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Ex Client from over 3 years ago

Ex Client from over 3 years ago

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A client we disengaged from over three years ago has recently been in touch for some documents relating to the handover year.

Some of the stuff he's asked for was prepared by his new accountant, so we don't have that anyway.

The stuff we do have has already been passed over to the new accountant and some has been emailed directly to the client too - he was always losing stuff and demanding we re sent things immediately, so some of this doesn't surprise me (he completely overused the important/ urgent flag on emails)

The information is needed for a tax investigation, so I don't want to appear like I'm standing in HMRC's way.

During our time working with this guy, he was over demanding, completely rude and a classic Pain in the assets client!!  We were delighted when he moved on.

My gut instinct is to tell him to "jog on" simply because of his previous attitude and the fact that we've already sent everything he's asked for over to the new firm.

My second instinct is to charge him for the documents we do have, as they are now archived.

Where do I stand legally with either of these approaches?

Anyone else been through this?

Replies (11)

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By Ramisis
19th Apr 2014 18:24

Send the following, you will never hear from him again.

Dear Sir,  We supplied copies of the [documents requested] to yourself / your accountant on [date].  Should you require duplicates there will be a charge of £xxx.  Upon receipt of your payment we will be happy to provide the items requested.

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By BKD
19th Apr 2014 20:24

Are you a member of a professional body?

If so, you should act in accordance with the code of ethics, or whatever they call it, laid down by that body.

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By Ramisis
19th Apr 2014 23:23

Once is enough

The professional bodies all state that copies should be supplied, none of them say they should be supplied twice.

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By nmprobinson
20th Apr 2014 10:53

Really...
...just resend the information. I guess this post has taken more time than just acting in a professional manner (more importantly being nice!). And charging for re sending?! Really? Regardless of how annoying that client might have been.

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By ShirleyM
20th Apr 2014 11:13

I would charge for duplicates

While ever you keep providing extra services for free it will always be easier for them to get you to make the effort, rather than them trying to find their original copies.

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By Moonbeam
21st Apr 2014 13:58

Acting in a professional manner

does not include being treated like dirt by the client, and professionals always charge for their time. I would ask for enough funds upfront to make it worth the hassle to get the documentation and then get it and send it.

Make it clear if he wants to make any further use of your time that will also be chargeable in advance.

When I think of the way the legal profession act and charge we are well behind covering our time with these clients.

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By Jekyll and Hyde
21st Apr 2014 14:18

what information is being asked for
I would want rid and concentrate on my current clients. Therefore if it has already been sent once, there is a good chance this information is all I once place (I still photocopy accts, etc I send and place on correspondence file) and should take no more than 10 minutes to resend. Resend the information, with a letter stating all future copies will be charged at£xxx and then move forward. If not then you may spend time next week dealing with the unnecessary fall out that not sending the information may generate.

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Replying to Coops:
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By WhichTyler
22nd Apr 2014 03:41

More effort...

Jekyll and Hyde wrote:
Therefore if it has already been sent once, there is a good chance this information is all I once place (I still photocopy accts, etc I send and place on correspondence file) and should take no more than 10 minutes to resend.

OP says it has been archived, so possibly more than a 10 minute job...

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By BKD
21st Apr 2014 17:38

I guess ...

... that some are just more willing than others to be helpful and move on, whilst others would prefer to be awkward just for the sake of it.

BTW -

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By Jekyll and Hyde
21st Apr 2014 18:25

possible fallout
Phonecalls, emails, or perhaps a good old fashioned knock on the door time wasting and energy zapping fall out, when your mind is focused on a good fee earning client. Or perhaps dealing with the fallout of trying to explain to your professional body, in the best possible manner, that you have already provided this one and that in your opinion you do not need to provide again. YES you may be right, BUT it is still time wasting, energy zapping and ill focused work that occurs from the fall out of not providing this information again now, whilst your energy and thoughts are with this issue.

Yes the client has no right, but it will likely still happen regardless because afterall a tax investigation is in place and this client was always very demanding, rude and a classic pain In the arsenal whilst OP was dealing with them so why would this client be any different now when the OP refuses to provide information.

Oh read some other posts on such topics when said client type turns up and physically threatens accountant. These are the type of fall outs that can be prevented and save the op any unnecessary stress within the next week or so.

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By BKD
21st Apr 2014 18:48

Now that Easter is over ...

... perhaps the bunny will hop off, not to return for 12 months. Hope springs eternal ...

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