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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46225
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My previous company made me redundant and agreed to pay a

Customer Question

Hi
My previous company made me redundant and agreed to pay a settlement to negate my right to sue for disability discrimination. A contract was agreed and a figure agreed. However upon return of my company car they fabricated a previously reported dent and retained a £3000 pounds. A solicitor will cost that to retrieve it and I am on minimum wage. I needed this money for my future without a job can you help please?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
One of their responsesDear Mr Tyler,
I have been told that we have to repair the car via the people who provided the quote under the terms of the lease. You have seen the quote. I understand that you believe it could be done cheaper, but we would then be breaching our contract with the lease company. As I have said we cannot accept £500 against cost in excess of £3000.
Regards,
Warren Bingley
HR Business Partner
Costain
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Please can you tell me how long you worked there for? Please can you also provide some more information on the alleged dent and whether you reported any such issue?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
BenWorked there for over 4 years. The dent was caused on company business and was reported by e-mail as per policy. They also are complaining about a hole made by a tow bar they authorised me to fit. The hole was where it was removed as per policy.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
another they sent loads but none of this is my fault if I was still working there they would have repaired soonerDear My Tyler,
Further to you email which you sent to Anna Evans, I am writing to confirm that I will be dealing with this issue going forward.
I also write to confirm Costain’s position with regard to your off of £500 to settle the issue. The attached quote does not deal with the additional damage caused by the removal of the Tow Bar or the damage to the key. This we anticipate will be an additional £1,500 to fix.
In short Costain is not prepared to accept your offer of £500 “clean the care up.”
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss the matter further.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I offered £500 goodwill gesture, which I thought was generous considering its 1) not my fault and was reported as per policy and 2) I have a quote to repair the dent under £500 so it was the full cost at a reasonable place. I am also having to pay for their agreement to have it fixed at their garage
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. First of all you need to check the terms of the agreement to see if there is anything in it which allows the employer to retain money from the sum they had agreed to pay you under it. If they did not have such a right then they could likely be acting in breach of contract themselves.

In terms of pursuing them for the money, you do not actually need a solicitor to do this. As the amount in question is below £10k this will go down to the small claims court which is a venue specifically designed for the individual parties and those without legal representation. So you could certainly do it yourself and even if you were to lose you would not have any legal fees to pay as each party pays their own. So at worst you would lose the court fees which would be in the region of £275.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to initiate a claim, 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: 46225
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
ThanksThere is a clause for equipment in reasonable condition - wear. But it was a reported dent and known tow bar removal reported before the redundancy. If they have not settled the contract amount and refuse to do so without any agreement is the contract still valid or is it void as they did not honour and will not respond to my reasonable response as stated I reported it before redundancy. As soon as they found out I was developing a disability they gave me no more work and ignored all e-mails whils employed including the report about the dent. I feel that this was a bit of a set up to keep some.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They paid some money as part of the package but withheld the majority £3000. the £500 I offered was good will to make it go away quickly but it was laughed at. Now all they will respond to is if I make another offer. They make no counter offers just repeat the same thing. Maybe Small Claim is all I can do but they have a team of corporate lawers and only have me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

If there is such a clause but it was all known and reported before the agreement was finalised then this should have been provided for in the agreement and any outstanding amounts agreed before its finalisation. So by not honouring the agreement and not paying you the amount under it then they are indeed likely to be acting in breach of contract. You may indeed consider the small claims court to pursue them for the deducted amount. Even if you are on your own this is a relatively risk free option as even if you lose you will not be responsible for their legal costs.

To take it further if 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. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand

4. 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 7 months ago.
If they don't pay is the contract Void at any point and can I sue for the disability and unfair dismissal that the money was supposed to compensate for as I obviously never got it all?
Would like to threaten them with that as It does not seem fair that the money was for that, I cant sue and did not get the money!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

yes the whole settlement agreement can become void but you can only sue them if you are still in time, i.e. 3 months since the discriminatory behaviour or the dismissal

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is that still 3 months valid if you had an agreement to settle but they violated it which means I can't either Sue for the original claims they purchased in the agreement so no money for me or obtain the agreed sum so again no money. Can I loose both ways on this as the settlement was to negate any future disability discrimination and it was because of that I could not sue or be aware they would default.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

The tribunal has the discretion of extending the time limit if they believe it is necessary so whilst you van argue that an extension should be granted in the circumstances, it is for the tribunal to decide whether that is appropriate

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