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Company demanding money from us

flyerflyer Forumite
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Long story short, a recruitment company approached us a few months ago and offered to send us suitable candidates for a vacancy we had. They assured us they had approx 20 candidates on their "green light." This meant they were current and actively seeking employment. I was a bit skeptical but signed up on that basis. They sent me 5 candidate Cvs, 2 of which were completely unsuitable. I contacted the other 3 but none responded, which confirmed my original concerns. A subsequent Google search produced damming Trustpilot reviews where others have been conned. I refused to pay and now I have received a letter from Thomas Higgins Solicitors demanding payment. I would welcome thoughts on how to proceed.
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
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  • DullGreyGuyDullGreyGuy Forumite
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    What were the T&Cs you agreed to?

    When using recruitment companies we normally would use them on a contingent/success basis... we hire from them we pay them a fairly notable fee (contractors would be 15%-20% typically) and we dont hire from them they get nothing for their efforts. Others work on a retainer or T&M basis where the fees are lower but you pay irrespective of the results. 
  • flyerflyer Forumite
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    This company has a unique operating method in that you pay a fixed fee up front and they send as many candidates as they have over a one month period. If you don't recruit in month one, they give you a second month FOC. My point is I only signed up on the basis they had 20 candidates current and seeking employment.
    Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • Jeremy535897Jeremy535897 Forumite
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    Is there any written evidence of that requirement in the contract?
  • flyerflyer Forumite
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    Not that I can see
    Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • flyerflyer Forumite
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    Actually, I can't see any terms and conditions, just an order form (which I signed) and an invoice. The order form is very basic.
    Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • Jeremy535897Jeremy535897 Forumite
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    The problem is that it is your word against theirs, then.
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    What did you send them to allow them to judge what sort of candidates would be suitable? 

    If you sent them a clear specification, and you can easily show a court that the candidates they sent didn't meet the specification, then in the absence of any contract terms stating the degree to which the candidates need to meet the specification, I would expect a court to side with you. You are likely to need professional legal advice before you contact them again.  
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • flyerflyer Forumite
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    The problem is that it is your word against theirs, then.
    I agree, but the Trustpilot reviews show this is how they operate!
    Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • flyerflyer Forumite
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    tacpot12 said:
    What did you send them to allow them to judge what sort of candidates would be suitable? 

    If you sent them a clear specification, and you can easily show a court that the candidates they sent didn't meet the specification, then in the absence of any contract terms stating the degree to which the candidates need to meet the specification, I would expect a court to side with you. You are likely to need professional legal advice before you contact them again.  
    I sent them a job description and, to be honest, the 3 candidates they sent appeared to be suitable. However, the fact they didn't respond clearly demonstrates they were not actively looking for a job. I get the impression they simply trawl other job sites and cherry pick applicants.
    Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • inspectorperezinspectorperez Forumite
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    I suspect this maybe one of those lessons in life learned the hard way.

    After 50 odd years in the accountancy profession and dealing with professional recruitment over the years, I quickly discovered that studying T&Cs was essential before getting into bed with any recruitment agency. To be successful they had to be hard nosed and some were definitely on the brink of being shady.

    Good luck and unless the fee is significant, I would be tempted to pay up under protest and make it clear that you will certainly not be recommending them to anyone within your own commercial circle.

    Just as an aside however, there are also businesses who would try and sidestep leads provided by agencies (and follow up privately at a later date), so there is a case to be made so they can protect as far as they can their own fee earning capacity.
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