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Small Business claim form received

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Hello and my first post here and wonder if anyone can help.

 

I work for a small business and we have received a claim form from Northampton CC.

 

The story is a supplier had agreed a special discounted price with us for products, and we had in writing on email.

Nine months later we discovered we hadn't been charged correctly, and we calculated the over charge to be £9000.

 

As soon as we pointed out this the supplier immediately changed the pricing back to what was agreed.

We also asked for a credit for the over payment, and despite a couple of meetings this was ignored.

 

We also pointed out that last summer we had a price list sent to us confirming the discounted prices

- even though there accounts were invoicing ours for the higher price.

 

We were at fault I think as well, as our accounts were paying the higher price invoiced for.

 

As we owed them money anyway we said we would be withholding what we thought was owed and pay the difference, we had always been perfect payers anyway.

 

We tried even to compromise and reach a settlement but the supplier wasn't interested.

 

Low and behold 5 weeks ago we received a letter before action from a debt collection company.

We then wrote a full letter with timeline of events including dates etc of emails including pointing out a ex employee of theirs had verified our version.

 

We heard nothing until last week when we received a letter from there debt company and a CC claim on the same day

- which surprised us as we thought they would have responded to our letter and timeline first.

 

We want to defend and wonder if we should issue a counter claim back for the amount they are claiming for and what we state we are owed?

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I think the basis of your argument is sound.

 

Before giving you advice, please could you go through the basis of the figures – they owe you £9000, but you say you owe them something.

 

Please can you spell it out.

 

In the meantime you should open a MoneyClaim account and acknowledge receipt of the claim with intention to defend in full. This will give you 28 days from date of service to file a defence.

 

Do you have any experience of this kind of thing already?


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Many thanks Bankfodder.

 

Yes i am familiar with moneyclaim online so have no issues filling in - it was just more do i counter claim as I know that will be a option when I log in.

 

The figure we withheld paying them is £8510 which they are claiming for plus £410 court costs and £100 solicitor costs. BTW this solicitor is one of these companies who charge per letter etc.

 

Our defence is they owe us £8510 as a result for over charging and i wonder if i should counter claim on this?

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Sorry, I don't understand. You said that you owe them money anyway. Are you saying that you owed them £8510 anyway? – Exactly the amount they are claiming?


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Yes that's correct.

 

They are claiming for £8510 - which we withheld from payment as this is the amount they owe us for the over charges on products sold to us.

 

We had expected them to resolve with us the amount we withheld - but instead they are denying and claiming for this through the courts.

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Thank you – although I am very struck by the coincidence of amounts owed. Could you let us know precisely what they owed you the £8510 for.

 

I'm just wondering what is the best way to treat it.


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Just to give you an idea of what's going to my mind, I'm trying to understand whether this is a matter which should be "set off" as opposed to counterclaimed. How long have you owed them the £8510? Do you want to claim interest on the money which they owe you


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ok so the timeline is...

 

2017 - Agreement struck with a supplier company rep / and on email of special discounted price for products to be supplied to us. We started to buy at the agreed price (or so we thought).

June 2017 during normal communication special prices re confirmed via email by the company rep.

 

January 2018 during a audit our company discovered we had not been charged the discounted agreed price and indeed the normal price. We calculated the supplier had overcharged us by £8510.

 

January 2018 after been told of this the supplier immediately discounted new orders to the agreed prices of 2017.

 

- we asked them to investigate and come back to us with a credit for the over charge's.

- despite numerous requests they ignored the issue. We asked for a meeting and they refused to discuss

- we then emailed and said we would withhold the disputed amount of £8510 until resolved as we didn't feel they were being fair. This amount was deducted from the running balances owed to this company - all other balances were settled as normal.

 

May 2018 - LBA from a company acting on behalf of the supplier. We sent a letter and email back with a full timeline of events including emails.

 

June 2018 - CC summons and letter from solicitor on the same day received for the amount of £8510 - the amount we say we have been overcharged and withheld from payment.

 

Hopefully this makes a bit more sense.

 

We were willing to compromise, on this amount as we were partly at fault for not picking up the overcharge earlier i felt - but the supplier has not been willing to even discuss properly.

 

This supplier is a big company as well, and we are shocked how they have dealt...

 

We are not bothered about claiming interest - mind you they are on the claim forms....

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Okay thanks. Please could you post up the claim form in pdf format and then we'll sort out a defence. I don't think you should put in a counterclaim. I think that you should simply put in a setoff.


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I would expect the claimant is the company not a debt collector?


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Hello Guys, the claimant is the company, and a solicitor is dealing with the paperwork. Any payments are to be sent directly to the claimant.

 

I have attached the claim form. To add to the defence I will add a timeline of events/ emails to add.

 

So bear in mind, the claim is for £8,231.89 + costs.

 

They are claiming against invoices listed which equals the above amount. These are general invoices for items ordered this year.

 

Our argument is we withheld this amount as it was a result of overcharging over 9 months. Hopefully this makes sense.

ccj.pdf

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You dont/cant add anything to an initial defence..I assume you are responding on MCOL?

 

Simply admit or deny their points for your initial defence....you expand later at witness statement..if they wish to proceed.

 

 

Andy


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i hadn't entered any defence online as yet - only acknowledged on MCOL.

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" To add to the defence I will add a timeline of events/ emails to add."


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So what you are saying Andy is only use the 'timeline and emails' on the witness statement later on and not use on the initial defence?

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Your initial defence should only deal with the claimants particulars 1 by 1...initial defence...treat this has setting out your stall.

 

It must however be CPR compliant

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part16#16.5

 

 

The claimant can decide if they wish to proceed to the next stage...at the next stage both parties will submit a statement in depth to particularise their Particulars/Defence with evidence.

 

Dont reveal all your hand in the initial...your simply helping the claimant by revealing all your points of defence to which they will adjust fit their claim to suit by the time they get to witness statement.

 

Admit or deny or accept and note


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Additionally if you were to use a set off defence...which would have to be an equatable set off unless the terms of trading allowed for a contractual set off your defence must refer to this and imply it initially.

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part16#16.6


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Hello Guy's, so having a good think of the defence - what does this look like?

 

Particulars of claim for reference/checking

 

(1)The Claimant claims (1} debt of £8065.18 arising from agreements for goods and services particulars of which appear in invoice(s) from January 2018 to February 2018

and

 

(2) interest pursuant to S69 of the County Court Act 1984

 

INTEREST PARTICULARS

 

lnv 33343 due 01/03/18 amount £2426.1? 103 days@8% £54.59

lnv 34654 due 01/03/18 amount £3469.86 103 days@8% £78.28

Inv 35899 due 01/04/18 amount £418.07 72 days@8% £6-48

lnv 36492 due 01/04/18 amount £1751.15 72 days@8% £27.36

 

And the Claimant claims continuing.interest under S.69 County Courts Act 1984 @8% from the date hereof to the date of judgment or sooner payment at the daily rate of £1 .76

 

And the Claimant claims sum of £8231.89

 

 

1. I, xxxxxx, am the defendant in this action and make the following statement as my defence to the claim made by xxxxxx.

 

2. Except where otherwise mentioned in this defence, I neither admit nor deny any allegation made in the claimants Particulars of Claim and put the claimant to strict proof thereof.

 

3. The defendant denies that he owes the sum of £xxxxxx to the claimant.

 

4. The defendant supplied the business of *************** at an agreed special price in February 2017 and thereafter as orders would be placed accordingly at the special prices and reconfirmed these special prices in July 2017. Upon an audit in January 2018 the prices originally quoted and charged for were not correct. This was brought to the claimant’s attention who refused to investigate as payment for these goods received had already been made. We therefore asked for the overcharges to be deducted from our account balance outstanding.

 

5. The defendant denies the claimants inference in the Particulars of Claim, as the amount outstanding is the same as the overcharge due to special prices not being honoured. This is the amount we calculate, as the claimant would not investigate thoroughly.

 

6. Consequently, I deny all allegations on the particulars of claim and put the claimant to strict proof thereof.

Edited by Andyorch
Particulars added

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Thanks Andy - looks better!

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Thats just for my reference for cross reference...not started tweaking yet :-)

 

Back shortly


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Have we got anything in writing with regards to this discounted period ?

 

Scratch that....." 2017 - Agreement struck with a supplier company rep / and on email of special discounted price for products to be supplied to us. We started to buy at the agreed price (or so we thought). June 2017 during normal communication special prices re confirmed via email by the company rep."


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Have we got anything in writing with regards to this discounted period ?

 

Scratch that....." 2017 - Agreement struck with a supplier company rep / and on email of special discounted price for products to be supplied to us. We started to buy at the agreed price (or so we thought). June 2017 during normal communication special prices re confirmed via email by the company rep."

 

yes that's correct...

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Particulars of claim for reference/checking

 

(1)The Claimant claims (1} debt of £8065.18 arising from agreements for goods and services particulars of which appear in invoice(s) from January 2018 to February 2018

and

 

(2) interest pursuant to S69 of the county courticon Act 1984

 

INTEREST PARTICULARS

 

lnv 33343 due 01/03/18 amount £2426.1? 103 days@8% £54.59

lnv 34654 due 01/03/18 amount £3469.86 103 days@8% £78.28

Inv 35899 due 01/04/18 amount £418.07 72 days@8% £6-48

lnv 36492 due 01/04/18 amount £1751.15 72 days@8% £27.36

 

And the Claimant claims continuing.interest under S.69 County Courts Act 1984 @8 % from the date hereof to the date of judgment or sooner payment at the daily rate of £1 .76

 

And the Claimant claims sum of £8231.89

 

 

1. This Defence is filed without prejudice to the Defendant’s position that the claim should be struck out and save insofar as the same consists of admission and save insofar as it is herein expressly admitted or expressed not to be admitted, the Defendant joins issue with the Claimant’s Particulars of Claim which fail to raise any grounds for bringing the Claim.

 

The defendant denies that he owes the sum of £xxxxxx to the claimant.

 

2. The Claimant has overcharged for product from xxxxxxx to xxxxxxx to the value of £ xxxxxxx

 

3. On xxxxx 2017 - An agreement was agreed with a supplier (Claimants ?) company rep MR xxxxxxxxxx and confirmed by email of the agreed special discounted price for products to be supplied to us. We bought product at the agreed price . Furthermore in June 2017 special prices re confirmed via email by the company rep. Mr Xxxxxxxx.

 

4. The defendant supplied the business of *************** Your Customer ? ) at an agreed special price in February 2017 and thereafter as orders would be placed accordingly at the special prices and reconfirmed these special prices in July 2017. Upon an audit in January 2018 the prices originally quoted and charged for were not correct. This was brought to the claimant’s attention who refused to investigate as payment for these goods received had already been made. We therefore asked for the overcharges to be deducted from our account balance outstanding.

 

5. The defendant denies the claimants inference in the Particulars of Claim, as the amount outstanding is the same as the overcharge due to special prices not being honored. This is the amount we calculate, as the claimant would not investigate thoroughly.

 

6. Consequently, all allegations on the particulars of claim are denied and put the claimant to strict proof thereof.


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Brilliant - looks perfect. i will let you's know how we get on..

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ok guy's so had a reply now from the claimants solicitor who have said..

 

1 - Our defence does not comply with part 16 of the civil procedure rules, and they are entitled to have struck out

 

2 -The defence is vague and that we have made no attempt to identify what the special prices agreed where or evidence to support this (this had already been given to the claimant before court action was commenced and i assumed we would then re submit this before the court date)

 

3 - They also say the client sticks by the allegation we were not overcharged and theirs nothing to investigate.

 

4- They say to comply with CPR our defence is inadequate and we need to set out in our defence what was agreed and attach copies of what was set out - if we don't they will apply to strike out our defence.

 

5 - They have asked why invoices were paid on time, and then more recent invoices this year not paid (we didn't pay these invoices as the amount is the same as what we estimate as the overcharges)

 

6 - They go onto say to we owe £xxx and they will discount by £300 if we pay by a certain date.

 

It's a heavy letter to be honest - what do you guy's think?

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