Catherine Duff
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Unpaid bill

Unpaid bill

This is the first time I have actually asked a question on here, although I do often look at other people's questions and answers.

I had been doing bookkeeping for a friend of a friend.  He was always a nightmare re paying invoices, but did with gentle nudging and nagging.  I had already made my mind up in August that I could no longer work for him (numerous reasons, but the lack of organisation on his part was becoming too much).  When I met up with him to hand some paperwork over, he then announces that him and his business partner had had a falling out.  It now meant that he was no longer part of the business and I would have to deal with the other partner (who I have never met or had dealings with).

I sent the other partner (who has relocated to Malta due to some issues working in UK?) a friendly email introducing myself, saying that I was happy to help with handover but that I would no longer be doing the books, and attached my unpaid invoice.  The invoice was for 12 hours work, recharges for accounts system paid by my credit card and £28 unpaid from a previous invoice.  The total invoice is only £371.  

The reply came back asking for me to explain where all the hours have been used as they can't see much work on the system.  In total I had only worked 85 hours - 40.5 for the previous year ending and 44.5 for the current year.  I explained that yes there wasn't much to see on the system for this current year, as a lot of the work had been completed on spreadsheets and queries for old partner.  The old partner used to give me bags and bags of invoices and receipts to wade through.

I had tried to just keep friendly email going to chase the money as I didn't think it would be an issue.  

Where do I go from here??  Do I start from scratch and send first letter, etc?

I have never had to get heavy with chasing debts and I am unsure what if anything I can do.  It is only a small debt, so I don't want it costing me loads to chase.




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28th Nov 2012 12:13

If your contract

was with the 'friend of a friend' you should pursue him. The party in Malta is unlikely to be interested in settling his ex-partners invoices (even though if a partnership they are jointly liable) and Malta is a long way to go....

Go for the (original) friend via the small claims on line service - costs £60 


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to aburt01
28th Nov 2012 12:45

Sorry I probably misled by referring to them as partners.  It is a Limited company.

I have had a word with the friend of a friend and he says that it isn't his problem - that the company should pay.

Would you still recommend small claims court?  I haven't issued any formal letters of warning, as it was being handled friendly via email.  Should I start with that?


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29th Nov 2012 09:13

Your contract IS with the company

If it has assets, you can potentially sue, You will probably get a judgement in your favour, however collecting payment might be another issue- especially if the company's assets are in Malta! You could be throwing good money after bad.

Your FOAF has a moral duty to pay up but not a legal one.

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