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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Good evening, I am a dentist and run a small general and

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Good evening,
I am a dentist and run a small general and cosmetic practice which I established with a partner a year ago. This is a private practice with no NHS contract. All work is private.
I client had dental work resulting in a bill of £900.00
She presented a credit card for payment afterwards whoch was declined. Our payment processor advised via telephone this was not a fault at our end and her bank had declined the transaction. She said she had no other means of payment at the time.
We agreed she could return with another card. She failed to do so and has gone completely off radar!
My wife other half who is the practice manager is absolutely convinced by her way of acting at reception even prior to the card decline that she knew it was going to happen and her intention was to recieve free dental work.
I am planning on writing a letter before action in order to chase payment. My question is could this on any view amount to a criminal offence. That is if she had intentions not to pay.
I don't want to call the police as I'm sure they have better things to do but if I could include something in the letter to the client regarding police maybe this will have more effect!?
I realise proving intention would be very hard but is their any even theoretical criminal offence possible here?
Best regards
1. Dear *****zo, I regret to say that once a person seeks to tender payment, it is impossible to make the case in a criminal prosecution that the person deliberately intended to thieve or steal the dental work. This is because in a criminal case, you must prove something "beyond all reasonable doubt". Once there is an element of doubt, the accused receives the benefit of the doubt. To successfully mount a criminal prosecution here, the credit card would have to be stolen or some other added factor which definintively showed she knew payment would be declined.
Buachaill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
2. I regret to say that the police will leave this matter to a civil remedy as there is not sufficiently strong evidence to support a criminal prosecution. You should also realise that if non payment upon tendering a credit card were a criminal offence, many housewives would end up in jail. So the police are going to have no interest in this series of events.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the clarification and advice.

4. You are welcome.