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Invoiced 13 Years Later

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Hi All,

Today we arrived home to an unexpected invoice, this invoice was from a local builder who did some work on our home nearly 13 years ago, this is a builder who walked off the job as we refused to deal with another tradesman that was giving him a back hander for recommending him to carry out work in our home.

What are my rights with this? am I right that under the Limitations Act 1980, he has 6 years to hand us an invoice?

This invoice is just shy of 8k and it's definitely something we cannot afford at the moment.

Any help would be appreciated. 


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  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,543 Forumite
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    Assuming there had been no other demands in the interim, yes he's too late to start chasing for payment now.
  • Jenni_D
    Jenni_D Posts: 5,124 Forumite
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    edited 24 May 2022 at 4:18PM
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    Sort of correct. There's nothing stopping him raising a claim, or giving you an invoice, but you have a statutory defence that any such claim is time-barred.

    If this is in Scotland then any alleged debt is quashed once it is time-barred - it no longer exists, so any such claim (Simple Procedure in Scotland) probably wouldn't get past the first assessment.

    Edit: in response to the OP. The above reply wasn't there when I started typing :)
    Jenni x
  • Blemaepico
    Blemaepico Posts: 13 Forumite
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    user1977 said:
    Assuming there had been no other demands in the interim, yes he's too late to start chasing for payment now.
    thanks for your reply, could you elaborate more on the no other demands, he has slagged us off at the pub to other people saying we owe him money but he has never actually told us how much we owe him.
  • Jenni_D
    Jenni_D Posts: 5,124 Forumite
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    edited 24 May 2022 at 4:20PM
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    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.
    Jenni x
  • Blemaepico
    Blemaepico Posts: 13 Forumite
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    Jenni_D said:
    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.

    Thank you, this is what I had thought, we have never had any letter / invoice to inform us of the amount owed, this is the first time we have received anything formal. 

    He's the kind of guy to try everything to make us pay, he's told other people that he would get solicitors on to us if we don't pay etc. 

    Do we need to involve a solicitor to let him know that we will not be paying?
  • Ditzy_Mitzy
    Ditzy_Mitzy Posts: 1,861 Forumite
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    No need for a solicitor at this stage from your perspective, he's the one trying to get money out of you don't forget.  You've nothing to gain by doing anything other than filing the 'invoice' somewhere safe.  
  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,921 Forumite
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    edited 24 May 2022 at 4:44PM
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    Jenni_D said:
    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.

    Thank you, this is what I had thought, we have never had any letter / invoice to inform us of the amount owed, this is the first time we have received anything formal. 

    He's the kind of guy to try everything to make us pay, he's told other people that he would get solicitors on to us if we don't pay etc. 

    Do we need to involve a solicitor to let him know that we will not be paying?
    Sadly that doesn't mean he won't produce a copy of paperwork he will claim to have sent you!

    Ultimately if this goes to court a judge would have to decided, on the balance of probabilities, who he believes. As long as the judge believes you then it is statute barred. 

    It is an odd situation as you still owe the money (or some of it after and disputes about workmanship etc are resolved) but there is no means of legally forcing you to pay.

    Sadly though it could still get unpleasant and being legally in the right (on a bit of a technicality) only gets you so far.

    A solicitor's letter may work or you could run yourselves up quite a bill.

    The moral in all of this is that the matter should have been resolved properly at the time. Assuming he had done some work that was satisfactory it is unlikely you could have got away (legally) with paying him nothing at all just because he refused to complete.

    Was no invoice of any kind raised at the time?
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,543 Forumite
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    Jenni_D said:
    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.
    Thank you, this is what I had thought, we have never had any letter / invoice to inform us of the amount owed, this is the first time we have received anything formal. 

    He's the kind of guy to try everything to make us pay, he's told other people that he would get solicitors on to us if we don't pay etc. 

    So have you received anything informal? Your OP made it sound like this had come out of the blue, but now it isn't so clear.
  • Blemaepico
    Blemaepico Posts: 13 Forumite
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    Jenni_D said:
    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.

    Thank you, this is what I had thought, we have never had any letter / invoice to inform us of the amount owed, this is the first time we have received anything formal. 

    He's the kind of guy to try everything to make us pay, he's told other people that he would get solicitors on to us if we don't pay etc. 

    Do we need to involve a solicitor to let him know that we will not be paying?
    Sadly that doesn't mean he won't produce a copy of paperwork he will claim to have sent you!

    Ultimately if this goes to court a judge would have to decided, on the balance of probabilities, who he believes. As long as the judge believes you then it is statute barred. 

    It is an odd situation as you still owe the money (or some of it after and disputes about workmanship etc are resolved) but there is no means of legally forcing you to pay.

    Sadly though it could still get unpleasant and being legally in the right (on a bit of a technicality) only gets you so far.

    A solicitor's letter may work or you could run yourselves up quite a bill.
    Thank you, I don't think he would produce any made up letters as he would have to provide the dates the work was carried out, these dates ''officially'' was time he was off on the sick and was claming benefits for. (we only know this as we were told by a third party)

  • Blemaepico
    Blemaepico Posts: 13 Forumite
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    user1977 said:
    Jenni_D said:
    He needs to have made a formal claim for the alleged debt - submitted an invoice for example - at some point between the original date and 6 years later. Talking about it in the pub doesn't count.
    Thank you, this is what I had thought, we have never had any letter / invoice to inform us of the amount owed, this is the first time we have received anything formal. 

    He's the kind of guy to try everything to make us pay, he's told other people that he would get solicitors on to us if we don't pay etc. 

    So have you received anything informal? Your OP made it sound like this had come out of the blue, but now it isn't so clear.
    Just what we have heard from other people about him slagging us off in the pub for owing him money.
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