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Max Lowry
Max Lowry, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1457
Experience:  LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
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I asked my Solicitor to with hold funds after the sale of my

Customer Question

I asked my Solicitor to with hold funds after the sale of my property as I had received a shocking service from the estate agent - I wrote to the Estate Agent and said I wanted to pay a fee that was proportianate to the work they put in- I have been through their complaints procedure to which they have accepted no responsibility and have now said they will initiate court proceedings and will issue a summons on 8th March - I have written to the Ombudsman but will not hear anything from them for a while. What happens if I go to court and try and defend my case - I feel I am being bullied
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Max Lowry replied 4 years ago.

Max Lowry :

Hi, welcome to Just Answer. I will help you with your question.

Customer:

hi

Max Lowry :

You have two options - you can take your chance at court, or you can ask the Court to put a stay on proceedings (pause them) until the ombudsman has ruled on your complaint. This is because the ombudsman will bind the estate agent - and as such, it should give you a defence to any court proceedings if he rules in your favour.

Max Lowry :

Hello!

Customer:

What if he doesn't rule in my favour

Max Lowry :

Then you don't get bound by his decision - you get to have your say in Court too.

Max Lowry :

You get the Court to assess whether the service had been that bad you don't have to pay.

Customer:

I haven't said I wont pay - just that I dont think its fair I pay all of it as I had to do most of the work!

Max Lowry :

Okay - this is a possible defence for you and you can run it at court. Obviously, I don't know enough about the underlying aspects to comment on the specifics, but is their claim over £5,000?

Customer:

No the claim is for £2,200 bu they are now adding interest

Max Lowry :

Okay, so it's the small claims court, so even if you lose, you're not going to be ordered to pay costs etc. Interest is at the Court's discretion, and if they lose, they obviously don't get any at all! If they do succeed, the Court usually awards 4% these days under s.69 of the County Courts Act 1984.

Max Lowry :

But the ombudsman should have ruled by the time you get to a final hearing anyway!

Customer:

OK- so when I get the letter do I reply to the court and explain that I am still in their complaints procedure?

Max Lowry :

Yes, and ask the court to stop the proceedings, as if the ombudsman rules in your favour, you can tell the court that this would bind the agent - no point in having the court award one thing, for the ombudsman to potentially rule another and effectively override the court's judgment.

Max Lowry :

You just need to get the ombudsman to start the process before court proceedings are issued, which you've tried to do anyway.

Customer:

WE sent the letter to the Ombudsman as soon as we got the letter from the estate agent saying they were initiaing court proceedings that week - we have not had a response yet but we only got the MDs final decision last week

Max Lowry :

Thats fine - you've done all you can. You just need to wait now - if proceedings are issued, then you could defend them and for them to be stayed them until the ombudsman rules.

Customer:

Would I get a CCj if they rule in their favour?

Max Lowry :

Only if you didn't pay it within 28 days of the judgment date - if you pay before that, it doesn't get recorded against your name.

Customer:

So really I have nothing to lose and try not to let them bully me?

Max Lowry :

Absolutely ... at worst, you have the interest and the Court fee (which for a £2k case is probably about £130 or so.

Customer:

I have also asked them for all information held on me by their system in accordance with data protection and have not received this - this relates to the lies they have told in written correspondence - must they provide this before summons?

Max Lowry :

If you make a request under the DPA then yes, they must.

Customer:

I did that on 28th Jan and have had nothing

Max Lowry :

You can get information on how to make the request etc. here: http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/data_protection/the_guide/principle_6.aspx

Customer:

Thank you!

Max Lowry :

Anytime - thanks for chatting with me! Please do remember to rate my answer highly!

Customer:

will do

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