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JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I foolishly signed a contract with a private debt collecting

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Hello. I foolishly signed a contract with a private debt collecting agency (Nightfox) to collect money from our builder who left our house mid build and liquidated his company. Can the builder then sue me. I've put his name on the form not his old company. I haven't instructed them to go ahead yet.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England - Uxbridge
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: They met with me yesterday and hard selled, promising that everything was legal. Signed a contract and have paid for this. But I want to tell them not to go ahead if its not legal although they say everything they do is legal.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The building contract was in my husbands name, the contract with Nightfox is signed by me. The builder has liquidated his company.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

A contract would be legal if what they do is legal in the eyes of the law. However, being pressure-sold can mean a contract is void. So it depends on the tactics they used when they signed you up. Who to pursue depends on who your contract was with - either the builder or his company. If he was a sole trader then you still sue him personally. If he had a limited company then that is a legal entity in its own right - meaning you can sue the limited company but not if it is now dissolved as once it is dissolved it no longer exists. To sue a company which is now dissolved means you need to apply to reinstate it to the register but this is only worthwhile if the company has the means to pay which it probably doesn't by now.
You can sue the builder if they fell foul of the Companies Act 2006 law - so if they misled you negligently or deliberately, or they let the company enter in to a contract with you knowing the company could not pay it's debts - the builder becomes personally liable meaning you can sue them even if the contract was between you and the now dissolved company.

I am not sure why the builder would choose to sue you when they left the house mid-build and then liquidated their company. Dodgy tradesmen do this to avoid having to pay a court judgment. You could continue with the debt collection agency but bear in mind they have no powers as such. They will go and knock on the builder's door and ask for payment. They cannot force entry or take goods. Only a court bailiff can do that, meaning you have to successfully sue the builder first to obtain a court judgment and then enforce it if he doesn't pay. As to the legality of the agency, you can ask Trading Standards for their view on 0800(###) ###-####but nothing in your question sounds like they have acted illegally.
I am happy to refine the answer if you want to provide further details.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,


Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Just worried that the building contract was with the builder's company (LTD) and i've contacted and signed the contract with Nightfox - don't want him suing my husband. He left us on a building site for 1 and a half years, with rats and everything. We were emotionally and mentally affected so clouded my judgement when signing with Nightfox.

I don't see a problem, I don't see a reason for the builder to sue your husband for this. It is telling that the builder has dissolved their company - it usually means they have disappeared and they don't want to be sued themselves.

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