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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71038
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am being pursued for a debt of £1,050. It is debatable if

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I am being pursued for a debt of £1,050. It is debatable if it is owed but I am happy to pay it. The company pursuing me has added 50% to the debt (which it states it is entitled to do if it has not been paid in time) and handed it to a debt collection agency who have added a further fee of £150 to the sum. I have sent the original sum to the company via recorded delivery which they have signed for. They have not cashed the cheque. If they pursue me in the Small Claims Court, what will happen?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you will have to pay?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. I have sent a cheque for the original £1,050 (as yet uncashed). What I am concerned about is whether I have to send the additional fee and, if not and I go to court, what I may be liable for and whether or not I shall incur a county court judgement / impact on my credit record etc. (I can afford to pay but was just very annoyed by the approach taken with my wife who is actually the person who engaged them and they claim acknowledged the terms and conditions).

If you lose at the small claims court then you will get a CCJ. If you pay it off within 28 days of judgment then you can ask the credit reference agencies to remove the CCJ from your record as its really just a dispute over liability rather than bad money management.
In terms of what they will get at court, it depends what the contract says. They can have a rate revision term in the contract allowing them to remove any discount that was given for late payment but its not commonly invoked and rarely drafted properly in the contract.
If you are of the view that you only agreed to pay X sum and now they are charging Y then its probably worth contesting it.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. I can find no reference in the terms and conditions they sent to a late payment fee. They do state that there is a 50% surcharge if they are not informed of someone joining within seven days of the candidate starting but they were informed (because they asked us) so I see no logic for the surcharge. In fact, on re-reading the terms and conditions, there is a possibility that we did not have to pay the full fee: I wonder if I should stop the cheque and make them take me to court. Would we be liable for the court fees if there is a ruling against us?

No, its quite unlikely that there was. They are not often properly drafted.
You would be liable for court fees but only a small amount.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would the fact that I sent a cheque for £350 (in full & final settlement) which they returned first to try and end things count against us in court? I imagine not. Thanks for your help

If you didn't head it without prejudice then they could refer to it but it doesn't really make much difference. All it proves is that you were trying to settle which doesn't really go to the issue of whether you were in law liable to pay. It just goes to your state of mind to the extent that you believed you were.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks again. It seems that I should just wait and do nothing. If the debt collection agency harasses us further, we should just ignore and, if served with court papers, turn up. Thank you again for your help

No problem and all the best.
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