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Taking client to court for fees....

Quick question. Do you add additional time (charges) when taking a client to court for outstanding fees? Do you charge full hourly rate? Many Thanks..First client that has not paid - very disappointed in him!

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By zebaa
24th Feb 2013 21:05

You claim your bill + court cost

You claim the amount of your invoice and court cost. If you do it online it is calculated for you.

What you can NOT do is say you owe me £200, but as I am taking you to court I will add another £100.

If / when you get judgement how to you plan enforcement?

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24th Feb 2013 21:03

Statutory recovery costs
In the small claims court you can't claim costs other than court fee.

However Late Payment Act, subject to your own contractural terms, lets you include interest and statutory recover fees - the statutory fees aren't great but are a bonus,

I have written into my terms of business that we can recover time spent on debt recovery from clients via additional invoice, but I've never tested it in anger.

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By dreamcatcher
25th Feb 2013 11:35

Not sure..

how far down the line you are but we have had some sucess using the letters (£2+VAT) from Thomas Higgins Partnership to collect monies from clients who had previous been reluctant to pay.

Maybe worth one last try before using the small claims court?

http://www.thomashiggins.com/default.aspx

 

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By Glennzy
25th Feb 2013 15:22

Have you got any WIP

If you are going to take him to court have you got any WIP that is unbilled (not related to the debt chasing). If so filing the CCJ is likely to be the end of your relationship with him so I would issue your final bill on normal credit terms then inlcude it in your total claim when it becomes overdue.

Have you exhausted all avenues with the client. Is he refusing to pay because he cannot or doesnt want to?

 

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By Mathswizard
26th Feb 2013 10:43

Taking a client to court for unpaid fees

I feel your pain Paulb, but you do need to think this through very carefully.  I have, reluctantly, obtained CCJs against two clients, the smaller fee (£250) was completely ignored, the client lives in social housing,  car on hp, bailiff fees are £100, just not worth it, I would be throwing good money after bad.  The second one was £1000 (a lot of work over several years), I issued proceedings, the defence was a personal attack on my capability and integrity, not nice reading, but, fotunately I had evidence to counter every swipe which I put into court along with my answer, they backed off, asked for time to pay, the court ordered payments of £60 a month !, they did not pay, so the bailiff was paid £100, he made several visits, entry refused each time, but payments did start from then, but ceased after four months.  I now have a charge on their property, which has cost me further admin work, form filling, postage, etc., a day in court (horrendous) and a £40 fee to get the charge registered at the Land Registry.  When they sell their house I will get paid as they cannot complete the sale with a charge outstanding, although they have the mortgage as a charge plus and unpaid credit card which did not show up in the searches.  Only chase a debt if there is a real prospect of getting paid is my advice.  Good luck.

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26th Feb 2013 10:57

+ Attendance Costs

Assuming that the claim is defended, at the end of the hearing, assuming you win, ask the District Judge to consider adding to the debt a sum for your loss of earnings to attend court and travelling expenses. They usually allow them, but its their call.

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Clients don't want to go to court either

In almost every case where a client has seen that I am serious about going to court - ie. they get the court papers in the post, full payment has been received in a matter of days.

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26th Feb 2013 16:28

Thomas Higgins

I would recommend you look at Thomas Higgins as suggested by dreamcatcher. The weight of a Solicitor issuing the 7 day letter usually works and if it does not you can use them to issue the CCJ, you are in control using an on-line account, and their fees are not expensive.

 

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02nd May 2015 10:21

Debt Recovery before Litigation

Yes, I agree that it's often better to escalate the overdue payment before heading to court.

You can now add late payment interest and even the costs of the debt collection agency to the overdue debt, so the service can end up costing you nothing.  Even if the interest and fees aren't paid in the end they can be a useful bargaining tool to help get your payment in quickly.

My Credit Controllers has an online debt collection service that's really easy to use:

http://www.mycreditcontrollers.co.uk

 

 

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