Hi, Thank you. My best advice to mitigate future loss and expense is to make a "payment under protest". This way the goods will be released, you can then sue them at a later date to recover the monies on the basis that they had no contractual right to charge it.
DO you believe that it was agreed that warehousing of the goods would be free as a result of you buying the goods?
Hi, Thank you. Do you have any where in writing that says that £5 was inclusive of storage charges?
The alternative is you have proof in this email that you never agreed to pay the monthly where house charge and this cost was built into the purchase price.
That is why I would suggest you just pay the £5k - send it to them as a cheque with a solicitors letter and state it is "Without Prejudice to your rights" and is a payment "under protest" - you will then get the stock back which you can start trading.
You can then sue them to recover this £5k at a later date - the legal fees for such a claim will be far far less than having to obtain an injunction.
* for it
They are exercising a lien on the fact that you have not paid storage correct?
What I suggest you do (again this ideally be in a solicitors letter to give the added gravitas that you have been advised) is put them on notice that your losses have accrued and are accruing daily as a result of their refusal to deliver up the items as agreed.
Before making the payment under protest - given them one opportunity to comply on the basis that you are incurring losses.
Then when you make the payment under protest you can say that you reserve the right to recover from them all losses you have suffered.
When you say "our total money due is £25k" - can you confirm what you are referring to?
Hi, Thank you. On the basis that if you agree to keep the stock in the warehouse - you would have to agree to their new pricing going forward. Therefore as you do not approve of their pricing do you not need to get the stock out the warehouse?
If they have not previously notified you of the charges and the charges were agreed - the charges cannot be applied retrospectively without you agreeing. They can be applied going forward as you will then have an opportunity to accept or reject them.
In relation to the money that is not in dispute that you do owe - that is separate issue - they may be able to use the fact that you do legitimately owe this money to exercise a lien over the stock that belongs to you and is in the warehouse.
Do they actually acknowledge that the stock in the warehouse belongs to you?
Hi, Yes you are correct they do not need a contract to exercise a lien but it would help.
Also in their terms and conditions it is possible that they could limited the right.
If they are exercising a lien then you need to pay them in order to release your property and mitigate your losses.
Otherwise the only way to force them to release your goods is with an injunction.
If you pay what is not in dispute and then pay the £5k "under protest" - then as explained you can seek to recover the £5k at a later date in the county court.
Were all your dealings done by email? I have to go offline briefly but will be back at 12.
I would recommend you go and see a local solicitor - any correspondence with them should come on a solicitors headed paper because otherwise they wont take it seriously. If they know you have been advised and they are receiving letters notifying them of your accruing loss they will have to pay attention.
If they have never served you with terms and conditions and you have never been notified of these excessive fees - then you have evidence to show that you should not be retrospectively bound by them.
Hi, Thank you. Yes that is the point they cannot retrospectively charge fees or unanimously change the terms of your agreement without proving you agreed to the charges.
What they can do is put you on notice that they intend to start charge the fees from a future date and give you an opportunity to accept or reject the new rate. if you reject it then obviously you have to move your things out the ware house.
The problem with this is if they are exercising a lien on the goods because of a previous unpaid bill, then they should not allow their losses to accrue further and they should either return the goods to you and sue you for the money you owe or sell the goods to recover their debt.
They are not allowed to rack up storage fees they have arbitrarily imposed
Hi Thank you.
That is difficult to answer, I would say that they cannot do it until they have at least put you on notice that they intend to sell the goods.
At the moment while the debt is in dispute they would be foolish to sell the goods as they could potentially be liable to you for damages if your dispute is up held in court.