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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 77784
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a client that do not want to pay me over groundless

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Hi there, I have a client that do not want to pay me over groundless accusations. However, I have an agreement and proof of everything. I am a designer and bought products for his shop - it is a physical shop. If he doesn't pay me, could I resort to remove the products from his shop and take with me as a refund?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have sent him the invoices so he would pay.
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 client has been extremely abusive throughout the project. Including shouting, messaging harassment, public harassment and even tried to grab me by my arm.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

I am sorry to learn of the difficulty you are experiencing with this client that does not want to pay you. Please provide some more details of why they are taking this position?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi Ben, of course.

Thank you. 

I am sorry to learn of the difficulty you are experiencing with this client that does not want to pay you. Please provide some more details of why they are taking this position?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
The client has shown to be the type that will try and take advantage of anyone to be honest. So he is just trying his luck. It is obviously much easier to do it to me a woman interior designer than the male handyman or painter
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
He isn't in fact giving me a reason not to pay me, just allegedly being unsatisfied with my service (after it is all completely and that he showed to be happy with it in person).

OK I understand. So how much are you owed in total please?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
163;445.40
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
This would work out as their curtains, mirrors, designer hooks and LED lighting. Which I can easily take off the shop and bring home with me - if you feel like this is my right?

Thank you, ***** ***** long has it been outstanding for?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
since the 1st may

Thank you, ***** ***** are you payment terms?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Financial
Fee type Fixed Fee
Proposed Service £1,300Payment Plan
1ST Installment – Upfront £650
2nd Installment – 1st May £650
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
This is what I have on my agreement
Same thing on the invoice

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now. I will get back to you with my full reply on here; usually the same day. The system will notify you when this happens. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** very much looking forward to it.

No problem at all. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

You cannot just go into the shop and star removing products from there, especially if he says that you are not allowed on site, in which case you would be trespassing. If things get physical you could even be reported to the police and you would be the bad person, even if you are the one owed money.

Instead, you should look at pursuing the other person for the money owed separately. If money is owed by one party to another, the debtor can potentially be taken to court to try and force them to pay up. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the money that is owed. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome. There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The debtor will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the debtor that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial repayment.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi Ben, thank you for the clarification. Can I propose to take the products as a mean to refund me for the value he doesn't want to pay?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Also, would you have a template or a suggestion of wording for the 'reminder letter' or 'letter before action' so I can come across as professional as possible?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
lastly, should I raise any legal action against his abusive manner and public haressment?

Hello again and thank you for your further queries, which I will be more than happy to answer. You can indeed propose that you take the goods instead of a refund but only if they are happy to do this, in other words you cannot force them to,

Sadly we are just a basic chat service and have no templates but if you search online there would be plenty available.

Finally it is unlikely that you can do much about the abusive manner as it would not really amount to specifically unlawful behaviour, just unprofessional and unethical acts. Obviously, if things get worse and there are direct threats made to your safety then the police can be contacted

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

Ben Jones and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Everything is now sorted. Thank you very much Ben and all the best!

My pleasure