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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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My business is being chased by a debt collector on behalf of

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Hi there my business is being chased by a debt collector on behalf of a former accountant for a sum I have disputed. It is £355.20 and the debt collection agency have added £125.98 citing The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 (which I had understood to be 8% above Bank of England). As far as I am aware I have no obligation whatsoever to the debt collection agency. I have laid out the reasons for my dispute in a letter to the accountant. They have not properly accounted for the amount and addressed my points. It can only be a veracious claim because of the small amount and disproportionate amount of time and resource it is taking up. Where can I go from here?
JA: Where is this? And when did the issue begin?
Customer: London UK. Invoice in question is dated 31st July 2019. Date of my letter 15th November 19. Deb Collection agency involved 2nd Jan 20.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have a) responded to numerous emails b) responded to their LBA within 7 days detailing the reasons for my dispute c) responded to the debt collection agency telling them it was in dispute and that I had no obligation to them.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: There is a lot of detail but in summary that's it.

Hello, this is Jim and I am a dual-qualified lawyer (UK and Republic of Ireland) and happy to help you today.

Where to go from here is to dispute the debt and tell the debt collection agency you are not paying. They are not bailiffs and cannot take anything from you. The accountant would need to issue a small claim which you would then defend. It is easy to defend the claim - the court sends you a response pack (see attached) and once you receive it you need to ensure you fill it in and return the court as soon as possible.

The claim will then be defended and the court will list a hearing in due course (probably 6 months or more from now). You can attend or you can have an advocate attend for you (LPC Law are recommended as an advocacy agency - http://www.lpc-law.co.uk).

Your defence would be that the claimant has not properly justified their amount claimed and so on. They have to prove their claim on the balance of probabilities, otherwise their claim fails. If they do win you get 14 days to pay it (and as long as it is paid within 30 days then it won't be registered with credit agencies).

Feel free to come back here for ongoing guidance (if they issue a small claim against you).

I hope this helps – if you can please give a positive rating by clicking 5 stars (at the top of your screen), I can answer any follow up questions at no extra charge and I will be credited for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Jim many thanks. Are you able to give me some words in legal speak to send to the debt collection agency please?

If you say something like this:

Dear Sirs,

Without Prejudice Save as to Costs

I refer to the above and to your client's claim for £355.20. You have added charges under the commercial debt regulations and my letter to your client has gone unanswered. I continue to dispute the debt and I await hearing from your client with their response to my letter in order to avoid litigation.

Your client is obligated to fully particularise their claim before they involve the court, in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for debt claims (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraph 7 of the Protocol, and paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

If your client does not respond to my correspondence, and goes on to issue proceedings, the same will be defended. I ask you to note that the court has discretion (in a small claim) under rule 27.14(2)(g) to award costs if a party "behaves unreasonably", examples being a failure to respond to letters/emails/calls, unwillingness to discuss the case and discuss settlement, a claim which has no merit, not following the court directions, etc.

I will therefore seek my costs if I successfully defend the claim against your client.

I look forward to hearing from you within 7 days with a substantive reply to my letter dated (insert date).

Yours sincerely,

I hope I have answered your question. Let me know if anything requires clarification. In the meantime if you could either leave a star rating, or reply “yes”, I would be very grateful.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Jim, there is a response back which I'd like to run past you. I am happy to pay for the next stage but it would make sense to continue with yourself rather than a new laywer. Is that possible please? Many thanks Sue.

Hi there, yes no problem - if you could please post a new question to the main site. It will not cost extra if you have membership. If you would like me to deal with the new question please mark it “For JIM only” and I will pick it up as soon as I can.

Many thanks

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Jim, just to report that I received a response straight away to accept our counter offer, so I think that counts as a win. Thank you so much, I'm so grateful for your help. Kind regards Sue.
That’s great news! Glad to have helped. Have a good evening. Jim