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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Good evening i run an agricultural contracting/machinery hire

Resolved Question:

Good evening i run an agricultural contracting/machinery hire company 3 years ago we hired a tractor to an individual who had a minor accident which involved damage to a council street light the individual who hired the tractor was responsible for insuring it whilst on hire but has since packed up and moved away. The council have sent 2/3 letters after £1250 for damage to streetlight directly to me . ive emailed them to explain at least twice and since just ignored them. Suddenly last week the wrote saying if i didnt pay they would take it to small claims court which as far as i was concerned was fine we would contest the claim then another letter today saying they had employed bailiffs to collect the debt on there behalf. Can they do this without taking me to court? any advice?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

Do you have evidence of the hire at the time to the individual please?

Customer:

Thanks for your assistance Joshua yes we will have the invoice for the hire period

Joshua :

Thanks. Have you provided this to the council in order to evidence liability for the accident?

Customer:

I submitted this 3 years ago along with the individuals details

Joshua :

Thanks. The council cannot use bailiffs to collect this debt without a court order. they can appoint a debt collector to try to collect a debt that is claimed and debt collectors are sometimes incorrectly referred to as bailiffs.

Joshua :

private debt collectors are used extensively by councils and private companies to call upon individuals to try to collect debts that are owed but have no more powers than you or I to knock on someone's door and ask that debt is paid. If you refuse, they must go away. If they do not bear way, their behaviour can be treated as harassment under the protection against harassment act which can be a criminal and civil offence

Joshua :

the likely approach to consider taking here is writing to the council advising that you have notified them of the libel individual by providing them with a copy of the hire agreement and deny any liability to the council whatsoever and that you will treat any debt collector that calls upon you given that denial demanding a debt, as harassment on the part of the council

Joshua :

invite them if they consider they have a claim against you to issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court which will be fully defended presumably by you

Joshua :

in the alternative, you will consider further correspondence on the matter besides their confirmation that no debt collector will call upon you to constitute harassment on their part

Joshua :

is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

This is what i thought i m happy enough if they want to take it to court as im sure it would be thrown out but think there clutching at straws now . Should i contact them ? or should i set my bussness solicitor on to them or just leave it?

Joshua :

you could ask your solicitor to become involved but you will not be all to recover any legal fees he charges you and since the matter is simple enough, you can very capably deal with it yourself if you wish. my suspicion is a strongly worded letter in the above terms from you may be sufficient to persuade the council from trying to push you into paying the debt using scare tactics as harassment is a serious allegation and solicitors headed notepaper will not add a great deal but the choice to involve your solicitor is of course entirely yours. I should avoid incurring a significant legal expense however because as above, you will not be able to recover it

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

Thats great Joshua thanks for your advice and assistance have a good evening

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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