Taking Legal Action
Unfortunately, there are those customers who refuse to pay or stop paying without providing a good reason. Whilst we always endeavour to get these accounts back on track through our standard collections activity; some customers just refuse to communicate. In these rare cases, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept that you have taken a loss on this sale. We can take legal action to recover the balance owing. This would result in a County Court Judgment (CCJ) being obtained against the customer.
How would we decide who to take legal action against?
This is entirely your choice, we will take instruction from you.
However, we can help you to make that decision if you are unsure whether it is the right course of action. Our service includes a pre-legal report which means the very first thing we do is research the customer thoroughly to make sure we have all the correct contact details and find out as much information about them as possible. This will give you a more solid foundation on which to base your decision about taking legal action.
If we feel it is not the most beneficial route to take, we will tell you – after all, we don’t want you wasting your time and money. Having said this, as previously stated, we take instruction from you; so, if you still want to move forward with legal action, you can just say the word!
How does it work?
Our process consists of the following steps:
1: Pre-legal report and LBA – We research the customer and compile a pre-legal report, helping you decide whether you want to go forward with legal action. We send a Letter Before Action (LBA) telling the customer that if they do not contact us within 14 days, legal action will commence.
2: POCs – If the customer does not respond to the LBA, we will move on and complete the Particulars Of Claim (POCs). This is where we enter the details of the claim through the online court system. The court fees will be added to the customer’s outstanding balance, so you can recover this cost. The customer will then be notified that legal action has begun.
3: Requesting CCJ - If the customer does not respond or responds admitting the outstanding debt, we then proceed to request a County Court Judgment (CCJ). Once the CCJ has been requested, it will usually be granted within a couple of days.
4: CCJ Obtained – Once the CCJ has been obtained, we write to inform the customer. They are encouraged to call us and address the balance, but advised that if they don’t we can look to enforce the CCJ. This means we can look to get an Attachment of Earnings order, whereby the court will contact their employer and have an amount deducted directly from their wages each month; or an Enforcement Officer may visit their property. These steps would incur further costs; and in the case of using an enforcement officer, mean transferring the case to the High Court.
If at stage 2 (POCs) the customer defends the claim, the case will proceed to a hearing. We will try to mediate before this happens, but if there is no alternative we can produce a written response to the court followed by a witness statement. There is rarely a need to attend the hearing (unless you want to) as a witness statement can be heard in your absence.
Why use us instead of a solicitor?
You can, of course, use a solicitor to carry out the legal action. There are three main reasons that using us instead will benefit you.
1: We will be cheaper. There are set costs for some of the process and some will vary purely based on what the court fees are; however we do not charge per hour for the work we do as a solicitor does. If you want to know any more about the cost of a particular case, you can email us @ email@example.com.
2: We know the case. You have placed the customer with us from the outset. We will have been attempting to contact them to recover the money since the time they stopped paying. If they have got any dispute, we will know about it. If they are just avoiding contact, we will know about it. We will have the notes and prior history with the customer. This comes in very useful when writing a witness statement for the court, should it get that far.
3: We are experienced. Pursuing customers via legal action is something our team has years of experience in. From straightforward to defended cases; cases that have been mediated by the court and cases that we have settled ourselves; we have covered it all!
So, if you are having trouble with one of your customers paying and we haven’t already worked our magic to get the payments back on track; let us know if you would like to discuss taking further action. Email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0333 212 3714.