Any legal experts on here?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by xcraigx, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. xcraigx

    xcraigx Active Member

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    Need a bit of advice if possible! I own a business and had a letter through the post a couple of months back from a legal company saying they deal in getting lower deals on business rates. Their fees are a third of any monies recovered so if nothing is recovered I would owe nothing. I sent the letter back as I presumed worst case scenario would be I get nothing and owe nothing.

    Anyway, I recieved an invoice yesterday for £833+ VAT (£1000 total) saying they had successfully recovered £2500. Awesome. I was sure I was due nothing. Having done a little digging it seems they have claimed £1000 in small business rates relief for 14/15 and £1500 in small business rates relief for 15/16.

    I claimed the £1500 for 15/16 myself, and I was only in the premesis for a couple of weeks in 14/15 and was never due £1000 in the first place.

    My question is, can they bill me for reclaiming money that I had already claimed and for money i'm not entitled to?

    I would ring them but they are not open today and i'm a little stressed that I may be liable to pay out £1000 for absolutely no return.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Nick

    Nick Administrator

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    I'm no expert but sounds strange they could Bill you for reclaiming money that isn't yours!
     
  3. xcraigx

    xcraigx Active Member

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    Well yeah that I thought. Hopefully they are just chancing their arm to see if i'll pay up but I really have no idea...
     
  4. Captain Dart

    Captain Dart Well-Known Member

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  5. chiefdave

    chiefdave Well-Known Member

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    Tell them you'll pay their invoice when you receive the money they have reclaimed. Ask them for some evidence of what they have actually done. How are they going to be able to evidence they have claimed the £1500 if you've already claimed it?
     
  6. xcraigx

    xcraigx Active Member

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    I claimed the small business rates relief and the council put a credit on my account for the £1500 and so far this year they have been billing me £125 less than I would usually pay in rates and have been taking a chucnk of the credit every month. This morning I got a letter from the council saying they have credited my bank account with the £1500 and put my rates up by £175 a month to to take into account i'm no longer in credit with them. But the fact remains that money was a credit on my account and had been claimed by myself. All that this lot have done is get it moved to my bank account whilst increasing my monthly payments this year. Makes no sense.
     
  7. chiefdave

    chiefdave Well-Known Member

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    You should challenge them on it, they haven't got a you a better deal as they claimed they would if you already had the money as a credit.
     
  8. skybluedan

    skybluedan Well-Known Member

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    First thing is mate You didn't sign anything on the returned letter did you?
    Second thing is mate what is the company name?
     
  9. xcraigx

    xcraigx Active Member

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    Hi Dan! The wife reliably informs me I couldn't be arsed to fill in and sign the paperwork as I thought I did, I sent them an email instead. Sounds about right for me.
     
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  10. duffer

    duffer Well-Known Member

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    I can see these guys are members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), so from that point of view they look legitimate.

    I'd say the four key points here are:

    1) Were they formally instructed to act
    2) What specifically did you instruct them to do
    3) What did they actually do
    4) What was the agreement regarding fees

    I'd write (send it recorded, keep a copy) and say that you're querying the invoice and asking for written evidence of all of the above. An email could represent an instruction, I'd guess, but if the work they were going do or the fee structure and T&Cs weren't mentioned somewhere in that email (or a subsequent letter that they've sent outlining what you've agreed to, perhaps) then I suspect they'd have a tricky job getting it to stand up in court. If they can't show that the reduction in your rates is the direct result of what they've done, then again I think they'll struggle to make it stick.

    However if you've signed something asking them to act on your behalf, then it's really down to the T&C's in that contract, and possibly evidence that they've done the work and not you. That's a much harder one to get out of, imho.

    Anyway, here's a bit more on RICS:

    RICS Code of Conduct (http://www.rics.org/Global/19633-RICS Regulation-Rules of Conduct FOR FIRMS-WEB2.pdf) states:
    (Section III)
    Advertising
    10. A Firm shall promote its professional services only in a truthful and responsible manner.

    I'm not sure if they've fulfilled that requirement, but regardless if they don't provide the evidence as those four points above, and continue to harass you for payment - then follow the complaints procedure here http://www.rics.org/uk/regulation1/complaints1/ - and escalate it all of the way through. If that fails, they've still got to convince a court before really you're obliged to pay them anything.

    For now, get that letter off sharpish and let's see what, if anything, they've got...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2018
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  11. xcraigx

    xcraigx Active Member

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    Right, here's the update.

    Didn't hear anything from the letter so emailed them this morning asking if they could send over a copy of their savings report they claim I should have received.

    Within 10 minutes i've had an email back saying their fees were wrong. They had only claimed £1500 on my behalf, not £2500 and a new invoice would be sent out right away. They did confirm the £1500 was small business rates for 15/16. I emailed back asking why they were charging me for something I had claimed myself a couple of months earlier. Another speedy response, 'sorry, I didn't notice the date that money had been claimed. You owe us nothing.'

    What a bunch chancers!
     
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  12. Nick

    Nick Administrator

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    Imagine if you hadn't checked....
     
  13. chiefdave

    chiefdave Well-Known Member

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    Sure loads of places overcharge and just hope you don't notice.
     
  14. duffer

    duffer Well-Known Member

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    Good result. Can you just confirm your address so that I can send my invoice. :)
     
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