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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10264
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Please can you give me some advice The Freeholder carried

Customer Question

Hello please can you give me some advice The Freeholder carried out major works on our block of flats. I was billed 7,300 and with an outstanding bill on my service charge of 1100 they have put in a county court claim. I sent the court an acknowledgement of service and then contacted the debt collection agency to try and settle with a one off payment
My issue us that in the claims they made mathematical errors when adding figures but more so they included the following charges:
30 letter to court
455 legal for debt collectors
180 debt collectors fees
720 expenses incurred by lender
455 court fees
100 solicitors fees.
Is it worth contesting any of these additional charges?
I want to pay now and close but need to respond to the court with justifI cation why I contest the charges.
The debt cilectors claim they did not hear back but i have evidence of the response from.court when I sent the acknowledgement service via email.
Please can you kindly advice if it is worth contesting any if those fees that come close to 2k.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Have you already paid everything which you have agreed to? If not, why not?

If you agreed to part of the money, why are they taking you to court?

Could we have the background detail please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I have not paid it. I was originally planning to dispute the amount as I feel the service provided and managing if the block has been unsatisfactory but I realise I can't win cos they claim to have finished the work. My mortgage lender said they could only add it to my mortgage if their position was threatened by a court claim but be cos I do not want a ccj when I got the cc claim form I responded to the court with an acknowledgement of service.I then contacted the debt collectors who was managing it and they are not cooperating. I want to pay today before my 28 days given by cc run out but I think charges are excessive.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am.not sure whether to transfer funds to debt collectors or directly to landlord
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am ready to pay all major works and service charge. But I want to pay a reasonable amount for other charges
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You say the 28 days given by the County Court. Do you mean to submit the acknowledgement and defence or do you mean the time to pay a judgement?

They are entitled to their legal costs in respect of enforcing the terms of the lease.

Hence, expenses incurred by your lender are whatever they are. That is a different argument because that’s an argument with your lender.

The court fees are whatever the court fees are for the amount of money in issue.

They have issued court fees which are presumably under £10,000, small claims limit and hence, they would be entitled to the hundred pounds fixed solicitors fees.

The only issues therefore seem to be the debt collectors fees, the £455 legal fee debt collectors which I am not certain is duplicated or is the same cost and 30 letters to court which seems excessive but I don’t know what those costs are in respect of those letters.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. My lender have not made any charges. These are all libe items of the charges included in the county court claim form I received. The one's I am enquiring are the 720 for 'additional charges incurred by landlord', the 455 to debt collector's legal fees which was in addition to a 180 debt collectors fees. Pls note the separate 455 to the court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
28 days to submit county court form
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No judgement has been passed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What I would like help is finding out about the charges that can be added to a county court claim. I listed above : cc claim fee 455, soicitors fee 100, debt collectors legal fee 455, debt collectors fee 180, landlords additional charges incurred 720, letter to court 30. Please advice on which ones appear within reason to you. Also do I pay to debt collector or landlord direct. THe court fee us correct and standard, it is the rest I am enquiring about. Thanks
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I am confused. You talk about £720 expenses incurred by the lender but now you talk about £720 expenses incurred by the landlord.

I don’t know why there are two £455 charges and I’m sure you’re querying that.

I advise you to pay everything which you agree with which would certainly be one legal fee of £455, hundred pounds solicitors cost, the debt collectors fee of hundred and £80 is not unreasonable although I would be inclined not to pay the second legal fee of £455 or the full £720 depending on what it is. Probably £200 in respect of that is more reasonable.

Then, send a cheque the full amount saying that you making this in full and final settlement of this claim and that by cashing the cheque they accepted as such and that if they do not accepted as such, they should return it to you and proceed to court and you will defend the proceedings. Make sure that you mark the letter at the top, Without Prejudice save as to Costs and then, they cannot produce it in court as any evidence that you admit that you owed this amount for anything at all.

I would itemise what you are paying and the rationale behind why you are paying less than they are asking for if they returned the cheque to you, you need to consider whether you want to risk going to court which will incur further costs if you lose.

When you put your defence into the court, you need to say what you admit and what you deny

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s the process by which the experts get paid.

The thread remains open.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. Lender nor involved. 720 was in reference to the landlord. How much more can I incur by going to court? They are being represented by a debt collector and payments are to be sent to this collector.
Since they have not provided payment details just an address, can I pay directly to the landlord?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You can always pay directly to the landlord. Debt collectors cannot take the matter to court unless they have purchased the debt and its knowing their name in which case, you are entitled to a copy of the assignment to the debt collector.

You can always pay the money which is being asked for and then claim that you paid it under mistake/duress and simply sue the recipient in the small claims court to get it back.

As the thread has now been open for almost a week, could you rate the service positive please? We can still exchange emails as the thread does remain open. Best wishes.