Recruitment agency threatening legal action

(20 Posts)
namechange818 Thu 17-Dec-20 15:36:44

Hi all, I've name changed as it's a personal topic-

I registered with a recruitment agency and they advised I needed to organise my own DBS check due to the type of job they were putting me forward for. After many issues trying to do this (all new to me) I got the check sorted and the DBS certificate was sent to my home address.

The agency are now saying I owe them £48 for the DBS, but they didn't mention any fee to me when they told me to apply for it. They've sent a few chaser emails to me and are now saying they will take legal action if I don't pay in 7 days. Can they do this?

I can't find anything in writing to say they told me about the fee before I applied. And after all that, they didn't even find me any work- I found my own job.

Any advice oh wise people of Mumsnet?

OP’s posts: |
juneybean Thu 17-Dec-20 15:38:07

If you didn't agree to any fee, they're on a hiding to nothing, did you sign any terms and conditions with them?

incenseandpeppermints Thu 17-Dec-20 15:58:13

Ignore. How much would legal fees set them back - for £40? And you paid the DBS yourself so they can hardly expect you to repay them.

namechange818 Thu 17-Dec-20 16:03:42

@juneybean I can't remember- I've asked them to send me a copy of any correspondence where I've agreed to the fee

OP’s posts: |
namechange818 Thu 17-Dec-20 16:04:45

@incenseandpeppermints I didn't pay anything when I applied for the DBS- it didn't ask for any money. I think the agency sent me a link to an application via their website, so I assumed it would be charged to them

OP’s posts: |
Smallgoon Thu 17-Dec-20 18:09:53

Agency has screwed up and is now trying to scare you - there isn't a chance in hell that they'll try to reclaim a measly £48.

Not sure how important this agency is to you, and whether you want to leave on bad terms. If they're pretty important in terms of the roles they could expose you to, I'd just pay up or offer to pay half acknowledging that they're at fault for not informing you that you'd need to cover the cost of this.

JanetSnakeholeMacklin Thu 17-Dec-20 18:13:07

Recruitment agencies will squeeze every penny out of everyone on their books, illegally or not. Ignore them. It will cost them more to bring legal action against you, I'd bet anything they won't. They're just trying to scare you into paying up.

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 17-Dec-20 18:22:51

I think you were a bit naive. Did you think DBS checks are free? If the agency have found you a role and the DBS check was required, they'd probably absorb the fee. But if there's no actual role for you (so they're not making money out of you) and you've now got a DBS certificate that you can use for any role (so not necessarily through their agency), it's not unreasonable to expect you to cover the DBS fee.

If you want to continue your relationship with them, I'd pay up. If you will never have any contact with them again and they don't recruit for roles/employers that you might be interested in, you can choose to ignore them if you're not willing to pay the fee. Make sure that doesn't bite you in the backside at a later date if you cross paths with them again though.

RaspberryCoulis Thu 17-Dec-20 18:34:57

and you've now got a DBS certificate that you can use for any role

Except she can't because that's not how DBS checks work.

Firstly, DBS certificates are only "correct" on the day they're issued. The OP could get her DBS certificate one day and commit a whole string of horrible crimes the next. That wouldn't show on a certificate.

Also, the DBS look at the type of work under consideration when choosing what, if anything, to disclose. For example, a very old conviction for dishonesty with money might be disclosed if applying for a job working as a home help and taking old people shopping. Less relevant to a position working in a nursery.

Most employers will ask for a fresh DBS certificate for these reasons (or ask for a candidate to enrol in DBS Update). There is no law that says an employer must pay for DBS checks. In some areas of the job market it's common for the applicant to pay up front, then get refunded in their first pay packet.

But agree that they should have been clear up front you would be expected to pay, OP. The cost of an enhanced disclosure is £40 so it's not that they're charging you more than it actually costs.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Dec-20 19:41:12

How much would legal fees set them back

It would cost them £25 to make the claim. They would be able to reclaim this from the OP if successful. I am not saying they will claim but it won't cost them a huge amount to do so. The question is whether they can show that the OP agreed to pay for the DBS check.

namechange818 Thu 17-Dec-20 19:43:39

I have found a permanent job with a good company now so it's unlikely I'll need to use that agency again in future. To be honest I wasn't impressed with them at all so I would go to every other agency before using them again anyway!

Still not sure whether to pay or not though- as it's basically a DBS for that agency to use so I can't use it for any other employers anyway. The agency told me I'd been successful getting a job through them, then strung me along for a few months and never getting back to me about the position. So it's left me feeling quite let down by then anyway!

OP’s posts: |
Smallgoon Thu 17-Dec-20 20:39:27

Well ignore them. Though I wouldn't blanket ignore them until you're clear that they didn't specify in their comms with you that you were liable for the cost.

namechange818 Thu 17-Dec-20 22:27:26

I've replied asking for a copy of the email conversation

OP’s posts: |
Smallgoon Thu 17-Dec-20 23:54:57


I've replied asking for a copy of the email conversation

Shouldn't you have this yourself, given the conversation was with you?

SillyOldMummy Fri 18-Dec-20 01:58:15

I would send them a formal letter saying that you will not be paying unless they can show you the part of their email correspindence, the application form, or the terms and conditions you agreed to, stating that the DBS fee has to be paid for by you. You can also state that you assumes the cost was going to be recovered from the ultimate employer.

If they produce evidence that you should have known then pay it. Otherwise, they are trying it on and you shouldn't have to pay.

Icanseewhyichangednyusername Fri 18-Dec-20 03:51:53

Did you pay for the dbs? I’ve just arranged my own and paid 48 I think. Very odd of the agency if they are trying to bill you

17bluebirds Fri 18-Dec-20 08:19:49

Pay £13 a year and sign up to the update service. Then you will have the Dbs forever, and any potential new employers can check it on line for free.
You can also use it for things other than jobs that you might want to do in the future, such as volunteering in dc school, cubs or brownies, etc.
The fee is around £48 ( that's what I have to pay to have my new employees checked) so the agency wont be making a profit from it.
But if you didnt know that you were liable for the cost it is a bit unfair

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Dec-20 08:21:47

I’d pay it. If they have half a brain they will sell this to a debt collector who will just keep increasing it. They’d have to be daft to just write it off.

Aprilx Fri 18-Dec-20 10:19:17

DBS checks are not free. Assuming you have it in your position, I would pay it and keep it, could come in handy.

incenseandpeppermints Fri 18-Dec-20 12:12:36

Ask them to show documentation demonstrating you agreed to pay the fee.

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