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Defendant has changed paperwork to support his counterclaim


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Looking for some advice on what to do about a counterclaim that is completely untrue, and the defendant has altered invoices to back himself up. 

 

We had a problem with an item purchased from a small business.  

 

We put in a claim to get part of the money we've paid back, after months of trying to sort it out via emails. The owner of the small business resorted to name-calling and insulting comments, he sent long emails trying to deflect with other issues- some emails he sent made no sense at all, he refused to send copies of all information when sent a SAR request, and refused to answer any questions or any solution to move forward.  

 

We've even spoken to the actual manufacturer of the item (the small business we bought it from openly claims he designs and builds it personally- they do not!). We'd spoken to CAB several times- CAB reported the company to Trading Standards. 

 

The small business sent their defence, and a counterclaim. The counterclaim is for a service on the item, that they have now suddenly have decided to claim had not been paid, from 3 years ago (fortunately we can prove it was paid). 

 

He's claiming the book-keeper (or him) made 'mistakes'  because they were 'confused' on invoices on work we'd paid for previously, and that's why reference numbers/figures are different. 

 

He's also attached invoices that differ completely from our original copies that we'd sent to the court- different figures, different comments but same dates and ref numbers. He's taken one invoice from 2017 he claims is unpaid, and renamed it a different reference number, so that it matches his counterclaim, he's now claimed he did this in 2018, by altering the previous invoices.   

 

One new invoice is dated the day before the last day they had to enter a defence- a new invoice created on that date to add in this extra figure from the created invoice.

 

It now seems he's created 3 invoices for the same work on the item, and that he's counterclaiming for one of them, and has changed invoice numbers, added figures to another invoice etc. 

 

Silly question, but you can't create new invoices to claim a past invoice is unpaid, to defend a claim, can you?

 

We've never seen these new invoices before- and our copies of the originals are different but they're supposed to be the same invoices. Same ref, same dates, just info on them has changed.

 

You can't just claim it's all a mistake and he was confused, in the accounting, for the originals being different, can you? He's sent these new invoices to the court, with the counterclaim. We'd already sent the original ones to the court- so he knows we have the originals. Yet he is still trying to pass off his new versions he's altered as the originals. Only one new invoice has had the date changed, the rest he's gone back into the system he uses and changed them directly, so the dates are the same.     

 

Even the small token amount he paid us back in march is different now on the new invoices he's sent to the court.   

 

What do we do about this? Obviously we can prove the invoice he's counterclaiming for, was paid. He's now outright lied and made up invoices to claim we owe them money.  

 

Any advice on if there's any action we can take? Will be calling the court on Monday morning! 

  

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

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Well it sounds like a very strange situation – because you are saying that evidence has been altered or invented and yet you have originals in possession which show that this happened beyond doubt.

If this is the case and you are confident that you are able to demonstrate to a court that the defendant is lying, then if I were you I would keep your powder dry. Do not phone the court. But on the other hand start preparing a response and the evidence as part of your court bundle which you will have to file before the hearing.

If you start alerting the court now – first of all they probably won't be able to handle it – and also the defendant may be alerted and might start becoming even more inventive about the documents that he is producing.

If what you say is it seems to me that the defendant has fallen into a trap of his own making. If you leverage this correctly then he will have no way out and also I think it would be reasonable for you to ask the court to make a discretionary order to grant you litigant in person costs.

Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the story.
What is the value of the claim? What is the value of the counterclaim?

Also, maybe you could post up the claim form, the defence and also the counterclaim in PDF format so that we can have a look and advise you further.

Has it been listed for hearing yet?

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If I were you and I knew (and I could definitely establish in court) that the defendant had fabricated some of the evidence used in their defence and counter-claim, then I think I'd be quite happy.  So long as you've got the original invoices he can only dig himself into a deeper (and potentially criminal) hole.

 

If he comes to his senses and realises this, he may want to settle before it gets out of hand for him or he ends up with a perjury charge.  (I assume you can commit perjury in small claims just like any other court, but I may be mistaken).

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3 hours ago, Manxman in exile said:

  (I assume you can commit perjury in small claims just like any other court, but I may be mistaken).

 

Proceedings for contempt which basically means a lack of respect for the court

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Thanks for replaying.

 

No hearing date yet- the date of response to the initial claim was a couple of weeks ago, my husband immediately asked court for judgement online, but the court is weeks behind because of covid, so apparently the defence could still slip through even though the time ended saying he hadn't replied, because it's when it registers on their system they told us, and if his reply came on the same day we'd asked for judgement it would be taken into account.  

 

We have invoices, emails, bank statements and copies of texts- we don't delete anything.   

 

The invoices side by side- same ref numbers, same dates- but different figures- one is the original, one is the new one he's attached to the court papers for his counterclaim.   

 

He hasn't paid the counterclaim fee yet anyway. 

 

Only 2 or 3 sellers in UK of the product -if I named the product, he'd be one of the first google results for that type of item. It's a specialised disability product.  

 

We just wanted back the money we'd overpaid for a future service on the item, nothing more, we were just going to draw a line under it. He demanded we take him to court for the money, dared us to report him to trading standards, ICO etc.   

 

Our claim is really small, under £500. He is counterclaiming for under £300. Item was over £15,000 new. We've had to send the item to the manufacturer to be checked over to make sure it's safe since making the claim, we've not got their report back yet.    

 

   

 

 

 

  

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Thanks for this. So you have applied for judgement and so far he hasn't put in a defence. However, I don't really understand because you say that he has put in a counterclaim – and he would have done this at the same time as filing a defence so frankly it sounds to me as if he has filed a defence. It might even be possible the court will take his counterclaim as a defence because the courts tend to do they can to assist litigants in person.

I suggest that for the moment the best thing to do is just sit and wait. You have seen that the courts are in a mess and there is a long wait time anyway.

Frankly I think you should tell us who it is you are suing so that we can understand more about the situation and also it will provide a warning to others who might fall into the same difficulty.

I think it would be helpful if you posted up the claim and also his counterclaim so that we can understand more and give you better advice.

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You're claiming to try to get back money you paid in advance for a future service?  Presumably you don't envisage needing the service then?  And you've had the item for over three years (the defendant claims you didn't pay a service "invoice" from three years ago - you can show you did pay).  Why after over three years have you sent it back to the manufacturer for a safety check?  does the supplier know?

 

As per BankFodder need more detail to understand what you are trying to do.  (I can think of a couple of disability aids that might cost £15k but I'd have thought the manufacturer would have to check them onsite)

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