Unpaid invoice

Discussion in 'Just Talk' started by wiggy, Jan 22, 2022.

  1. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    Did some work for a local builder at the end of November. I was told to send my invoice to his email and it would be paid the following week. That didn't happen.

    I have since chased him via WhatsApp message numerous times and each time he has said he will get it paid. (so obviously no dispute on the invoice or amount, £1000)

    My last two messages have just been ignored. I will try a phone call today but dont hold out much hope.

    I am going to send him a final notice letter next week.

    He uses an accounting firm, where his business is registered.

    My questions are.

    Do I send the final notice to the accounting firm as well as him? even though I originally sent the invoice to what I assume is his personal email?

    Would I address the letter to the accounting firm where the company is registered or his home address? Which took some digging to find.

    Has anyone used a debt recovery agent before?

    Or small claims through the courts?

    Advice on the way forward?

  2. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    Issue the final demand to the registered address. Make it clear if not paid within 14 days it will go to small claims court

    do not bother with debt recovery agency. Small claims process is easy.

    keep screen prints of all correspondence including his agreement to pay.

    If not paid by deadline go on to money claim online and issue the claims. The process is easy and designed for layman. The fact that he has agreed to pay is enough for claim to go in your favour.

    Likely that when the claim lands he will pay. This will include interest and costs.

    Also when the claim lands he has 28 days to respond or you ask for a judgement in your favour on the grounds he has not responded. It is his problem to pick up post from the registered address.

    the only reason to use the home address is if you contracted with him personally and you are claiming personally
    wiggy likes this.
  3. ElecCEng

    ElecCEng Screwfix Select

    I would send recorded it to the registered company address, stating that you require payment within 21 days. If no response then pursue through MCOL. Even then, it may still be a challenge to get the money.

    @jonathanc beat me to it! Just check the 14/21/28 days are either pursuant with your terms, or the courts (MCOL).
    wiggy likes this.
  4. elecstick

    elecstick Screwfix Select

    I used to know someone who overcame these problems by getting some kind of order blocking the firms bank account, and miraculously he would get paid instantly. And it doesn't matter how big the company is, I believe the criteria are, proof of work complete and accepted, and the more promises to pay the better.
    wiggy likes this.
  5. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    Not going to happen these days!

    MCOL is the way to go
    wiggy and ElecCEng like this.
  6. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    You need a contract which can be acceptance of an email estimate.
    You need to include T&Cs including payment terms.
    Loads of information online for free so follow it and small claims is your best bet.
    You need to follow the advise for legal requirement or court will throw it out. Maybe consider using one of the online quoting and payment managing services from now on and maybe pay for legal document access as cheap enough. World is changing and us trades are not keeping up until we get burnt and wake up. It's all very stressful.
    Good luck though
    wiggy likes this.
  7. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    sorry I disagree here. The key facts are an invoice was presented and the builder wrote back agreeing to pay it. That closes off any argument about quality of work or amount. He had ample opportunity to dispute it but didn’t and said it would be paid.

    It is virtually impossible for the builder to defend a claim given that position.

    no need for legal advice or legal docs. Small claims track is designed for the layman. I have used it against national companies without advice and won
    wiggy and stevie22 like this.
  8. ElecCEng

    ElecCEng Screwfix Select

    Agree with @jonathanc. The times I’ve used MCOL the threshold has been much lower. All that was needed was an agreement to pay (which you have in your WhatsApp message) and evidence you’ve made the final demand with the relevant 14/21/28 time to pay (the instructions for MCOL will tell you which is correct).

    If you were to go to actual court with solicitors etc, then what @Wayners says probably holds true. Personally I think the MCOL route will resolve this. It counts as a CCJ so the accountant will be well aware of the implications.
    wiggy likes this.
  9. AndBlue

    AndBlue Member

    Formal letter to their address with proof of delivery as final reminder, include exact details of when payment is required (2.30pm Wednesday ?th), typically 7 or 14 days, failing that, action will be taken to recover this money along with all costs involved. Keep a record of all the actions, emails, whatsapps etc and time taken to get that far. If by 10am the following day you don't have funds in your account then start proceedings.
    If you don't specify a dates by which it needs to be paid, they can try loopholes to get around it. Set a time so the funds can be transferred to your account on that date and then checked the following day. Setting a tues/wed/thurs means you have time in the same week to start proceedings, rather than weekend lull.
    Nice to go to an accoutant, but debtor can simply say they changed accountants. Keep it simple.
    wiggy likes this.
  10. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    Thanks for all the info gents.
    Sent another message over the weekend, which has so far has been ignored.
    I will be sending a final notice today. I have all the messages etc so can back up everything.
    Its funny I warned one of the other guys on site what this bloke was all about and to watch his back and I am the one he is trying to shaft.
    First time for everything I guess.
  11. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    I hope that when the court papers land on his doorstep he’ll know you mean business. If he continues to ignore them well I think it should be easy to get a judgement in your favour
    Sparkielev and wiggy like this.
  12. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    Lets hope so. Its just grief I don't need, it puts me in such a rage which I have to talk myself down from it.

    Next time I will pay more heed to the signs.
    Messed me about constantly with work, sometimes cancelling the night before, Dangerously messy site, diabolical standards over the whole job, (most of what I was doing was just making good previous works), thousands upon thousands of pounds worth of new tools laying about, bragging about the years turnover but 180k over budget. The guys a conman and a cowboy, he will be folding before the years out I put money on it.
  13. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    As he's owed you £1000 since the end of November, the stark reality is he may well already be insolvent. Either you or your solicitor can easily do a check on him for CCJ's, both paid and unpaid.
    wiggy likes this.
  14. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    I suspect as much. He was hanging on back then, customer wasn't happy I know that much.
    Have sent the demand now so will just have to see.
  15. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    I think this might end up being one of those jobs you just have to put down to experience and move on. Just learn from the experience though. Jobbing builders can be and quite often are very "blaza" about paying anyone that works for them, that's why i myself NEVER EVER do any work for them unless i know them very well.
    longboat likes this.
  16. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    I think you could be right. Only reason I took it on was through a guy I had met on another job, it was good cash in hand to start with, it was only in the last week that it changed to invoice. Like i said above, I could see it happening, I even warned the bloke that got me on that this bloke would fold and to watch his back. If I take the tax off in my head and take in to account that he paid me an extra day in cash without realising it, it makes it a bit better. Plus I know there are other projects for the customer, which I cant see him getting because of the state of the current job, so I will approach her and see if I can get that work or even offer to be a witness when things hit the fan.

    First time in nearly 20 years, it could have been worse.
  17. wiggy

    wiggy Screwfix Select

    That worked, been paid.
    Thanks for all the tips. :)
    gadget man and Jord86 like this.

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