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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 recently carried out some work at a festival in the UK and

Customer Question

Hi there...
I recently carried out some work at a festival in the UK and was given a radio to use.
Having not personally signed the radio out, I left it on my managers desk in a secure compound when I left the venue.
The production office now wish to issue an invoice to me as the handset is missing.
I think this should be a matter for an insurance company to deal with rather than someone who hasnt had the opportunity to read or sign any kind of disclaimer.
Can you give any advice on this before I respond to the charging office ?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Did you notify anyone that you had left it on the desk or did you send an email/text to let anyone know?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Also, how long have you been working for this company?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi there..
I didnt notify anyone of this as the production office was closed and my manager was busy chatting with someone the other side of the yard.
I worked for the company /festival this year and the two preceding years.
Im typically on site for 10 days each time I work for them.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hi there. thank you for your response and for the live phone call request. I am unable to talk at the moment but leave it with me. 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 7 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. It is possible that you could be held liable for the loss due to negligence. The negligent act would be that you left the radio unattended on a desk rather than personally hand it to someone or just kept hold of it until you had the chance to see someone in person to whom you can hand it over. There would not have been a strict requirement to have been issued with any terms or disclaimer requiring that – it would have been an implied and common sense expectation that if you were entrusted with company property, that you would look after it until you had the opportunity to give it back to someone who could take over responsibility. Leaving it on a table without personally ensuring it is handed over would likely be a negligent act, whether there was any disclaimer or not.

Saying that, at this stage they are just asking you for compensation for the unit, they cannot force you to pay. This can only happen if they actually go to court to make a claim for its value and win. There is no guarantee it will ever go that far so you could consider just refusing to ay and see how far they take it. If they do make a formal claim then you can reconsider your options and whether to defend it or just agree to settle.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have should a claim be made against you, 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
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Thank you. So as mentioned whatever they ask you for, you cannot be forced to pay them at this stage. Regardless of what your liability may be, you can argue that the lack of any specific rules on handing the radio back means that you have not done anything wrong as you left it on their premises in an office where only authorised personnel should have had access. If they wanted to try and force you to pay then they will have to go to the small claims court and issue a claim against you. I am not sure they will got that far and it does depend on the value of the item as the lower the claim the less likely it is anyone would take the time and effort to go to court. So wait and see where they take this – if they make a claim you can try and offer some sort of settlement to get them off your back, or you can have your day in court and see if you manage to defend their claim. Even if you lose you will not be responsible for their legal fees as each party pays their own so the risks are relatively low.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Thanks for your advice so far.
It very much appreciated..!
Youve covered some important points about this.
Although Im aware - had I taken the time to specifically
let someone know it was there I wouldnt be held liable now.
However, as youve noted from my original query, the equipment was left in a secure area, on their premises where only authorised personnel had access.
Im speculating here... but I would have thought another solution for them is to claim on their insurance.
Of course they would probably incur an excess fee if they do.
Either way I will keep in touch with them.
I want to let them know I am not responsible for its actual loss as I left it in an authorised area.
The unit would cost approximately £500 - £600 to replace ...
Do you think the value of the item would be worth taking someone to a small claims court over?Thanks again
Matt
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hi there, insurance could indeed be an option, assuming they have insurance which covers them for this. They could then pursue you for the excess instead.

The value could be worth taking to the small claims court but you simply do not know what their thoughts on this are and if they are willing to do so. They may not have a legal team which they can pass this on to without spending more money so that could put them off. Whatever I say about this will be pure speculation so I cannot really tell you if they will go further or not – only time will tell

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