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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been harrased bullied and threatened with legal

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I have been harrased bullied and threatened with legal action by a customer of the princiopal contractor that we did work for, to attend to a fault. I was contacted by the customer direct even though I am under contractual obligation to the principal contractor on the 19th May 2016. Under my "Duty of Care" I tried to resolve the fault e.g. a missued key pad that was needing re programming by talking the customer through the manual. It was established that the customer had deleted all codes including the manufactures code from the key pad and a visitor had put in an old code resulting the key pad going into wrning mode. I instructed the customer to power down the system to stop the noise. I clearly stated I did not have an available engineer for at least 2 weeks. I instructed the customer to contact the principal contractor which was then up to him to find an alternative engineer as the customer needed the fault rectified before we could attend. I was then informed that the principal contractor and the customer were in civil dispute and not communicating with each other. I have since had phone calls text messages and e mails with the above mentioned threats and more. We did the installtion on the property but did not supply any equipment. Work ws completed 6 months ago. I have now been given not one but two dates Tomorrow prior to this it was Friday 3rd June in which to attend or I will be sued and charged for as they say replacement of the system when in fact it only needs re programming. They have only just aquired an engineer themselves today but still insist on proceeding to sue me. I need to know where I stand and what I can do.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben I am Jackie

Hi Jackie. Have you discussed this with the contractor at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have he is in civil dispute with them over outstanding payments we are owed as well as other sub contractors. He has been istructed that no engineers still under contractual obligation to attend go to site

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Many thanks for your patience. First f all it is important to consider if you have any legal responsibility towards this customer. This is a contractual issue, one which would depend on who they have a contract with. In the circumstances it would appear that the customer has a contract with the contractor and in turn the contractor has a contract with you. Therefore, the legal relationship the customer has will be solely with the main contractor, not you. You may have been the one who attended to install the system but that does not create a direct contractual relationship between you and the customer so they will still have to resolve this issue with the contractor. The fact that they are in dispute does not make you liable – it is for them to resolve between them. You have kindly helped out so far to try and reprogram the system but that doe not mean you have an ongoing duty to continue doing so and attend with an engineer and do further work as and when the customer’s demands.

So make it clear to them that their contractual relationship is with the contractor and that is who would be legally answerable to them and who they need to pursue. Then state that any further unwarranted threats or demands will be treated as harassment so they should refrain from them.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on harassment and how you can apply it here, 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

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As far as the harassment is concerned they have used threats of me being unprofessional in my conduct and even gone as far as quoting the amount of money paid to us for the completion of the work carried out with a view that we were over paid and owed them money and would take legal action to retrieve it. The work was carried out over 6 month ago and no issue was raised with the invoices or payments until now. They have continued to do this for the past three weeks through email mobile landline and txt I have blocked the land line and mobile but they have continued through e mail. What can be done or what can I do please

Thank you. As mentioned, this conduct could potentially amount to harassment, which could be both a civil matter and a criminal one. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.

Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.

In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue.

So in the first instance the police can be contacted and this matter reported to them as harassment. However, they will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them.