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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Hello, I own a company and recruited a consultant to complete

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I own a company and recruited a consultant to complete some project management & web development.

To cut a long story short, we have a dispute based on the fact that he's overcharged on a submitted timesheet.

The total of his invoices in this claim is about £3000, and I've gone through each item in his timesheet and essentially disputed about half that amount - so I'm admitted we owe about £1500.

He's not accepting that and so has now proceeded with a small claim, including interest & costs. I'm going to defend this £1500 in dispute.

Basically, his argument is that because he has a self produced time-sheet (actually its done by his employees), then it must be correct and so we owe it all.

My defence is that some items are so ludicrously above what they should have been. Without going into detail, one job should have taken 15 minutes and he submitted 2 hours.

Many other tasks were not even completed but still charged sometimes 200% to 300% more than anyone would reasonably expect - again his reasoning being that they tried.

I've put this to him, and he sticks by his defence that just because someone else may do the job quicker, his team have taken this amount of time and recorded in a timesheet, so the costs still stand. He's also saying his employees will be witness in court to this effect.

Clearly I don't see them as neutral witnesses, and in fact I can point to independent websites which even document how simple some of these common tasks are. Its not like he's claimed 10% extra - in most cases these disputed items are over 100% more, so its significant.

I'm not trying to get out of paying it all - I've admitted half. But I won't be taken for a fool and so will argue the other amount.

I don't see his defence as valid, as where would that logic end: "start the clock and turn it off 10 hours later for a 20 minute job - and because he has self produced time sheet, then this makes it acceptable..."?

Am I within my rights to argue this defence, and will this just come down to us going through each item in court line-by-line to resolve - since we're never going to agree on this?

Or is does the core premise of either of our positions on this hold up?

I clearly believe that one shouldn't just have to pay any submitted invoice just because he's logged that time; and he will clearly say otherwise since that's how much time he says he spent.

Who is correct?

And is my defence outlined here valid for a defence in the small claims court, where we now find ourselves?

You are quite correct and justified in defending the claim for the £1500 which you dispute as being unreasonable. You are not obliged to pay the money simply because they produced a time sheet. As you say, what is stopping someone from submitting a time sheet and invoice for 10 hours work when the work shOuld reasonably have taken 20 or so minutes.

In fact it may be fraud what they are trying to do I.e. Overcharging you.

You seem to have a good defence and you may certainly rely on the independent websites to defend the claim.

The court will have the final say over this and will decide after it has heard both sides of the story.

Hope this helps and good luck

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



I have to be honest and say I did expect a little more detail since I paid the higher price for that.


Any more info on how to base my defence or whether the claimant has any weight in his argument at all?



You will need to show evidence that the charge is unreasonable and was never agreed e.g. normally when contractors submit timesheets, they need to be approved and signed off by the client. I do not know what your contract with this person says so I am unable to go into the depth of detail you may be looking for.

This is an online forum and not designed to replace a face to face solicitor.

Your defence will also be that you never approved the timesheet and the hours logged.

Hope this clarifies

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