Computacenter and BT are being sued for breach of contract by a computer disposals reseller, which alleges that the parties reneged on a deal to remove IT equipment for the telecoms giant's millennium compliance scheme.
According to a High Court writ, Hampshire reseller Switch Information Technology agreed to remove and resell computer equipment made redundant under BT's Year 2000 compliance contract, Desktop 2000, and its replacement project, Business As Usual.
Switch claimed BT advised it to hire staff and increase its storage capacity to manage the contract, which it did at a cost of more than £120,000 a year, only to discover that the reclaimed equipment was worthless and there was substantially less equipment than agreed.
Switch IT is suing both parties for breach of contract, misrepresentation and unlawful interference with a contract. It is also claiming damages of £800,000 plus.
Switch IT claimed BT had informed it that the Desktop 2000 project would generate 40,000 items for disposal before March 1999 and Business As Usual would generate about 20,000 items each subsequent year.
According to the writ, Switch IT retrieved only 25,000 items under the Desktop 2000 scheme, of which 7,000 were disposed of. Just 15 per cent were complete, in working order and had a resale value, the writ alleged.
The writ also alleged that staff at BT's Northern Ireland office had removed almost all the valuable equipment under an internal information auction, which made the collected equipment worthless. In addition, it claimed that other equipment removed by contractor ICL was not available to Switch IT until it had lost its value.
In a prepared statement, Chris New, director of corporate development at Computacenter, said: "Switch IT is a small sub-contractor to Computacenter for the provision of disposal services to BT. It feels aggrieved with regards to the detail surrounding its obligations. As far as we are aware, it is still contracted to carry out disposal services."
A spokesman for BT said the company would be defending the claims, but declined to comment further.
Switch IT refused to comment.
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