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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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My business is using an external warehouse and shipping company

Customer Question

My business is using an external warehouse and shipping company with the only documented contact being, which is part of an agreement to buy stock from a company which was bust
For stock that is sold you will pay us the cost value plus 25% plus £5 per item for picking, removal ikon label. Part of the £5 will make a contribution to the storage.
Once we have recovered £80,000 Stock value then we will release the rest of the stock to Jack And FOX.
I have provided transport prices from our depot to SE, FIN, DK. Will forward NO prices after this mail.
We will raise invoice for the sold stock on despatch which will be payable by return. As suggested Jack and Fox to deposit £5000 up front as a running deposit.
The brothers container.
The receivers have accepted the offer but I am waiting for details of the shipping agent so that we can gets the bills of lading but the costs will be
£2000 for the stock to be paid to FRP
5500 US for the freight.
Bill charges from line £250
Receiving to warehouse £450
Quay rent and demurrage charges for the container. It depends when we get release of the container the cost are £102 per day from The 07.08.
Plus Vat deputy.
This will need to be paid before we commit to taking the container
We have used this company to take in a further 5 containers of stock, and have been charged pick fees of £5 per item for those which have been sent out. We are now in a position where they have said another person in the company, who has now left agreed over the phone that 80% of the stock was to leave the warehouse as it came in, they are now charging us backdate warehouse fee of 2500 a month.. They hold a lot of our assets and won't let us ship it out until our balance is paid, some of which is due and some is this disputed money.
We never signed any contact or had another other documented agreement concerning storage fees for the other containers.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Alex J. : Hi. Thank you for your question and welcome my name is ***** ***** I will assist you. How many months is the company charging you £2500? If you do not get the stock will you suffer a loss?
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Currently 2 months, but it's ongoing. Yes I have over 100,000 in cost price stock with them which they are holding, I'm also getting chargebacks from customers for items which they are refusing to send out.
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : I had to take my instock items off our website which caused our sales to drop
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : It's also worth mentioning that we do owe them money outside of this 5k.. But I'm not paying until this issue is resolved because they wont reliece my stock unless the balance is 0.. And it won't be without these unauthorised fees being paid
Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

DO you believe that it was agreed that warehousing of the goods would be free as a result of you buying the goods?

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : No, I believed the cost would be £5 per item picked which included the warehouse fees, that's what they charged me up until a week ago they added this cost.
Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. Do you have any where in writing that says that £5 was inclusive of storage charges?

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Only the email which i will send again, regarding the other stock which we where buying from them.. Which also mentions a container which we paid for outright, that's also in the email.. The full email is :
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Hi Sophie It was nice to see you the other day. I am pleased that we are to work together in order to sell the old Ikon M Stock. Grace will send you the updated stock list. Not all stock items have a value on them but we can work out a mutually beneficial price for these items. It Was agreed that You will actively sell the stock via your website. For stock that is sold you will pay us the cost value plus 25% plus £5 per item for picking, removal ikon label. Part of the £5 will make a contribution to the storage. Once we have recovered £80,000 Stock value then we will release the rest of the stock to Jack And FOX. I have provided transport prices from our depot to SE, FIN, DK. Will forward NO prices after this mail. We will raise invoice for the sold stock on despatch which will be payable by return. As suggested Jack and Fox to deposit £5000 up front as a running deposit. The brothers container. The receivers have accepted the offer but I am waiting for details of the shipping agent so that we can gets the bills of lading but the costs will be £2000 for the stock to be paid to FRP5500 US for the freight.Bill charges from line £250Receiving to warehouse £450Quay rent and demurrage charges for the container. It depends when we get release of the container the cost are £102 per day from The 07.08.Plus Vat deputy. This will need to be paid before we commit to taking the container Hope all makes sense Best Regards***** *****Ntex logga färgNTEX Limited, Scandinavian Way, Stallingborough, Grimsby, DN41 8DU.
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : They then took in 5 more containers, only without the £2k payment to the liquidation company of ikonm
Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Ok, what about losses regarding us having to take the stock off the website ect
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : What happens if I refuse to pay, our total money due is 25k or something.. Can I dispute the invoice based on that 5k excess until they agree to change it, what rights do they have over my stock with no agreement in place
Alex J. :

* for it

Alex J. :

They are exercising a lien on the fact that you have not paid storage correct?

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

Before making the payment under protest - given them one opportunity to comply on the basis that you are incurring losses.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

When you say "our total money due is £25k" - can you confirm what you are referring to?

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : We owe them £20k which is agreed, the dispute is with a the additional money.. The problem is the guy said he can charge us whatever he wants because it's excess space or something. I don't want to pay for them to stick more money on u justified and we are in the same situation
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Just Incase
Alex J. :

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?

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : I need the stock, but more importantly I need to know what rights they have to hold it if I don't pay.. I clearly want to move my stock out to a new warehouse10:19 AMDo I have the right to demand they let me take the stock out, despite the state of my account10:21 AMWith no agreement in place can they still not hand it over10:21 AMDue to a system error, any messages sent within the past 75 seconds have not been posted. If you leave this window open, these messages will be exchanged as soon as the system recovers.
Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

Do they actually acknowledge that the stock in the warehouse belongs to you?

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : yes ownership is not questioned
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : they don't need a contract to exercise a lean
Alex J. :

Hi, Yes you are correct they do not need a contract to exercise a lien but it would help.

Alex J. :

Also in their terms and conditions it is possible that they could limited the right.

Alex J. :

If they are exercising a lien then you need to pay them in order to release your property and mitigate your losses.

Alex J. :

Otherwise the only way to force them to release your goods is with an injunction.

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : We have never seen any terms and conditions
Alex J. :

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.

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : ok
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Thanks
Alex J. :

Were all your dealings done by email? I have to go offline briefly but will be back at 12.

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Yes, all by email
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : And some face to face
Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Are they require to provide notice to a change of agreement
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : Say if the accept that they wont charge us for previous months, but from today onwards ect
Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

They are not allowed to rack up storage fees they have arbitrarily imposed

JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : They have the right to sell the goods within what time period
JACUSTOMER-8gxhxqtp- : If we are in dispute over the bill, because they have overcharged us, they have the right to just sell the goods?
Alex J. :

Hi Thank you.

Alex J. :

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.

Alex J. :

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.

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