelf in the off-licence section of the store.

A staff member, assuming it belonged to their store, then asked if she had paid for the wine.

The woman then claimed for defamation and argued she was being accused of stealing.

The case was recently settled outside of court as it was argued the shopkeeper should have seen the woman had left the wine on the shelf and that it was hers.

This case is an example of the extreme challenges facing small businesses, according to Jonathan Hehir, managing director at Insuremyhouse.ie.

The leading broker has warned that retailers and pubs are facing closure during 2018 because insurance costs are being driven up by compensation claims.

Mr Hehir also said that he has seen an increase in spurious claims against clients.

He said: “It is a diving issue and a lying issue, and by that I mean people literally diving on the floor or pretending to trip over something, or pretending to steal items from the store in order to accuse the shop assistant or owner of defamation when questioned.

“Unfortunately, 2018 could be pretty bleak for the affected businesses unless the Government act fast and introduce harsher penalties and jail time for these unscrupulous fraudsters,” he added.

Independent.ie previously revealed how youths who were refused service after being accused of stealing from shops in Dublin city centre have been issuing solicitors letters threatening to sue for defamation.

In one of the letters, obtained by Independent.ie, the teenager claims the shop owner accused him of previously stealing from the shop and refused to serve him.

The shop owner said he refused to serve the teenager as he claims he has previously stolen chocolate bars from the shop.

The letter outlined how the teenager intended to sue for defamation unless he received proposals for compensation within seven days – due to being subjected to “defamation, embarrassment and humiliation”.

No proceedings were ever issued.

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