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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have a client who has been provided a service, they have

Customer Question

I have a client who has been provided a service, they have sent emails confirming they sent a cheque, this never arrived, they then sent another email advising they called their bank and again nothing arrived, as I have these emails from the client and can prove the service was provided can I
(a) have a good chance of winning if I bring a small claims, The amount is £1800 and
(b) how long should I wait after providing the service before I start action
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Please can you tell me how long ago the service was provided and how long the amount has been outstanding for?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ho Sorry for the delay. On 20th July client was called by our team to see if he was interested in a TV commercial, He booked a 3 month campaign at the cost of £1800 on the same day, client emailed confirming he wanted to book the slot.
Normally clients send us a script and images, this was not forthcoming, so I asked the client, would he like us to create him an ad and he can view online and approve, he said yes by telephone. On 4th August, client then advises me he needs 2nd approval, so I contact co in question, they reply, why he needs our approval we have no idea, they are his suppliers.
On the 8th of august client is happy, I send him our invoice, he emails me back and advises, his accountant is away for 12 days and he will pay then.No payment arrives, on 23rd August my client emails me and tells me "cheque is in post", this was a bank holiday so gave him benefit of doubt. I chase him again, on 2nd September, client advises me he called his bank and completed a transfer, not payment received,
Now the clients TV commercials are now RUNNING starting september and booked for 3 months and at the start client wanted exclusivity and sponsorship opportunities, the exclusivity is in place as is the sponsorships. I am not in a position to cancel his commercials as they are contained within the programs that are sent to the broadcasters on sky in advance and cannot be altered. This week is his first week of a 3 month campaign. Our terms are, pay after happy with edit of commercial but payment must be in BEFORE broadcasts, so far nothing, I'm now getting very annoyed with the company as when I call them today the owner is on holiday still till thursday and promised me he would deal with this today, but clearly every promise of payment is a lie. He is a ltd company not that that makes a difference,
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will 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. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Assuming that the client wanted this service to proceed, they had sent payment (even if this was not received) and they did not take any steps to cancel the contract or advise you that they no longer wish to proceed, then it can be implied that the contract was formed and that they would be liable for payment. Even though the cheque may not have arrived, they knew at the time that the service would still go ahead so I they did not want to continue with it then they should have advised you of this before it had started. The fact that they did not pay to start with does not absolve them of future liabilities to pay up if the contract and related services had still gone ahead.

Whilst I cannot give you formal prospects of success, this is something which you can indeed consider taking further on the above assumptions. In terms of waiting time before starting action, you should still give them reasonable time to try and resolve this, which would usually be a couple of weeks or so, whilst you send them formal reminders and also outlining what your next steps would be.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the formal steps you need to follow preparing for a potential claim and how to proceed from here, 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 and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for the response and look forward to hearing from you re forward action advice
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. 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. 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 11 months ago.
If I issue a statutory demand and this means he has to pay the debt after 21 days, then do I still need to go for a small claims if he doesnt pay or respond as surely the stat demand after 21 days can be enforceable?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Sorry should have made that clear - the small claims is an alternative to the stat demand

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
whats the most effective
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

it really depends on the circumstances of the debtor but a stat demand can have more serious repercussions sooner than a court judgment