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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47355
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am claiming against a builder - as an individual and also

Customer Question

I am claiming against a builder - as an individual and also via his company name. Is this the correct procedure? - online county court claim. My payments to him have been BACS payment into his personal account, the address I have to make the claim to is his company name, rather than residential address. He is the owner of this company. Be grateful for your advice. Thanks, Kath
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Great. I'm wondering what to do now. All payments made have been direct into builders personal bank acct by BACS payment so have record of them all. He claims he is the owner of the building company, address supplied to me at start. I served my claim there via county court (indicated on their envelope) and letter was returned to me unopened and 'return to sender' written on it. Should I try and serve it direct to the builder now or to both him personally and the company?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Please can you tell me a bit more about the situation so that I can advise. Thank you

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, so he gave me receipt for £4,500 for patio doors (March 2016) and never delivered them, hasn't refunded me either. Also stole a 3m RSJ from me! And a register plate for stove and loo roll holder. Sacked him 3 months ago and still hasn't returned keys. Very aggressive verbally, now disappeared out of contact. Doesn't deny he owes me but hasn't paid me back anything
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I'm unsure whether it's sufficient for me to claim against his company name with address he provided me or whether I should be pursuing this against him as an individual......or both? That's my main query now
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Have been advised to get a solicitors advice/ opinion on this before progressing with my re-serving of claim
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court for the rest of today so will prepare my advice in a while 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.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok thanks. Please can you indicate roughly when your earliest opportunity will be? So I know when to expect a reply?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

will be quite soon actually, 10mins...

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

The main consideration here is who you had a contract with. Obviously a company will have to use individuals as their representatives and they are the ones you would converse with and do business with and in the end the ones who would do the work. But the contract would still be with the company and it is who you would be pursuing.

You therefore need to go right back to the start to look at whether the arrangements about the work were done in the name of the company or by the builder as an individual. This would depend on who you initially approached, if it was the company or him personally, if any correspondence was sent from its name or directly from him and so on. It is a factual issue based on what happened. In the end if it is impossible to work out which party it was you had a contractual relationship with, you can consider making the claim against both parties and let the court decide.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, so I dealt directly with the builder himself who advertised himself via a website called mybuilder.com
Via this site I contacted the individual builder.
He came round to my flat and gave me paperwork signed by him with a company name and address at the top.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
To complicate matters the company website has a different addres to the one on the paperwork
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I also sent a 'Letter before court' to the address on the website, recorded delivery which was accepted and signed for.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

yes it could be either to be honest, in the end it would be just one but there is no guaranteed way of finding this out to start with. I would say he chances are that it was the company because once contacted he dd start representing himself as being the company rather than the individual

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
probably best, ***** ***** can find his residential address - have requested that trading standards authorise mybuilder.com to release this info - to reserve the claim to BOTH the company and him as an individual (online form allows me to have 2 options) and as you say let the court decide which to pursue? Don't want to get it wrong on the form and cause unnecessary delays
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My understanding is if I serve it wrongly it may then have to go to a judge to make a decision which can delay things for another 4-6 weeks?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

potentially yes but if it was just an error then there is no reason why they should not allow it.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
38; If I can't track his residential address them I can serve it as 'builders name' TRADING AS and then add company name and use same address as company address? Or is there any need to to this, am I better off just claiming against company is if I can't get hold of his personal residential address?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i apparently made an error first claim, served it direct to the company and in 2nd option the individuals name with same company address and told that was null and void because I should have written 'trading as" OR used his residential address. Will cost me £100 to write in 'Trading as' now, to amend original form. Or free if I locate his residential address? Not sure why there's a difference and they couldn't really explain - called the online claim advice team, who aren't legally trained
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Not sure I'm any clearer. Maybe pay extra £100 and write/ add "trading as' to original claim, under individual builder's name
Or if get his residential address (via mybuilder.com) substitute that for company address under builders name in 2nd option on claim form?
If you don't think this will cause delays?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Are you still there?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
As I have paperwork with company details clearly on it for speed (I may not get his residential address released) I'm thinking I'm maybe better off claiming JUST against the company. On the other hand I'm worried THEY may not pay up so I'm increasing my chances of getting paid back if I pursue him directly as well?
Met police have advised me that if he doesn't pay up via court the bailiffs can go round and grab possessions to value of what he owes me, auction off and refund me the money. If he doesn't comply with bailiffs next step they can call police in and it becomes a criminal matter. Police can also repossess goods to value of what he owes me.
As a lawyer do you agree it's best for me to pursue both, or just the company?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Would appreciate your opinion please. Thanks
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Fact that the actual company have returned the original claim form to sender is a worry too? Raises question Why haven't they accepted it when they've accepted & signed for previously sent, recorded delivery letters. That said I think I can simply enforce that claim anyway as the address I've used have previously accepted letters and it's the one they advertise on their website.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Think you're maybe responding to other enquiries now? but will await your final response.
Am very eager to get re-serve of claim form correct and accurate this time - to move this process forward in correct way. Everyone I've spoken to - CAB, police, Mybuilder.com - says get a solicitor's advice. If I get it wrong can cause delays and worse case scenario have to start proceedings Again which is timely, expensive and very frustrating.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

There issue with pursuing both parties now is that in the end you are only going to get judgement against one of them. So you may pay rate to add them only to find they are taken out as a respondent later on. The alternative is that you pursue one of now and see if you beg judgment against them. You then know that there is no point pursuit the other party. There is no right or wrong answer at this stage until you know who legally you had a contract with. So there is no point in including him as an individual and do what the police have said if the contract was not with him personally as a judgement will not be issued against him. I would say issuing against both is probably best and let the court decide who has legal culpability. In terms of service address for him you can try www.192.com or just serve at an address where he is likely to receive mail, if he is running the company and it has an address the chances are he is there as well

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I dont understand the 'beg judgement' part ? Is that the same as enforcing the claim? My understanding is that there's no additional fee for pursuing both, company and individual but maybe that's my misunderstanding. I had hoped you could advise who I have the contract with from info provided earlier? Builder advertised himself as part of the company "Avantgarde home improvements" on mybuilder.com and the original a paperwork has company name on and his signature. Does that not make it clear who I should be pursuing?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Legally does the 'purchase agreement' (that's what's printed on the originally paperwork) which has company details printed on it (admittedly with their old address, but correct current contact number and website details) mean the company are liable?? I guess this is what I need clarification on now? Steve Corbyn , the actual builder, has not got his name printed on this form but I have his signature on it in agreeing payment plan. Is this relevant to how to proceed?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I'm about to attach a copy of paperwork hoping this might make things clearer.....
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Please See attached
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Front copy
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Back of purchase agreement keeps referring to the company - see section attached, so maybe that makes them liable?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I think Steve is classed on this as a 'representative' of the company...
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
See 1.5 on last image j.peg sent through
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do the screen shots of purchase agreement make it clearer to you who I should pursue?
Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

I won't be able to look at these now unfortunately as leaving the office but will do so most likely tomorrow

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Basically just shows printed company contact details and Steve's signature as 'representative'....?
Will check my emails tomorrow.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Can't help notice you're still showing as online/ available. If at all possible and you have 5 mins I'd really appreciate your opinion on screen shots. Am trying to tie this all up and get re-serve of claim in motion before I go away for a week, from tomorrow. Many thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hi there, sorry the online status is not accurate as sometimes I may be left logged in on a device but not actually be online and available. Anyway, looking at the documents it very much appears that it was made out that you were dealing with the company rather than an individual in a personal capacity. In the circumstances you should really be pursuing the company rather than the individual because when a court looks at the contractual documentation leading up to this agreement it would certainly appear that you were entering into a contract with the company rather than the individual. So whilst the individual may have their name and signature on some of these documents, as mentioned a company will have people representing it and signing documentation on its behalf but the contract would still be with the company. Just because a person has signed something on behalf of a company does not make that person liable and in this case it would be the company that you should really be pursuing.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47355
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Ben, that seems much clearer now. Ok so I'll go ahead and re-serve my claim just to the company now. That's really what I wanted clarification on. I think that's all. Many thanks, Kath
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

You are most welcome, all the best

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi BenI've just picked up your email and do have another few questions. I spoke to county court yesterday re. Remove 'Steve Corbyn' as defendant and just go for his company, Avant-Garde Home Improvements, as per our discussion and conclusion. Have attached my original claim form for you to see. This was 'returned to sender' by Steve trading as Avant-Garde hence I now have it.First question- if Steve then declares his company Avant-Garde bankrupt would my claim just end there and I get nothing back?
Second question - in the 'particulars of claim' section (also on attachment) I refer to Steve Corbyn several times. Is this still OK to leave as it is, given that I'm now claiming against his company?
Third question - should I be re-sending the breakdown of the costs referred to in 'particulars of claim' (and originally sent direct to Steve by email) to Avant-Garde now? Though I know Steve already has this info. I'm thinking it needs to be re-sent now to his company name and address?Am anticipating if I change the wording on the claim form (particulars section) as well as remove Steve Corbyn as defendant there will be an additional fee.Be grateful for your advice and opinion
Many thanks
Kath
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Am thinking I might need to reword 'particulars' section referring to 'your representative' Steve Corbyn ?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
As my re-serving of the claim will be done directly by me (county court said they send me the form this time, (for me to forward on to the defendant) can I just include my additional costs details (as outlined in 'particulars of claim') in the same envelope? Is that correct way to proceed so the company has All info? I plan to send it all together recorded delivery, if you are in agreement. Thanks
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Ben, just wondering what your thoughts are re above? Many thanks Kath
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Ben, Please could you answer re "particulars Of claim" question?
Am hoping to re-serve claim later today, but am waiting to hear back from you first,
Thanks
Kath
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 10 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

You need to amend your claim.

For more information please see:

http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/showthread.php?21272-How-to-Amend-your-Claim-CPR-Practicalities

But you need to amend, file and reserve.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ben emailed me 08/09/16 asking if I had any further questions for him as a continuation of this case, not closed. So I sent him my questions immediately and he has not replied?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 10 months ago.

No, he opted out, which is why I have continued

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thabks v much for that link though Jamie - I'll have a read through it now.....
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 10 months ago.

Ok. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site does not pay me for the time spent with you today. Thank you in advance and good luck!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
How long are you available this evening as I do want to get this sorted once and for all....just want to glance through link so I understand it first
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 10 months ago.

I am on for another hour at most. But if I could ask you to rate before you go, the question does not close. Thanks!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok, the link looks good but my head is addled tonight - it's been a Very long day! Happy to rate your answer, but unsure where the link is for that?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 10 months ago.

There should be one for 5 stars or happy faces. If not let me know as it may be you rated the previous expert.

Looks like that is the case so I can get the rating transferred to me if you would like?

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