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Do you think I've got a good case for the Small Claims Court?

(20 Posts)
stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 19:47:05

OK, so I do. My mum does. My XP does....I thought I'd bounce it off a few MNetters, just in case I'm being totally deluded.

OK, so the case is thus: I'm a self employed craftsperson, with a particular (rare) skill set. In October I was approached by a small company who wanted me to do a job for them, on site and about 100 miles from home, that they didn't have the skills to do. I was given the specifications and quoted £500, which they accepted.

I had to do quite a bit of preparatory work prior to arriving on site, and also needed the designs by a certain date in order to be sure of finishing by the deadline. Despite increasingly frantic emails, the company didn't provide me with these until right at the last minute. Over the phone, I was told that they'd help me finish, if time was tight. Also, the design brief had changed, although I'd argue that it didn't seem like any less work. Crucially, no change to my fee was raised by the company at this point.

So, I get the designs at the very last possible minute, the company take me to site (I'd offered to drive myself, but they said it was fine), I work like an absolute bastard for 2 days (because by now time was tight), company boss also works like an absolute bastard to help me finish on the second day (I had to instruct him what to do), we finish in the nick of time, and drive home.

I should also say the company put me up in a hotel, with absolutely no reference to any extra cost incurred on my part.

The day after I get an email asking me to "reconsider" my fee, because company boss helped me to consider the job. I say no, because it should have been discussed prior to the work being done, but as a goodwill gesture I'll break down the hours I've done- 30 hours @ £15 p/h = £450, so they can pay me £450.

No answer for a couple of months, until I send a letter threatening the Small Claims Court (is this called a "Letter before action?"). I then get an email reply offering £350, which I refuse. Company replies with a list of assertions based on things I may or may not have said (some I can recall saying, some I can't, some I did but have been twisted)- all of which is verbal, with no written record.

Based on this, do you think I should go ahead and file a claim with the Small Claims Court?

TIA all knowing ones grin

lljkk Thu 11-Feb-16 19:59:00

What proof do you have that they promised would pay £500?

stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 20:04:51

Thanks for answering lljkk smile.

I have pretty much a complete email trail of everything discussed, including their accepting my quote of £500.

bb888 Thu 11-Feb-16 20:09:42

This [http://www.creativebloq.com/career/graphic-designers-price-list-priceless-91516736 link] seems relevant here.
It doesn't seem like they have much of a leg to stand on, as you have it all in writing, especially the email asking you to reconsider which proves that they understood what the fee was even after the job had finished.

bb888 Thu 11-Feb-16 20:10:23

Sorry, link here

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 11-Feb-16 20:14:30

We had an electrician round DH took the day off to be home me ended up helping him all day - we paid the full quoted fee - it's what you do!

Sue

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 11-Feb-16 20:15:50

I would go for it. I have taken three claims to this court, and won all of them. It doesn't cost you much to do it. You have the paper trail. As an aside, athough my claims were not business ones, my house insurance picked up the last one part way through the action (when I realised I was covered for it) The look on faces when they sent a barrister to court for me smile

stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 20:18:29

Thanks bb.

I have come across this price list before, and it is extremely relevant to at least 50% of my jobs! One day I will snap and actually email it to a client grin.

rosebiggs Thu 11-Feb-16 20:19:01

The cheeky feckers - yes take them to court. Isn't it 28 days for an invoice to be paid? How much does it cost to go to the small claims court?

stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 20:25:35

It'll cost me £35, so not too bad at all.

Thanks for your input everybody, you've boosted my confidence thanks. I was getting a bit daunted by all the legalese on the claim form, and, although I thought I was right, I've seen a couple of friends get royally fucked over by their exes in the divorce court in the not too recent past, so my faith in the legal system to uphold what is Right and Fair was getting a bit tarnished.

I shall put the claim in tomorrow!

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 11-Feb-16 20:32:08

I think it sounds like you may need to do it for your own peace of mind. Give the bastards twits a run for their money, if nowt else smile

rosebiggs Thu 11-Feb-16 20:33:56

By the way I loved your reference to a 'particular (rare) skill set!' You're not Liam Neeson are you? grin

stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 20:36:07

That is precisely why I am so keen to do it spongebob- sheer indignation at them taking the piss like that!

I know it's not relevant to the actual case, but FFS, it was the first time I left 5 month old DS overnight, and their chopping and changing made it really difficult to organise that, plus there was nowhere to express on site so my boobs nearly exploded (the hotel were angels and let me keep my overnight expressed milk in their fridge though)!

stubbornstains Thu 11-Feb-16 20:39:42

I had to google that rose- brilliant grin.

Normally I'm pretty open about what I do- it's very identifying hit woman - but I thought I'd better be careful because Legal Shenanigans are involved...

stubbornstains Sun 28-Feb-16 20:59:56

Just an update, should anybody with a similar problem search the Talk archives and come across this in the future...

I made an online claim, and the defendant gave in and made full payment, I assume upon receiving the paperwork!

RESULT!!!!!! grin

Room101isWhereIUsedToLive Sun 28-Feb-16 21:02:46

Excellent stuff, well done!!!

Choughed Sun 28-Feb-16 22:19:17

Yay! Well done you.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Mon 29-Feb-16 17:46:20

Result! grin

AnneElliott Mon 29-Feb-16 20:20:13

I think you have a good case. You have evidence of the agreement and therefore it appears to be a valid contract. Not on for them to decide to reduce the fee after the work has been done.

I've gone to small claims against some big companies and have won every time. No need to fear the process as your documents will speak for themselves.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Tue 01-Mar-16 22:18:34

Anne, OP has already 'won' her case.

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