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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11297
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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We paid a subcontractors invoice for £8400 we have since

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hI,
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: Hi, We paid a subcontractors invoice for £8400 we have since found out that the bank details on their headed paper emailed to us was fraudulent, they are now threatening to take us to the small claims court for non payment but in our accounts we have paid.The bank original;y advised us to contact the police and since then both the police and our Insurance company have advised us not to pay as that is admitting responsibility and they dont think it was but is part of an ongoing investigation. I am concerned that it will affect our good reputation and credit in the future if we do not. Can you advise how to respond. Many Thanks Linda
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Scotland
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Scotland but the subcontractor is in England
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I dont think so

Hi, this is Jim, thank you very much for the question - I will resolve this for you today.

They are wrong in trying to pin blame on you for non-payment. It was their invoice which was subject to fraud, by a scammer changing the account details. The issue is at their end - how can a court penalise you for paying an invoice which was prima facie legitimate. Yes, it may affect matters if you do not pay, but at the same time why should you if the vulnerability for fraud was at their end?. I certainly don't think they would win a small claim if they decided to issue one. If they do issue a claim, they will serve a claim form on you, and the court will include a response pack to let you respond to the claim - you should defend it in full in my view. It would take well in excess of 6 months for the court to decide this case - but as I say, having dealt with similar claims, the courts are highly unlikely to penalise you for this. The reply to the claimant should be that their claim will fail and that if they choose to sue, you will defend the claim. You can point out the unfortunately situation for them, but then their fraud measures should now be improved so they do not fall victim to this again.

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

Have a good day,
Jim

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi Jim,
Thank you so much for your prompt response, I think they are trying to scare us into paying it again. i will take your advice and reply.
Many Thanks
Linda

Yes, I would think they are trying to scare you - you are the innocent party here - their invoice was intercepted. They should have contacted you over the phone to confirm the bank details before paying - I think this situation will prompt them to do that in future.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi, My husband who is the company director has just come in and is saying that the original invoice had their correct bank details but when we replied to ask for their CIS Details they sent us the bank details again in a word document on a headed paper document attached with the same bank details as the original invoice(the correct ones) when we replied the next time to ask again for the CIS details so I could verify them with HMRC that wthe false bank details came to us on headed paper. We verified them with HMRC which was correct and accepted so we had no reason to query the bank details at this point so paid them. They are solely blaming us but the email came from them and if they had sent the CIS details when asked this would never have happened. Does this make any difference to the advice you have given us. Linda

Hi Linda, they should not have sent you a Word document - it can be edited easily - whereas a PDF document cannot be. My view is that this is entirely their fault, not yours. For a sum like that, to change a Word document to something more secure is a no-brainer and anyone can do it. There is really no excuse for them, and now they are threatening court proceedings.

JimLawyer and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Perfect thank you. Linda

No problem, thanks and have a nice evening.