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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46794
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I finished work end of May and received an email from my

Customer Question

I finished work end of May and received an email from my previous employer asking me to settle an issue about charging them substantial amount of money he claims I was not entitled to. My employer now "formally asks me what I would suggest we do to resolve this issue?". I can see that there was a problem with this client and I stopped billing them as soon as we all (3 people) became aware that this was not running the way it should have. Can he ask me now to pay back the money? What should I do?
Thank you
Gerhard
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello so to clarify were you paid more than you were entitled to at the time?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No my invoice raised hours and rate as a agreed then. He claimed this back later….
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He claims that I should not have been billing for this particular service as it was not the category we thought it was. Although he billed the money to the client for that service under this category.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I hope this makes sense?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Forgot to mention that they have not paid my invoice for last month worked. This is now overdue for 3 weeks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

I am not sure I quite understand the situation? Were you billing for services which should not have been rendered and then profited from that but in the end the company had to reimburse that money to the client so they are saying you were paid for work that was not charged in the end?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks! As far as I am aware they got paid for the work from the client and I have seen the invoice and money received from the client. They seem to now say I should not have charged my fee. As the company developed new services it was never really clear what it exactly entailed. As soon as the general manager became aware of the situation the said I should not have charged them for my work with this client.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

ok but do you know if they had to reimburse the client for this work?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No they did not. The client paid the fee asked and I have just looked at a letter they sent where it clearly shows that the client paid for the service I charged for. I am aware that this is a complex situation, so thanks for answering.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

it may be best to discuss this over the phone, are you available to talk?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
See clients in 10 minutes so can not talk right now. *********** Gerhard
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

ok no worries, as I am on my way to court I won't be able to respond until later today but if you accept the phone call request I will call when I am out, or I can reply in writing later on

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my apologies for not being able to reply yesterday, my trial ran over by quite a bit and then I had to drive until late.

Anyhow, going back to your query, I have a better understanding of your position now but from what has happened and what the employer has said I do not really see what they expect from you, or in fact, what they legally can ask you to do. OK, so you billed a client for services which you may not have been supposed to but the client paid and from what you have said they did not challenge this and neither did the employer have to pay anything back. So they have not actually suffered any losses as a result. Had they suffered losses as a result of your alleged negligence, for example you did work you should not have and billed the client and got paid, then the employer had to reimburse the client, they would have suffered losses because you should not have been paid for that work. In that scenario they could ask you to repay the payment that you received in error, or if they had suffered any other losses, perhaps ask for a contribution to these (assuming there was shared responsibility).

So the key is have they suffered losses as a result of the alleged negligent billing? If they have not suffered any losses from this, there is not much they can do now – they cannot just penalise you financially because penalty clauses re unenforceable and they can only pursue you for genuine losses incurred as a result of this. You can challenge them to prove any losses they are trying to claim and if they cannot – simply state that there is no liability on your part in the circumstances.

However, if they did have to reimburse the client and this was because you negligently carried out incorrect work, they could ask you to repay money which was paid to you incorrectly.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options they have to take this further in the event losses have been incurred, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46794
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Dear Ben,Thank you so much! Your answer is really helpful and I am more than happy to give you 5 star rating. Do courts not often run over?The company did not suffer any losses so I am glad to hear there might be no legal claim to make. He said the client was not a "Bespoke Plus" client and as I was responsible for the treatment program I should not have billed him extra hours at a higher rate. I am now much clearer as I can proof that the client paid for the "Bespoke Program" and received the "Bespoke Plus" treatment package. The CEO has not answered any of my questions to clarify until now. Of course I worked all the hours I billed them for and it is completely unclear why he claims this client was not a "Bespoke Plus" one.The problem is that they have not paid my invoice for the last month I worked for them. This invoice is not even related to all of this "Bespoke Plus" business but was for services I delivered. I have asked now twice why my last invoice was not settled but I have not heard anything from them and have not received any money either.I am stunned by this and was at a loss what to do.Let me wish you a nice and nourishing weekend.Gerhard
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello Gerhard, thank you for leaving your rating. Luckily courts do not often run over on the day but sometimes on a Friday it is more likely they would as the judge may wish to finish the case on the day rather than postpone it until the following week and this is what happened yesterday.

If you are owed money by them then whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok thanks! Glad to hear you don't need often stay longer I'm court. So emails are not enough and I should write them a letter and sign it?Will follow your advice. Many thanks. I only received his email where he asked me to formally suggest how I would settle this matter with the "Bespoke Plus" issue. Although we talked about this complex client he never actually asked me to do anything or give him back any money yet. I think that what he is planning to do. If it comes to court could I consider you as my legal representation perhaps? If I can afford your rates that is of course.Thank you so muchGerhard
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Emails are fine, I only mention letter as a generic example but by that I mean something ‘in writing’. In terms of legal representation, whilst I would have gladly helped, unfortunately the terms of this site do not allow me to take on clients through it so my involvement is limited to online correspondence on here I’m afraid

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ah ok, what a shame! But of course it does make sense to me. I will now have to wait and see if the CEO and General Manager (she is his wife) will answer any of my questions. I sent one email to her about outstanding to invoice and asked him why it was not settled as well and asked him to settle it.If he should claim money back from me via a tribunal do I need legal representation already? I have asked them already if they had any losses because of this "Bespoke Plus" problem. This is even more surprising as this program was newly developed and has no clear definition of what is part of it. We only had a superficial definition but never agreed on any clear points of what it has to entail.Anyway, let me say how grateful I am as I feel less anxious now and much clearer.Gerhard
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

You do not need legal representation at any stage of this - it is entirely up to you if you wanted to get that or you just wanted to represent yourself. You are not expected to know the law and the court will know that you are not a lawyer so it is just about putting your side of the story across and the curt will make the decision based on both side's evidence

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