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Pet Sitting Business - Client Refusing to Pay


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I run my own fully insured pet sitting and boarding business.

I was contacted on the 3rd November by a man who needed me to board his two rabbits due to an emergency situation.

The RSPCA were collecting his pets and would drop them to me the following day.

 

I emailed him the agreement form which he text in response to the next day saying he couldn’t fill them in on his phone but the rabbits were already with me.

 

We agreed a rolling contract of fortnightly payments which happened up until the 27th November.

At the beginning of December he messaged me asking me to contact his partner to arrange collecting the rabbits.

I did but she didn’t reply until the following week on the 18th asking if she could collect the next day and how much she owed me.

I gave her the price and she said she’d collect the next day.

No collection happened or payment.

 

As it stands at the moment she is still refusing to pay,

I’ve had every excuse from her mom being ill to her sending me a cheque which never came and I still have the rabbits.

I spoke to the RSPCA officer involved today who said they’d provide a statement saying the owner agreed to pay me.

 

I messaged the owner tonight explaining I’d spoken to the officer and would be looking into proceedings to claim my money and that if they weren’t collected in 7 days the rabbits would be considered abandoned and signed over to the RSPCA and she became very aggressive towards me. 
 

Where do I stand with this please?

They owe me over £300 now.

I’ve recently lost my dad suddenly and I really don’t need this. 

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the RSPCA arranged the rabbits to become your responsibility

pers i'd issue them with a letter before action

let them argue it out.

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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I'm afraid that I take a different view to that of my site team colleague above.

On the basis of what you say, I'm not sure that the RSPCA can be held responsible – it seems to me that they simply put the owner in touch with you and you have your own agreement.

Clearly it's a difficult situation.

In terms of the rabbits, I think you are handling absolutely correctly and you have given them adequate notice and I think you are entitled to turn the rabbits over to the RSPCA as you propose. However, I can imagine that the RSPCA will want to know who the owners are and I can also imagine that the rabbits will end up being given back to the owners without any requirement for payment.

Naturally, the RSPCA are simply concerned with the welfare of the animals and if they are satisfied that they are well cared for by the original owners then they will consider that they've done their job.

This leaves you out of pocket.

Presumably you have a residential address for these people?

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While in that case it's going to be very difficult to take a court action.

I suppose the first issues to deal with the rabbits and if you don't want to keep them then get them over to the RSPCA as quickly as possible. If you are unable to tell the RSPCA who the owner is then it seems unlikely that they will find their way back to those people which may provide some satisfaction.

In terms of the lost money, I'm afraid that if you don't have an address then there is very little you can do – other than to keep your eye open and maybe you will come across it one day.

It seems to me that these people have effectively abandoned their pets – and although it's hard on you, I suppose that it is better then them being simply left in a ditch or put in a bag and thrown into a canal.

I'm sorry but I am not really sure what else to advice

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The Rspca know the owners as I spoke to the officer who collected the rabbits from them. I have their full name, contact numbers and an email address 

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I suppose that's even more difficult then because the RSPCA will simply be concerned with the welfare of the animals and they may consider that it is safe to turn the animals over to their original owners – which then leaves you out of pocket. The RSPCA won't be prepared to give you the details of the owners.

I'm afraid that you are in a difficult situation unless you want to hang onto them which I would say that you are entitled to do and you can even put them up for sale to a responsible purchaser. I don't know if there's anything special about the rabbits – although personally I feel troubled by the idea of selling animals around.

I really don't see how you could bring an action against the RSPCA as suggested by my site team colleague. It certainly seems to be the only available option that I can't see how they carry any legal obligation

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I don’t want to bring action against the RSPCA. They’ve done nothing wrong and both the owners and myself knew that the RSPCA were not responsible for payment. 
 

My main query is how to go about getting the owners to pay. Who can I contact for advice on this? Surely they can be issued with something official from somewhere to say they owe me money? 

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I'm afraid that if they are avoiding payment, the only way to get them to pay is to issue legal proceedings. This is very easy to do and you would begin a small claim in the County Court and on the information you give here, your chances of winning are better than 95%.

The trouble is that in order to issue a claim, you have to have a valid address so that the knowledge of the claim comes to the notice of the defendant.

Of course you could issue the claim at their old address and hope that it is forwarded on but of course, as you are aware that they don't live there any more – strictly you shouldn't do that.

However that would be the way forward, to issue the claim to their old address and then if they failed to respond within 14 days of the date of the claim you can enter judgement.

The problem with bringing County Court claims – is that winning is one thing and can be quite easy – but enforcing the judgement can be a completely different problem. In order to enforce a judgement you would absolutely need to know their existing address. If you can't enforce the judgement then you have a symbolic victory but it doesn't mean that you will get your money and also you will be out of pocket to the extent of the claim fee which could be an additional 50 quid or so.

If you did bring the claim and you one, and you weren't able to track them down then you could enforce the claim against some of their belongings – and the only ones available, it seems to me are the rabbits! But you already have those and of course I'm pretty certain that they aren't worth the kind of money that you are owed.

I'm afraid that without the proper address there is going to be very little you can do. If you go and see a paid adviser, you will get the same advice but also you will end up paying for it and for any letters which are written.

I can see that you are very frustrated by this – I think that you are facing a dead end unless you can find a way to persuade the RSPCA to let you know the new address of these people. Maybe if you told the RSPCA that you wanted to deliver the rabbits to the new address, they might disclose the address to you. In that case you could move forward and bring a claim.

We will be happy to help you – but although your chances of success are extremely good, we would want to caution you against wasting your money on something that you can't enforce.

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If this was a company, we might be talking about embarrassing them on social media, Facebook etc if they're on there. This may or may not help you get the money.

 

BF is the expert, I'm just throwing this in to see if it could work with private individuals.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I suddenly realise that in your first post, you suggested that there was an absence of a written agreement.

This would not matter. Binding contracts do not need to be in writing unless they are for shares in companies or for land/houses.

A verbal contract is perfectly binding and so the lack of a written agreement would not get in your way. The problems which I have indicated in my previous posts pose a much greater problem for you

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You could always send a letter to their former address containing a cheap GPS tracker and hope it's forwarded to their new address. If it is, bingo, you know where they live. If not you've only lost a few quid.

 

I should say, I've no knowledge around the legalities of that. Hopefully BF or another site team member can shut this idea down if it's a no-go.

Edited by theberengersniper
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If it could identify the actual address then I suppose it would be worth considering but I don't think that they are accurate

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Well, provided they people in question now live in a house with decent GPS signal, it'll be accurate to around 3m; accurate enough to establish their address. If the signal is weak it'll still be good enough to identify the address to within a few houses and certainly the street.

 

Provided the folks haven't moved county, if there was any doubt over the specific house, the OP could always go door-knocking or name plaque hunting. Clearly the OP wants to avoid an on-street argument, so it would be advisable to retreat immediately following confirmation of the house, but it's a possibility.

 

GPS trackers these days are inexpensive and would comfortably fit in an envelope or small package. At least then a LBA could be sent with confidence it has been served on the intended recipient.

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It's a long shot – a very long shot

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Hi

 

Do Not send a letter whether to old or new address with a GPS Tracker in it as that could backfire so I do have to air caution

 

Whether the GPS Tracker is for Business or Personal use under the Data Protection Act the information gathered from a GPS Tracker is classed as 'Personal Data' which must be dealt with in accordance to the Law, therefore you would need to have informed the individual and have their consent to use that item.

 

 

 

 

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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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How about telling the pets' owners by message that you're not happy with their attitude about non-payment and not giving you their new address.

 

Accordingly, you'll have no option but to use their old address ( which you're entitled to do - debt chasing solicitors do this all the time ) to issue a court claim to recoup your losses, issued to their last known address.

 

So they either deal with what they owe (you could negotiate  a compromise maybe); or deal with the court claim if they have access to post at their old addess; or end up with a CCJ against them.

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