A holidaymaker who threatened to take taxi bosses to court after he had to drive himself to the airport, is now being sued by the company.
The Echo told in December that customer Phillip Woods, 56, wanted Andrews Taxis to reimburse his parking costs after he paid £160 to leave his car at Southend Airport - just three miles away from his home - for a week.
As Mr Woods did not book a cab in advance, Andrews Taxis, based in Chase Road, Southend, said his journey was subject to traffic levels and other potential delays. He eventually dropped the claim - saying ill health prevented him from continuing.
The firm has now taken the decision to counter-sue for costs, believing that evidence stacked against Mr Woods was the real reason behind his U-turn.
John Watson, MD of the company, said: “Once all the evidence was sorted out, including voice recordings and the GPS tracking logs, Mr Woods decided to stop the claim.
“We can only assume that, in the face of overwhelming evidence con-
tradicting his version of events, it wasn’t how he first thought of it. Otherwise, why would he decide to drop the case? He clearly didn’t realise that everything is logged here.
“Now what should have been a £10 taxi fare is going to cost him hundreds of pounds as we are counter-suing for costs.”
Mr Woods insisted a call handler told him a taxi would take just 15 minutes to reach him, but when the story first broke the firm denied this was true.
Mr Watson added: “My advice to anyone travelling to time-critical destinations is to always pre-book a taxi. If they don’t, they risk traffic issues and the roads being busier than expected. Get yourself organised and don’t blame everyone else if you don’t.
“The claim certainly caused us a lot of inconvenience and has been costly. But I don’t think it has actually affected our business’s reputation. We haven’t noticed any loss of custom.”
Mr Woods told the Echo he was suffering from a number of health issues that meant the claim was “the last thing” on his mind.
After being informed of his response, Mr Watson said: “I am sorry to hear of Mr Woods’ ill health and I will take this into consideration.”