I need some advice please, from someone with experience of court claims.
I had some building work done on my house last year and long story short, the builder (let's call him Bob) had some financial troubles halfway through, and stopped work on the project. It transpired that Bob had been using the money we paid him to cover other unrelated expenses, so work slowed to a halt. We terminated the contract with Bob's building company and paid a new builder to complete the work, however Bob promised to pay us back the amount he owed us.
Seven months later, we were still going back and forth with Bob constantly promising to pay us 'next month', sending cheques which bounced etc. I finally issued a claim to him personally to get the money back. He's defended the claim by saying it's a company debt not a personal debt so he's not liable. There's also a veiled threat in there that 'the company may cease to exist should economic conditions worsen', which I interpret as "if you try and make me pay I'll just dissolve the company so you're not getting the money either way".
As the cheques and letters since termination have been with Bob directly, rather than through the company, am I justified in treating this as a personal claim? Or do I need to forget this claim (and the £500 fee), and start a new claim against the company, for all the good that would do?
Prh47: Doesn't day if it's B blogs T/a bobs building company or Bobs building company limited.
There is a massive difference!
Sole traders (t/a) are personally liable and if limited business you get judgement against this business and enforce against them. The m.ds aren't liable and unless their really bloody dodgy and go insolvent, in which case you can raise questions to an IP.
I am well aware of the difference in liability between sole traders and limited companies.
Bob has apparently filed a defence saying this is a company debt, not a personal debt, and has suggested that the company may cease to exist if economic conditions worsen. It would be pretty stupid to say that if he is actually a sole trader. So my assumption is that Bob has a limited company. But yes, it is possible he is lying through his teeth and is actually a sole trader.
The OP hasn't said who the contract is with. It could have been with him as TA so he could take the cash but also have LTD, he's filled defence saying it's the other as means to avoid payment. Happens all too often
His company is a limited company, yes. My (apparently incorrect) assumption was that because our interaction with him has been personal (personal emails/letters, personal cheques) since the contract was terminated, then he was personally liable.
I've spoken to the helpline, and it appears that I can amend the defendant's name on my claim for another £100. I think I'll go ahead with that.
In the meantime, Bob has sent a note reiterating that he simply doesn't have the money and says there's nothing he can do.
I think I will go ahead with an amended claim anyway, even this means that he winds down the business and I get nothing. It's horrible that he can get away with this, but at least I'll know that I've done everything I can. And all he gets is the minor inconvenience of having to fill in a few forms - shocking really!
Thats what i hate about LTD companies in the UK especially building ones build takes loads of your money does poor job, you go to court he dissolves company despite him have tons of assists he then rebands his company and starts up again to defraud other people rinse and repeat indiffently if his name becomes mud in one area the shift to another.
I would like a situation were if you own a company you cannot just dissovle it and re open it with pending legal action and avoiding your own liability. Because right now its so easy to be a cowboy builder and there is very little you can legally do to get your money back.