Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
could you tell me at your daughter has a formal contract with this lady agreeing the price payable or whether the agreement as to price and so on was agreed verbally or by email for example?
She agreed verbally through a local Horse Rescue Centre to take on the horse (the goat came later). When the horse arrived there was a copy of an invoice from the Rescue Centre to the owner giving her two weeks to pay my daughter the initial amount. After that everything has been done verbally.
Thanks. Do I understand correctly from what you say above that the rescue center invoiced the £1000 on behalf of your daughter? If so why did your daughter not invoice directly?
No, the Rescue Centre only invoiced for the first two weeks - £90 - this invoice was duly paid and the onus then was on my daughter to deal directly with the lady owner.
Thanks. So the subsequent fee of £890 was agreed between your daughter and the lady directly and only verbally. Is that correct?
The total due was more than that but the lady made initial regular payments directly to my daughter. Then she agreed with my daughter that she would pay the balance - a rolling figure dependent on when she would collect the horse and goat. My daughter kept pushing her for a date when she was going to pick them up but the lady was very hard to contact by telephone and was supposedly working away from home so not contactable at home. She finally collected the horse and goat when my daughter told her she had to come and collect them as soon as possible as she no longer had the funds to continue paying their feed and vets bills without any money forthcoming from her.
Thanks. Does your daughter have anything in writing, be it email or text where the total figure owed is discussed or confirmed by the lady?
I typed out the final account listing all payments already made and the amounts still owing together with my daughter's Bank Account details. I wrote on it that the lady agreed to begin regular payments from 12th August and that she hadn't paid anything on collection of the horse and goat. I then got the lady to sign and date it and made a photocopy for our records, giving her the original. With hindsight maybe I should have kept the original and given her the photocopy.
Thanks - that is ideal - as long as you have a copy with her signature on it. I was concerned that whilst your daughter had evidence of payments made, that she may not have any evidence of the overall amount due which may have left the issue open to dispute by the lady but from what you say you have a signed statement which is ideal.
Great - so where do we go from here - Small Claims Court or what? I have seen some online debt collecting agencies but how do I know if they're genuine? Do you offer such a service yourselves maybe.
On that basis your daughter may wish to write to the lady advising that she is concerned despite repeated promises to pay that the balance of £x is still outstanding and unless she receives substantive proposals to repay the same or payment she will have no option but to issue proceedings against her.
If your daughter has text messages postdating the signed statement you have promising payment, your daughter may go on to say that in light of the latest promises to pay, your daughter proposes to request summary judgement against her. summary judgement is a request one can make to a judge when one has conclusive evidence of liability in respect of a debt sufficient so that a judge may consider that the defendant has no reasonable prospect of a defence. such circumstances can be where one has a desire to cheque or an unqualified promise to make payment
your daughter can issue proceedings if necessary online using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. the process is very simple and following the issuing of proceedings, if your daughter wishes to request summary judgement as above, she can do so by writing to the court requesting the same enclosing the evidence of the signed statement and promises of the lady to pay. It is up to a judge whether to grant summary judgement or not. if he refuses, then your daughter can request default judgement after 14 days unless the lady responds with a defence; if she does, the matter will proceed to a hearing which is normally held in the judges office. A solicitor is not required for small claims court claims in the process is very user-friendly
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Yes, I'm wading through the information above - will this involve my daughter in a lot of expense if she should unfortunately lose her claim. We really don't want to be throwing good money after bad but want to take this as far as we can in order to get the money owed to her.
Not at all. Small claims is inexpensive and costs are recoverable if she is successful. You can find he fees here (page 3):http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex050-eng.pdf
If the claim is between £500-1000 the fee for online issue is £60. She can also claim interest on the money owed at 8%
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
No I think you've been most helpful and it gives us a direction to start taking this claim further. Thank you. My last question is that I understand I'm paying a one-off fee for this chat but along the line a page popped up where I had to decide which monthly subscription I wanted. I don't want a monthly subscription, this is purely a one-off. How do I make sure I'm not charged any further amounts please - forgive me if this is outside your control, maybe I have to contact the web-site directly.
I am not able to assist with account issues as I have no access to your account but I can refer the thread to customer services after we have finished who will be able to ensure you have not inadvertently signed up to a monthly subscription. They will be in touch normally I think within a few hours. Would you like me to do so?