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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17401
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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We recently sign a contract lease for a Ghost kitchen. Where

Customer Question

Good morningWe recently sign a contract lease for a Ghost kitchen. Where we use delivery platforms to generate sales. The landlord told us that the delivery platforms take 30% of our takings. So we was aware of this and was still happy to go ahead. Since trading we have discovered a few hidden charges which has made it impossible to make any money and if we were told about all these extras it would have effected our decision to sign the lease.
We would just like some advice on what we can do.
Regards Sia
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Greater Manchester
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

I am one of the legal experts on the site and I am a dual-qualified solicitor (UK & Republic of Ireland)

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Sorry to hear of the issue.

This is a business to business contract ("B2B") and as such consumer law does not apply.

However, contract law does apply and if you were misled or there were hidden charges, this may make the contract void.

Having hidden charges would be against the Office of Far Trading's Guidance and as such would likely make the contract void.

If you were induced to sign the lease without being told of anything hidden, this is clear misrepresentation.

As to what you can do, you could negotiate with the other party or you could terminate, citing the above. If you decided to terminate then you could demand your money back in full.

You could do this yourself or you could use a lawyer - you may want to use a lawyer if it's likely you will have to sue for your money back though that depends on the size of the claim (e.g. a claim under £10,000 is a small claims case and you wouldn't need a lawyer).

I can give you suggested wording for a letter before action if that helps (a letter before action is required before you sue someone - to give them a chance to resolve this without having to use the court) and I have further details on how to commence court proceedings if that helps too.

Similarly I can also give you a list of law firms who may be able to assist you with the dispute if you preferred to have a lawyer involved.


Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

I hope this helps

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope this answers the question.

If you have any follow up questions or if you would like me to clarify anything I have said, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Many thanks,

Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Just a final note that if you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question starting off with @JimLawyer.

I look forward to helping you again soon.

Thanks again,

Jim



Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you for your advice and I would like a wording of letter and more information.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

Hi there, thanks - the letter would look like the following :

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

(insert their name and address)          (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sirs,

Re: Claim for (insert sum)

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute).

Given the fact there are hidden charges, I would not have entered in to the agreement with you and on that basis I feel that I have been misled, under the Misrepresentation Act 1967. I now wish to terminate and demand a full refund in the sum of £.....

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to 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.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against your company for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on (insert date 14 calendar days). I will also report you to the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards if you force me to sue for my money back.

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)


Expert:  JimLawyer replied 9 days ago.

You will need to tailor this letter to your situation.

The pre action protocol confirms you should send the letter to give the other party a chance to avoid court action and to pay you.

The courts encourage compliance with the protocol as it can result in a resolution without having to involve the court.

If you decided to issue a claim, you would then need to register at the money claim online site (http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome) so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you.

The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site. Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are generally not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. This means the parties are on an equal footing, so you don’t need to worry about legal costs if you lost.

A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case. The court will then issue the claim and they will send you "notice of issue". The papers are served on the defendant who then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim - they do this by filling out an acknowledgment of service and they post it to the court.

They indicate their intention when they do this, i.e. whether they admit the claim in full or partly, or if they deny the claim. If they want to defend the claim then their defence is due by 28 days from the date the court served them with the papers.

The central court processing centre then sends the claim to the defendant's home county court for case management and directions - the directions will give a list of dates which you both must comply with.

The court should offer you mediation to encourage you to resolve the dispute early on - though for mediation to work both parties have to agree to participate.

If there is no settlement then the claim will be dealt with at a final hearing which takes anything from 9 to 12 months from when you start the claim - longer if the claim is of higher value. You can pursue the claim yourself or use a law firm.

For the hearing you can use an advocate if you wish, though it's not compulsory. I have details of law firms and advocacy agencies if you would like those. Though in a small claim you won't be able to recover their charges from your opponent. A small claims hearing is easy to deals with- it's quite informal and no lawyer is required.

Claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are subject to fixed costs only so if you lose then the risk is minimal. Further, the money claim website allows you to sue for an amount up to £100,000. For sums over this figure you would need to use the paper method (I have the forms if required).

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1056804/EX50_web_0222.pdf) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment.

So for example if you were owed £10,000, interest would be £2.20 per day, which you can also claim. The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim. If a hearing is required then there is a fee for this too - see page 7 of the previous link for details. Again, that fee is recoverable if you win.

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company if £750 or more is owed (if suing a limited company), apply to summons them to court for questioning, attachment of earnings order against their employer (if employed), apply to bankrupt them if they are an individual or sole trader and they owe £5,000 or more - all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.