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  • FIRST POST
    • AllTheQuestions
    • By AllTheQuestions 14th Oct 16, 10:09 AM
    • 3Posts
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    AllTheQuestions
    Court papers advice
    • #1
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:09 AM
    Court papers advice 14th Oct 16 at 10:09 AM
    Hi,

    Looking for a little bit of guidance please.

    In July a company I had previously bought services from contacted me quite out of the blue to say I had overpaid an invoice (double paid it) and was due a refund - at the time I queried it strongly because I didn't recall doing so but they were adamant and a refund was issued. I used that money to settle some bills and so don't have it now.

    In August they wrote back saying they had made a mistake and they shouldn't have issued a refund. They gave me a few weeks to reply and repay the money. I was dealing with a seriously ill family member at the time so it took me to the deadline to reply and in the reply i explained that I had used the money to pay bills and was not in a position to repay.

    A few days later I recieved court papers from them - no other reply or discussion - claiming i've got an unpaid invoice (the original invoice that they said I'd paid twice hence the refund) also adding on £70 in court fees. My options are to pay in full, admit part or dispute (make a counterclaim).

    As a pensioner on a limited income I'm not in a position to pay the full amount - I'd have been happy to enter in to a discussion with them and make arrangements to pay back over time, but they've gone straight down the legal route, which feels a bit strong and now there are legal costs as well making it even less affordable.

    Can anyone offer me advice - should I contest it? Would the court allow me to pay it back over time - will they add interest? The company is claiming 8% interest too. I'm very distressed to the point of illness now so any help people can offer would be most welcome.

    Thanks
Page 1
    • fermi
    • By fermi 14th Oct 16, 10:17 AM
    • 39,076 Posts
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    fermi
    • #2
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:17 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:17 AM
    Is this a local or national company?
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

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    • AllTheQuestions
    • By AllTheQuestions 14th Oct 16, 10:19 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    AllTheQuestions
    • #3
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:19 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:19 AM
    As far as I know they are local.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 14th Oct 16, 10:22 AM
    • 11,023 Posts
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    Voyager2002
    • #4
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:22 AM
    • #4
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:22 AM
    Well, you should not worry about it, certainly not to the point of illness.

    Courts prefer things to be settled amicably rather than by a court hearing, so if at this stage you approach the company and seek to negotiate a reasonable solution that will count in your favour (and against them if they don't cooperate). At some stage in the proceedings, well before it gets to court, you will both receive details of a mediation service and be invited to use it to find some kind of sensible compromise.

    If the worst comes to the worst, there will be a court hearing -- a meeting between you, someone from the company, and a judge. The judge will make a decision that seems to her/him fair and sensible; will probably order you to make a payment to the company; and will take account of your income and circumstances in ordering how much you should pay each month. Note that unless you manage to pay off the full amount that the judge chooses within 30 days, a CCJ will be recorded against your name making it more difficult to obtain credit.

    I hope you know that this is handled in the County Court system, which is completely different from the system of courts used for criminal matters.
    • fermi
    • By fermi 14th Oct 16, 10:23 AM
    • 39,076 Posts
    • 46,881 Thanks
    fermi
    • #5
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:23 AM
    • #5
    • 14th Oct 16, 10:23 AM
    I haven't got much time this morning, but if it was me I think I would be telling the company that you will be talking to the local press about them taking a pensioner to court over a bill you had already paid, and which the company due to their own incompetence insisted should be refunded.

    I would invite them to withdraw court proceedings and to deal with you in a more reasonable and appropriate manner.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Bankruptcy, Credit Cards and Loans boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com

    Free/impartial debt advice: National Debtline | StepChange Debt Charity | Find your local CAB

    IVA & fee charging DMP companies: Profits from misery, motivated ONLY by greed
  • esmerellda
    • #6
    • 14th Oct 16, 11:39 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Oct 16, 11:39 AM
    Okay your first step is to 'acknowledge' the court claim, with intent to defend in full. You can do this by completing the form in the response pack or by logging in on MoneyClaim online. ONLY acknowledge at this stage. This extends the amount of time you have to sort things out ( 33 days from the date printed on the claim form)


    Many people with weak claims assume if they bring a court claim it will simply scare people so much they'll just pay up or allow them to obtain a default judgment.

    You should make this company work for it and evidence their claim. They insisted that you were due a refund, and despite your querying it, made the payment to you which you accepted in good faith. they have now changed their minds - so I'd guess their accounting systems and records aren't particularly up to scratch.


    So you should write formally to the claimant, as Fermi says inviting them to withdraw, and alternatively supply all the relevant documents to back up their claim.


    If you would be able to type out the precise wording in their court claim - the bit marked ' Particulars of Claim ' that would be really helpful and will give you a hand writing to them.


    How was the service previously charged - was it via an invoice which you paid each time ? Do you have copies of those invoices still ?


    Also if you paid by Bank transfer or Debit/Credit Card do you still have your relevant statements which show payments made to the company, and the refund possibly ?


    I don't know if you have a full defence to the claim without knowing more information ( what kind of service was this ? As a local company I'm guessing not a Utility Bill ?


    How much approximately are they claiming ? Under £1500 ? (as the court fee is £70)


    Also, was any of the refund offer/challenge/acceptance in writing or was it all verbal ? Letters/emails ?


    Ensuring they are made to fully evidence their claim may incline them more to accepting a reasonable ( affordable) monthly settlement without any associated County Court Judgment.


    Probably enough queries for the moment, try not to worry, people on here will help all they are able
    LegalBeagles
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 14th Oct 16, 12:13 PM
    • 2,102 Posts
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    LadyDee
    • #7
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:13 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:13 PM
    Esmerellda, what a helpful person you are - I hope if I ever need this type of advice you are around for guidance & support!
    • AllTheQuestions
    • By AllTheQuestions 14th Oct 16, 12:19 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    AllTheQuestions
    • #8
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:19 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:19 PM
    My daughter spoke to them on Monday and they promised to discuss the case & contact her by Tuesday to discuss. She missed a call from them while at work and they text to say they would call her but nothing since.

    It's complicated in regard to the paperwork as the invoice relates to my late father, and i never thought I'd need the papers. The original invoice was paid from his account which I was a signatory on and since his passing earlier this year has been closed. I must admit that I simply didn't think I'd need any of it and now i feel silly for doing so.

    When they sent the refund I think there was only a slip not a letter - everything else was done on the phone.

    They said they've changed bookkeepers and thats why the mistake happened.

    Thank you for your advice, I think I'll go online and dispute the claim and send them a letter. Seems like the way forward.
  • esmerellda
    • #9
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:56 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Oct 16, 12:56 PM
    Okay that sounds a little more complex but not majorly. I am very sorry for your loss. Is the claim and previous communications in your name? Don't worry about the paperwork, we're all guilty of ditching stuff once we think it's been dealt with - else we'd all have to pay bedroom tax for the paperwork storage room...lol


    To send them a letter you really want to be requesting copies of the documents that they are relying on in bringing the case ( it's known as a request under CPR 31.14 ) There is a basic example here CPR 31.14 Request which is aimed at consumer credit cases so will need amending but should give you a good starting point. Feel free to post over there too, it's where I 'live' normally xxx
    LegalBeagles
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