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    • Jezzer17
    • By Jezzer17 7th Jul 17, 12:26 PM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Disputing a debt
    • #1
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:26 PM
    Disputing a debt 7th Jul 17 at 12:26 PM
    Hi - this perhaps isn't a typical post on this forum but I'm hoping the same legal principles apply so there may be some relevant expertise here to pass comment on my situation.

    We hired an architect some months ago and following terrible service (poor communication, very late deliverables etc) I emailed him to terminate the contract. He replied in agreement.

    Subsequently, he sent me an invoice for some of the deliverables that he did make, which are far less extensive than he originally quoted for + of little use to me, as any new architect would want to repeat the work, to ensure the measurements are correct.

    In an attempt to get closure, I plan to send him a cheque for a proportion of the amount invoiced with a letter stating that it's in "Full & Final Settlement". However the National Debtline's website suggests getting agreement on the reduced sum before making any payment, in case the creditor banks the money and continues to chase the balance.

    My view is that he would be far more likely to accept my offer if the money is staring him in the face (in the form of a cheque) and if he banked it and then chased me for the balance, no court in the land would support him, if he eventually chose to take us to the Small Claims Court, for example. The bank statement showing the banked cheque should, I'd hope, be sufficient evidence to show that he had accepted the offer.

    Does anyone here understand the legal position? Any thoughts/comments?

    Thanks in anticipation.
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    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 7th Jul 17, 12:30 PM
    • 1,449 Posts
    • 1,244 Thanks
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:30 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:30 PM
    Accepting part payment without prejudice does not preclude asking for the rest.

    You need the agreement first because yes, they can bank the money and chase the balance. You may dispute the balance, but then, that'll be the courts decision! They could say, you owe this money anyway, I do not need to accept this as settlement as you owe the money, and you need to pay the rest.

    Make the offer first. Send money only on acceptance.
    • zx81
    • By zx81 7th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    • 14,895 Posts
    • 15,717 Thanks
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    Every court in the land would support him.

    Accepting a part payment doesn't deny him the right to pursue the remainder. That would be mad.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 7th Jul 17, 12:34 PM
    • 13,055 Posts
    • 12,366 Thanks
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:34 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Jul 17, 12:34 PM
    Agree with stop it on this, the agreement needs to be made in writing first, before any money changes hands.

    The National Debtline template letter contains all the correct legal wording.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to Any views are mine and not the official line of

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see :
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 7th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • 2,287 Posts
    • 3,242 Thanks
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    He's entitled to bill for the work he has done at whatever rates you agreed with him under the contract. The fact that you don't feel you can use this work isn't his problem.

    The legal position is that at present you're disputing an invoice. Every court in the land will assert his right to chase for the full amount, plus (if stated in the terms of payment) interest on outstanding amounts remaining outwith those payment terms.

    You CANNOT unilaterally do as you propose.

    The correct remedy would be to agree for the invoice to be amended or reissued, showing a lower amount which you both agree on. This you then pay in full.
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