BA waves the white flag over data breach compensation

british airwaysBritish Airways has finally caved in to the class action compensation claim being brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of victims of its 2018 data breach by informing the High Court that it plans to begin discussions over an out of court settlement.

The group litigation order was first granted by the High Court in October 2019, giving legal firms, including SPG Law, Hayes Connor and Your Lawyers, a deadline of January 2021 to attract potential claimants.

Earlier this week, Decision Marketing revealed that SPG Law (now rebranded as PGMBM) has launched a TV blitz under the name of badatabreach.com, designed to drive disgruntled BA customers to sign up at its website.

Now, according to Your Lawyers, BA has contacted the High Court over its settlement plans, and a new deadline to join the Group Litigation Order has been set for March 19 2021.

Your Lawyers director Aman Johal said in a statement: “News that British Airways wants to settle compensation claims, with negotiations set to take place in the first quarter of 2021, is acknowledgement of its wrongdoing in failing to protect customer data.

“This is incredibly positive news for the victims of the breach and for consumer rights in general, but people must act fast to avoid missing out.”

Your Lawyers believes customers could each receive about £6,000 in compensation, and, with 430,000 affected, the law firm claims this could trigger a total payout of up to £3bn, nearly three times the airline’s 2019 operating profits.

However, BA lawyers will have other ideas and are likely to want to keep payouts to a minimum, especially as they managed to hammer down the Information Commissioner’s Office fine from £183m – published in its “notice of intent” in July 2019 – to eventually settle on a penalty of £20m.

Johal added: “We are receiving hundreds of enquires a day as people scramble to meet the coming deadline, and we still receive a lot of enquiries from people who missed the deadline for previous actions we have been involved with and, unfortunately, we have to turn them away.”

He said that although the airline has yet to reveal how it plans to deal with proceedings, settling out of court will show the firm accepts the gravity of the incident.

Johal concluded: “Justice will be served, and the decision will send a strong message to other big corporations that they must take data protection seriously or face the financial and reputational consequences.”

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