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Company Car- left employment now being chased for upgrade costs...

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Hello,

 

I have been lucky to recieve help on this forum for a few things recently, and hope you can offer advice as to what I can do with a new problem..please be warned... it's a long winded post!!!

 

Basically up until May this year I worked for a large company in a field based role, as such I was entitled to a company car. When I accepted the position I was given a choice of cars, I chose via an outsourced fleet management company. The car was above the benchmark vehicle and the company have furnished me with documents which appears to have my signature (of which i have no recollection of signing..) which basically confirms I accept if I leave employment of the company within 3 years I will be responsible for the "upgrade costs" on a pro-rate basis.

 

I left employment of the above company in May (resigned) and am now employed with a new company in a different industry.

 

My previous employers are now pursuing me for the contributions for the upgraded car (circa 4k!!!) and have got solicitors involved.

 

I have argued my case and appealed but to no avail. I have also establised the names of two members of staff who left the company around the same time and have not been pursued for there upgrades.

 

I have presented this to the company ,, but they say they 'left' under different circumstances to me. They were actually 'pushed' i have now establised for under performance.

 

Now, the company car policy says they will pursue "all persons leaving the Employment of XXXXX for any outstanding car contributions"

Clearly they do not!!

 

Is there anything I can do here.. i really cannot afford to make this payment and am als upset that they do not appear to be consistant in their demands.

 

The solicitors are threatening to go to court over this and I having sleepless nights. I even offered to pay £50 a month (with the caveat that I am making this as a gesture of goodwill and do not accept liability) this was refused unless i pay £300 per month!!

 

Please help... I do not know what to do :-(

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You may or may not have signed the agreement, but by accepting the car, you must have accepted at least an implied term. The clawback you describe is pretty standard clause and this, along with what appears to be your signature would probably be enough to convince any court that the terms stand and you will have to pay the amount of clawback demanded.

 

It is not relevant that the two colleagues were excused the payment, because companies can make ex-gratia payments or waive any monies due. Unless you can establish that this is normal procedure and you are being discriminated against by being asked to pay. And then, it will only be actionable in a court if that discrimination is unlawful (i.e. contrary to race relations act, sex discrimination act, disability discrimination act).

 

However, my advice to you is to simply say that you do not have adequate means to pay at the rate of £300 pm. Stick to the offer to pay at £50pm and let them take you to court. In a court, if you have already made a 'reasonable' offer to pay, most judges would view the bringing of such cases very dimly and you will find that the court will simply accept your offer to pay at a rate of £50 pm, and even possibly award costs against your ex-employer for abusing the court process or something like that.

 

So the chances are they wont take it to court, and merely accept your offer of £50 pm.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Hello Monkeychicken,

 

Many thanks for replying, i am relieved to have some friendly words of advice :-)

 

So, if you were in my shoes, you would do the following;

 

1. Confirm in writing that I do not have resources to pay the full amount or £300 per month, however will commit to paying £50 per month.

2. Send the above by recorded delivery, so I have proof that the above offer was made.

3. Hopefully they accept the above and are just trying to get me to pay more than i can really afford.

4. If they so wish, let them take me to County Court. I will then get a claim form. - Would I defend the full claim or admit part of the claim?

5. My defence would be that I have offered to make a repayment which is affordable. Would it be worth bringing up the issue of other collegues being let off payment or not??

 

Is it likely that a CCJ would be registered?

 

The solicitors in question seem to be really pushing me on this, in the space of 2 weeks there have been 8 emails, missed calls and 2 letters demanding repayment.

 

Once again, i really do appreciate your help.

 

M2000

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Do You Have The T&c On This So Called Agreement About Being Liable For The Upgrade Costs

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Hi Postggj - hope you are well!

 

The text relating to the trade-up contributions is:

 

" Please note XXXXXX will reclaim any outstanding trade up amount from any driver trading up should they leave

the XXXX prior to the end of the contract date. For example; if you have a vehicle on a 36-month contract at £100

per month, if you leave after 18 months, you will owe £1800. This money will be required to be repaid on leaving"

 

This is copied from the car policy which apparantly has my signature ont he back page.

Edited by m2000

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1. Yes, but do not admit the debt (even though on the evidence I think you will probably have liability). Just say you don't need the hassle and just to get them off your back, you will make the payment.

 

2. Yes definitely and keep a copy!

 

3. Yes. I think its their only realistic option.

 

4. Yes - wait and see what they say in the court and what evidence they provide, and then decide if you admit the liability. You dont need to decide now.

 

5. It not a defence, but an offer to repay the debt. Probably would bring up the issue of the colleagues as a matter to be taken into consideration.

 

I cant really advise you on CCJ - dont know enough. Maybe someone here can, or google it. My instinct is that CCJ is only made against you where there is no agreement, but I could be wrong. And that is why at this time its best not to admit the debt and find out a bit about how CCJ works.

 

 

Write the above letter to the solicitor and also tell them that you do not wish to be harassed, spelling out the number of emails and letters you have received. Ask them to cease this harassment. Also explain that your offer is final and you cannot simply negotiate on the amout (as you cant afford it).

 

Also say the if they persist in such 'bully boy' tactics, you will seek legal advise with respect to taking out an injunction against them, and complaining to their professional body.

 

 

I would also go to CAB asap and ask advise.

  • Haha 1

I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Hi Postggj - hope you are well!

 

The text relating to the trade-up contributions is:

 

" Please note XXXXXX will reclaim any outstanding trade up amount from any driver trading up should they leave

the Society prior to the end of the contract date. For example; if you have a vehicle on a 36-month contract at £100

per month, if you leave after 18 months, you will owe £1800. This money will be required to be repaid on leaving"

 

This is copied from the car policy which apparantly has my signature ont he back page.

 

It does seem to be a bit on the high side, but look at it this way, the company has to pay upfront for the car and unless they can find someone to take on the car, they would have lost the amount.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Has A New Starter Been Given The Car Or Has It Been Returned To The Leasing Company

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It has been given to a new starter

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Oh - and by the way, the new starter apparantly wanted this particualr spec of car and had put a request in. This is according to a friend who still works in the same department.

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Now it gets interesting.

 

Does anyone ever gets charged under these circumstances?


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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well monkey chicken

 

i would think the new starter takes over all rights and duties on this agreement

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Exactly my thoughts!!

 

m2000 i'd hold that letter - I'm a little tired, its late. I'll get back to you tomorrow, or perhaps postggj can advise on the letter you need to write to the solicitor.


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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tell you what

 

we will both do a letter and pick

 

i would love the reply from the sols on this

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Hello Postggj and Monkeychicken,

 

Thanks for both of your replies on this :-)

 

Postggj - The company claim that they DO persue people for any o/s contributions, and the solicitors have also lead me to believe that they have previously 'dealt' with cases such as this.

 

You think there is a specific letter I should send out for this?

 

Many thanks again

:-)

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M200

Xxxx

Xxxxx

 

Xyz solicitors

Xxx

Xxx

 

Date

 

Your ref

 

Dear sir/madam

 

Thank you for your letter dated xyz for which the comments have been noted.

This situation is to do with the lease agreement on a motor vehicle and an alleged shortfall.

On looking at the terms and conditions for this contract, I note the following.

 

“Please note XXXXXX will reclaim any outstanding trade up amount from any driver trading up should they leave

the XXXX prior to the end of the contract date. For example; if you have a vehicle on a 36-month contract at £100

Per month, if you leave after 18 months, you will owe £1800. This money will be required to be repaid on leaving"

 

I accept that this is company policy and under that policy I am liable for any shortfall if the vehicle is returned back to the leasing company.

I must inform you that the vehicle has not been returned back to the leasing company and is still in the possession of Xyz Company.

Also the vehicle has now been given to a new employee. That employee will now take on all rights and duties of the original lease agreement.

I accept that I would be liable for the period in months from the time I left the company, to the time Zyx Company released the vehicle to the new employee.

Can you please send me an invoice for this period so I can bring this account to an end.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Xxxxxxx

 

I reserve the right to use this letter in court if required as an attempt at settlement.

 

 

ITS A ROUGH DRAFT BUT YOU GET THE IDEA

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Hi Postggj - many thanks, as ever you know your stuff and how to write a great letter :-)

 

Just for clarity ( I may not have worded myself in the clearest of ways) regarding the cars, the company leased the car from a leasing company directly, I did not have a direct contract with the leasing company. The 'upgrade cost' came off my pay slip each month.

 

The agreement which I apaprantly signed which states

 

" Please note XXXXXX will reclaim any outstanding trade up amount from any driver trading up should they leave

the Society prior to the end of the contract date. For example; if you have a vehicle on a 36-month contract at £100

per month, if you leave after 18 months, you will owe £1800. This money will be required to be repaid on leaving"

 

comes from the Company Car Policy Document.

 

Does this make sense?

 

Does the letter stills stand? Can you please explain the legal bit about the rights being transferred to the new employee??

 

 

Sorry to be a pain!!

thanks again

 

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Thats The Point

The Vehicle Was Leased By Your Previouse Company, Not You.

Any Shortfall, You Will Be Liable For, But Only Up To The Point The Car Was Taken Over By A New Employee, Otherwise The New Employee Will Be Getting The Benefit You Paid For And Cant Use

 

The Contract Has Ended And A New One Started When This New Employee Took Delievery Of The Car

 

If The Car Had Been Returned To The Leasing Co,

You Would Not Have A Leg To Stand On, But Thats Not The Case

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Thanks Postggj - you have made my day!!

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HAVE A NOSE

 

EXTORTIONATE CREDIT BARGIN

 

The courts have the ability to re-open "extortionate" credit bargains which have grossly

exorbitant payments and/ or that that grossly contravene the ordinary principles of fair trading.

 

Individuals and most partnerships and unincorporated associations are protected against such

transactions under the Act.

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I think the letter by Post if excellent. However, I would also add the following:

 

"I note that within the period *** to ***, you have written to me twice and telephoned me XXX times to ask for the full amount of the upgrade. I consider this to be excessive and tantamount to harassment. I would be grateful if you could respect my family life and cease to telephone me on this matter. Please ensure all future correspondence is in writing as I do not want you to intimidate or pressurise me. If I continue to feel intimidated by your actions, I will have to seek legal advice or complain to your regulator."


I am not a lawyer, so all my advice is provided on the basis that you will check them with a trained legal professional with legal insurance.:(

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Many thanks both - :-) I will get that letter sent and let you know of any developments.

 

Have a fantastic Christmas break!!

 

M2000

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Hello All,

 

Well, I have finally had a reply to my letter.

They have replied as follows:

 

"My client has seen a copy of your letter dated 3rd January and notes your concerns, however they assure me that there is no element of double recovery. The car has indeed be assigned to another employee, however they are not being required to pay any of the 'trade up contributions' as they did not order the trade up in the first instance.

My client has instructed me not to enter into further protracted correspondence with you over this matter.

We shall issue proceedings forthwith, such a claim will of course include interest, court fees and legal costs"

 

HELP!!

 

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what were the trade up options you agreed to

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