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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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It is a civil law question that we desperately want advice

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It is a civil law question that we desperately want advice on. It is to do with a contractor and payment, as well as his threatening behaviour.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Cambridge UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We have reported all threats to the police and have paid the original quoted money. We have also told him not to contact us again due to his threatening behaviour.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so

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.

The Police generally become involved if the harassment (the threatening behaviour) crosses the line in to criminal territory. That would mean very serious harassment such as stalking and threats to do harms etc.

I recommend asking the Police for an update on the 101 number to see if they can do something.

There is a further option and that would be to apply to the local county court for a civil injunction which is a court order prohibiting further contact.

Before you may this application (which is considered to be a last resort) you should send a cease and desist letter to warn the contractor of your intentions unless they stop (and give them 14 days to stop their conduct to allow them to seek legal advice). A template “cease and desist” letter is available at LawDepot

If you go to the search box in the top right corner of the site, it will bring up a list - you want the "general" letter.

You can use your own letter if you wish - it just has to make it clear this is a cease and desist letter, that you demand they stop their conduct, and that if they do not within 14 days you will apply to the court for the injunction and seek your costs.

That letter may well be enough to stop the conduct - as an injunction is a serious legal remedy. The judge will want to see that you have sent the cease and desist letter given an injunction is a last resort.

Assuming they continue, you will need to complete the application for the injunction and send to your county court.

If the injunction application is successful you can ask the court for a costs order to be paid by the contractor.

The court will list a hearing where you attend and ask the District Judge for an order and the injunction. The application would be made under Section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment is defined as “unwanted conduct designed to cause the victim alarm or distress”. There needs to be more than one incidence of the harassing behaviour but based on your question it seems that to be the case so you would be fine with applying in my view.

If granted, the Order is then served on the individual concerned and they are bound by the court order - if they breach the order, they are in contempt of court and could well face a fine and a prison term. The order will say they must stop their conduct with immediate effect. They are very effective given the consequences of breaching the terms of the injunction.

The cease and desist letter will hopefully work so you may not need to apply but if you then I recommend you ask one of the following law firms to step in - they should be able to claim their costs from the contractor so would be worth asking them to help you with this:

  1. https://www.luptonfawcett.com/commercial-disputes-litigation/injunctions/

  2. https://www.gannons.co.uk/commercial-litigation/injunctions/

  3. https://www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/commercial-dispute-resolution/applying-injunction

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,
Jim

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,

Jim

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hi Jim, thank you for your quick response and advise. As it has only been multiple texts but over one day I am not sure this is needed yet. But if it continues this is extremely helpful for us to know. Our main current issue is that due to the threatening nature of the texts we cut contact. Therefore there was no chance to discuss paying for the extra service the contractor made whilst doing the agreed work in our house. We were open to discussion and for him to come and fix the issues but before we managed to send him a response email he had threatened to enter our home and remove everything he had done. (This was less than 24hrs after we received the invoice). We are worried and very stressed about what he might do and are considering just paying the extra money invoiced. Then if need be going to small claims court to get the money back. We just want to know if this is the right Couse of action. We also want to send him an email repeating that he is not welcome on our property again and that we can send his sign (advertisement) back to his work address.

If you have reached an impasse and the relationship has broken down then you are fine to ignore the texts and cut the communication.
It sounds like you are a consumer (not a trader or a business) so you have stronger protection in law too.
It is a common situation - they threaten to come to the house and remove the work, or they threaten to refuse to leave until you pay them, etc.
The small claims route is the way forwards if the money owed is under £10,000, yes.
I would not recommend you pay them either - as whilst you can sue for the money, the way they have acted - they are unlikely to pay a CCJ meaning you will have gone to the time and money to sue only to have no recoverability at the end of the process. Some traders even dissolve their companies to avoid paying a court judgment.
You should ban him from the property and if he arrives, call the Police. I think it's safe to say if you did invite them back, they would not do a good job to remedy any work.

You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards (who can be contacted via this site: https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/contact/).

The sign can be sent back but I would not pay any money to do this - after all you are the aggrieved consumer. Perhaps put it somewhere where he can collect it, away from your property.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
We were planning on reporting him to trading standards. Should we not do this and only threaten?
I’d do both as trading standards may decide to take action so others are not treated in the same way
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
We are very uncomfortable with him coming anywhere near our property, so we are reluctant to move his poster to another place and not just send it to him. We are happy to incure the small charge so he does not come near the property or us. Can you advise?
Sounds reasonable to me. If you involved the court the judge would consider the conduct of the parties and whether the actions were reasonable or not. You’re in a strong position as you are a consumer. Thanks
JimLawyer and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you for all of your help and advice on this matter.