A young soldier who found it nearly impossible to rent a home or obtain credit because of a bogus debt wrongly claimed by a telecommunications company is now facing a battle to claim his compensation.
In May, the Human Rights Review Tribunal ordered Orcon to pay $25,000 to soldier Brett James Taylor and train staff about the company's privacy obligations.
Mr Taylor and his partner Chloe Tasker battled Orcon over a bogus debt for three years and the tribunal chided Orcon for its handling of the young couple's case.
After the Herald reported on the tribunal's decision, Orcon made a public apology, but lawyer Shirley Taylor, Brett's mother, said the firm had made no contact with the family.
Ms Taylor said a bailiff had been employed to recover the money for her son, who was serving in the army.
"Rightly so he's been frustrated. The time for Orcon to appeal expired on the 14th of June."
A spokeswoman for Orcon said the company was waiting on a final costs determination from the tribunal.
"While the public decision ... has been made, the actual final costs haven't been officially confirmed," she said.
"As soon as they have got that all finalised ... they will absolutely honour the payment."
The tribunal awarded Mr Taylor damages of $10,000 for the loss of a benefit. Orcon was also told to pay $15,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.
Costs were reserved - but Ms Taylor said the orders for $25,000 stood regardless of any costs decision, and she was surprised it hadn't been paid.
The tribunal could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mr Taylor told the tribunal he and Ms Tasker, who have a young daughter, found it nearly impossible to rent a home or get credit. The bogus debt also threatened his career.
The soldier said at one point the company's staff mocked him when he asked to speak with a manager. Instead, Orcon instructed Baycorp to recover $208.58 Mr Taylor was accused of owing.
The tribunal said Orcon seemed to have "little awareness" of the information privacy principles at stake. It also said the telco could not plausibly explain a nine-month delay after debt collectors Baycorp asked that the dispute be investigated.
A disputes resolution specialist earlier said the case should serve as a warning to companies.
"Orcon investigated this eventually and found there was nothing owing," said Alan Knowsley, partner at Rainey Collins lawyers. "If they'd done that investigation at the beginning, they would have saved themselves $25,000, plus a lot of legal costs, plus a lot of bad publicity."