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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I recently underwent orthodontic treatment for TMJD in the

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Hi,I recently underwent orthodontic treatment for TMJD in the amount of £2,400 for a 12 week trial - the treatment did not work and I decided to cease 6 weeks in.I was offered a pro rata good will refund a few days ago which would be around 6 weeks into treatment.No amount was stated but I accepted as he was specific with the ‘pro rata’ which I calculated at 1200.I was expecting pro rata £1200 back but only received £510.I wasn’t expecting a refund however to be offered a pro rata refund and then to receive less than half is insulting.Would it be binding in court ? Thank you for your time.

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

How long ago exactly was this and what reason, if any, has been provided for the reduced amount?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
23rd Oct signed and paid £2400.
4th Dec offered and accepted pro rata refund. It has just cleared in the bank so I have not confronted him yet, thought I would seek legal advice first to see if good will pro rata refund on contract is binding.

Thank you. The main issue here is what is understood to be ‘pro rata’. That does mean in proportion, but in proportion to what exactly? It is not necessarily in proportion of the time that has elapsed and it could be referenced to many other things, such as the work undertaken, the cost of materials and labour used up to date, etc.

Therefore, as you can see simply being told it was going to be a pro-rata return does not automatically mean that you simply look at the time you stopped and then compare it to the overall duration of the treatment, then use that to calculate the costs due back.

Also this was unlikely to be a binding offer, in a sense that it would not have been a contractual agreement of a specific refund. It would be difficult to argue that in the circumstances and together with the above factors, it can end up being a risky claim.

Saying that, any claim would go in the small claims court, and the fees for making it would be quite low, plus even if you lost you would not be responsible for the other side’s legal costs, which means you could consider going down that route anyway and trying your luck. Making a claim could actually prompt them to consider compensating you more just so they do not have to deal with you and defend your claim.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to follow if you were to take this further. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok thanks.The contract is 1 page and the stipulation is very clear that £2400 is for 3 month trial period all inclusive of appliances, time etc. once payed. I understand it could be risky so I’ll consider the options.Thanks very much, 5* service

Thank you. In terms of taking this further, if a party wishes to pursue another for a debt arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 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 pursue them for the debt in question. 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 a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.