Advocate has successfully recovered £3.3K, which our client had been chasing for seven months. Like our client, the debtor is also in the welding industry but specialises in fabrication as opposed to quality control and testing. The Bradford-based debtor was embroiled in a dispute with their end customer, who refused to pay for their fabrication, sighting several welds had cracked down the bead or spatter (of molten material) on the surrounding areas. To satisfy the insurer, our client had been engaged to test welds already in situ and to both witness and certify the remaining welds as they were performed.
To our client, jobs like this are part of their core business. To the debtor, having someone come in to mark their work came as a significant blow to the ego. This was always going to be a tense situation for them. For good reason, our clients pride themselves on being fiercely independent and committed to upholding strict quality and safety standards. Over three site visits, they failed 20% of the fabricator’s welds and certified the re-welds. For the next seven months, the debtor would continue to ignore our client’s repeated requests for payment, except for one communication offering £1K on Without Prejudice terms but without explaining the nature of their grievance.
When Sparks Fly
Upon instruction, Advocate immediately struck up a dialogue with one of the directors, who elaborated on the £1K offer. The director claimed their end customer was liable for the £3.3K. They also claimed the customer had concerns over the competence of our client, who failed a supposedly excessive number of welds. The director alleged our client had been confrontational to the point of being abusive. This apparently justified the lowball £1K offer. In response, our client was able to provide evidence of their findings for each failed weld. As for the end customer being liable for the fabricator’s shortcomings, there is no logic in paying for someone to correct their own mistakes! Even without hearing their side, our client’s passive nature made it highly unlikely they would instigate aggression. Feedback from the client advised they and several employees had been on the receiving end of bullying, with one unfortunate colleague being assaulted. With emotions running high on both sides, a tactful, factual, and firm repudiation was issued. In the absence of payment, a Final Demand was then issued, increasing the statutory charges to £690.
On the eve of the Final Demand expiring, we were contacted by another director who, up until now, had been silent on the issue. They agreed to make a full payment of £3.3K plus statutory charges so the matter could be put to bed once and for all. With payment in hand, our client was delighted at a job well done by Advocate but not so well done by the debtor!