As any self-respecting debt collector will tell you, kudos is in the recovery of a debt and not in the size. They will also tell you that size is relative! For our client (a self-employed electrician who can read an MRI machine like a picture book), ad-hoc domestic electrical jobs on the side to help a newly qualified friend were a welcome change of pace for beer money. In this case, £3.2K to put behind the bar.
When You Say Nothing
Unfortunately for our client, they learnt the hard way that a gentleman’s agreement is open to more interpretation than a blank canvas is. What had been a friendship and useful partnership suddenly became a toxic mess that could otherwise have been avoided had there been a signed contract in place. Our client was left with no option but to withdraw from the agreement when the friend’s fledgling electrical installation business refused to make payment or evidence a dispute. Our client had also been contacted by several fellow subcontractors on the domestic circuit advising his ‘friend’ had been discrediting his skills to other tradespeople.
All Spark no Flame
In the absence of a dispute, Advocate commenced action for the £3.2K. In the client’s mind, court was inevitable. We soon struck up a dialogue with the debtor, who put together an extensive list of disputes for each job undertaken. They claimed to be owed credits because of incorrect component costs, faulty workmanship, excessive time spent on simple tasks, profit share discrepancies, and poaching of customers. They offered £1.6K in full & final settlement. In response, a comprehensive repudiation was issued, dismissing the debtor’s grievances one by one. On behalf of the client, we countered with a settlement figure of £3K. The debtor then presented works orders which contradicted elements of their dispute and supported the £3.2K. Advocate agreed to put in one final offer with a £300 reduction, caveated with full payment being sought in court if declined. The debtor’s counteroffer of £350 reeked of ego.
Bringing Ohm Payment
True to form, Advocate held firm reiterating the caveat. It was clear from the first conversation we had with the debtor this was more about getting one over than paying what was due. On day 13 of our action and on the eve of court proceedings being issued, full payment of the original £3.2K was received. The debtor also paid the statutory late payment charges without contest. Prior to Advocate’s instruction, the client had deemed court proceedings inevitable. Instead, we brought home full payment without the expense of litigation.