A firm of lawyers contacted me for information on one of my newly acquired clients. I didn't have any of the information on the client at that point (I still don't have most of it) but managed to put together most of the information they requested. Initially they wanted a P&L but as that wasn't available they said they'd be satisfied with an income figure and a fuel expenses figure.
I sent them an invoice and followed it up with a call when it became overdue. They say they won't pay. They reckon they don't have to for the following reasons:
- the information supplied was not exactly as requested (ie it wasn't a P&L)
- we did not discuss charges beforehand so no contract was entered into
- the charge is too high for a simple "photocopying job" (which it wasn't)
The invoice is only for £50 but I'm feeling riled because they have now written me a letter that states that they won't pay any amount for the work and threatens to report me to my regulatory body should I attempt to pursue them for payment. I don't care about the threat (I'm pretty certain I haven't done anything wrong plus I know that my institute don't deal with disputes around fees) but I do care about being paid for work that I have done.
I had a chat with some solicitors about sending this firm a legal letter informing them that failure to pay will result in legal proceedings. They wanted at least £50 for something that will take them under 20 minutes to sort out so I don't think my charge is unreasonable at all. I spent more time than that on the work and doing the work meant that I couldn't do anything more lucrative.
I run a fairly new, single-handed practice and don't have much experience with this sort of thing. Do you think I should bother going for a CCJ or just put this down to experience?
Thank you for your thoughts