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  1. pete1
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    pete1 EF Member

    Hi,

    This is my first post on the forum, and I was wondering if anyone could advise me of the best course of action to take against a customer who is unable to pay me.
    I am a self employed electrician working mainly on domestic and commercial. Back in June 2011 I was contacted by a local guy who was building a new home by himself on a garden plot. I was asked to provide an estimate for the usual stuff, lighting and power, etc, and as the guy was a retired builder I agreed to give him my trade day rate, my estimate was accepted and I started work shortly after. Once work had begun the customer started making changes such as adding underfloor heating with stats in all rooms, and an air source heat pump as the main heat source, not to mention lots of extra sockets, lighting and tv points, I discussed these new requirements with the customer and offered to re-quote to which he said that he knew it would be a bit more and he was not too woried about the costs. Work carried on and after a week I had finished the 1st fix, I then asked about payment for the work so far which was stated in my terms to which I was told that, he needed to talk to me about that and would only be able to pay a little towards materials at this stage as he was waiting for a bridging loan. In the end I was paid £600 for materials but nothing for labour. Since July I have been back 2 or 3 times to do a few extras so that he could get plastering and painting underway, and to speed up the build, I recommended a mate of mine to do the plastering who was paid in advance. The customer has now asked me to come back again to move some sockets, cooker switch and a light switch in the kitchen as he has changed the plans again and also to add 4 sockets in the wet room which has now been changed to a utility room, I have again asked for payment for work so far and have been told that he would pay on completion. He still has no supply going to the house as yet and wants me back to do 2nd fix work, he is also now saying that the final costs will be way over the agreed original estimate and that we will have to sort this out with me too, and also that I didn't give him a cooling off period. I think he is building up to a refusal to pay and at this stage I don't want to be difficult and leave him with an unfinished house but I do need the money and am concerned that if I go back I am going to loose even more. All along I have tried to be reasonable and sympathetic to his situation at a cost to myself and my family but enough is enough. Sorry to rant on but perhaps if anyone has been in a similar situation or can give me any ideas as to what I should do next I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks, Pete
     
  2. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    walk away and put it down to experience. tell the guy that you are not prepared to carry on unless he pays you up to date and then cash in advance. the guy's a chancer and will run you ragged. cut your losses. iv'e been there and got the t shirt. believe me it hurts when you trust them after having had trouble, then they knock you again.
     
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  3. pete1
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    pete1 EF Member

    Thanks for the your reply, it does leave a bitter taste but I think your right. Onwards and upwards!
     
  4. ExArmy
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    ExArmy Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    cumbria
    i'd try getting something in writing first, saying that he agrees to pay upon completion. and if he says no then walk away.
     
  5. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    i would not even do that. once bitten etc. soon as i get a hint of non payment or late payment, wants alterations/additions, work stops till cash in hand or cheque cleared. if not forthcoming, then it's in the van and bye, bye mr. arsehole.
     
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  6. sparky3366
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    sparky3366 Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Monkeyhanger Land
    I would also go in with a set of side cutters...if he ain't paying, he ain't getting.
     
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  7. vernam616
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    vernam616 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    North
    You should have agreed payment terms before the job started, at very least you should of walked away when you first asked for cash and never got it, would have been less of a kick for you

    Good luck in getting it sorted, you should sell your debt or scare him by telling him you are going to sell it to a 3rd party company, sometimes makes people pay up as they dont want the hassle of bayliffs/courts etc....
     
  8. alarm man
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    alarm man Guest

    either rip it all out,or bend over...your future reputation maybe be built on this job...
     
  9. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    Remember to put the word out in the wholesalers. He'll be screwed if everyone knows he's a bad payer
     
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  10. i=p/u
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    i=p/u Trusted Advisor

    aint easy... good luck in whatever you decide, make that plead you need payed, and i think if you have agreement you chance your arm in saying you going to sell the debt to 3rd party compant might work, if not no work... aint easy
     
  11. DaveyD
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    DaveyD Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Warminster
    That's a good idea Trev and good to think of others too. No fair on anyone that.

    Sorry to hear that Pete. Not that it will help you now but I always get the materials up front then labour 40% 1st, 40% 2nd and 20% on EIC.

    You could do as suggested and get a contract for future if you decide to continue. Napit do a simple one with a new signed section for additions so you both know where you stand.
     
  12. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    There's always the courts
     
  13. i=p/u
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    i=p/u Trusted Advisor

    deal with it like they do in the wild west; stick em up punk, or still be normal and proceed through courts.... nobody does credit anymore without gurantees
     
  14. Cyberprog
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    Cyberprog Regular EF Member

    How long between the quote being given, and work starting? Anything in writing agreeing to the quotation?
    You should issue him with an Invoice right away for the work done to date, and then move to small claims after that. You'll only stand to lose what you're losing already plus the court fees, somewhere around £100-£200 by the time it gets that far.
     
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  15. Des 56
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    Des 56 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Gliese 581C
    He sounds very dodgy
    I wouldn't just put it down to experience and walk away

    Some of the advise given is very good,I would perhaps combine a few to pressure him without further commitment on your part


    One other thing that you could do,its a new house, so building control will be involved
    Have a word in their ear expressing your concerns that the job may not be completed by yourself, that you will not be registering the work, that you want confirmation that they accept only an eic.

    Remind them (in case they are ignorant) that being the installer, the EIC ,obviously, this can only come from you, objections will be made by you if they were to disregard this duty

    Stir the crap a wee bit before you walk
     
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  16. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    This is good. Issue an invoice with a clearly specified (but reasonable) time to pay and actions following non payment.
    If you have been operating since June with no payment then it is time to call time and get payment sorted before any more work is done, you have to live and this is the nature of business.
    Remember that if you have not given him the written notification of the right to cancel then he can still cancel at any time until a notice is given, then he has seven days, but he must sign to say he will pay for reasonable costs incurred to the date of cancellation.
    Should he pay, then for all future work get signed quotes at each stage / change with terms and conditions of payment, including the actions covering late payment.
    For any additions requested write out a quick quote and get it signed (always a failure on my part).

    I wish you the best of luck.
     
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  17. danzor
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    danzor Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    London
    Paint stripper for the car
     
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  18. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Written polite reminder, then 30 days later another (polite) reminder including the following statement:

    "I attach my original invoice to this letter and wish to inform you, that if the invoice is not settled in full by xx[SUP]th[/SUP] yyyyyy 2010, I intend to refer this matter to the Small Claims Court without further reference to you."


    Good luck
     
  19. JamesBrownLive
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    JamesBrownLive Guest

    When things start to turn nasty, what can also help is if you fill out a small claims court form, and include it with one of your 'demand for payment' letters.

    I had a problem with a property company a few years back who would not return my deposit, I waited about six weeks during which time I was given every excuse under the sun. The thing that really pi$$ed me off was the fact that they were a massive company with an HQ in Knightsbridge :euro:

    I faxed them a final demand on a Thursday, stating that unless I had received my money by the following Tuesday AM, on Tuesday PM I would be off down to the local court to submit the attached claim form. I included a copy of the completed form to show them I was not merely talking BS but knew what I was doing. It obviously worked, as I got a cheque the very next day.

    Details..

    http://hmctsformfinder.direct.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex306_e.pdf

    The form required..

    http://hmctsformfinder.direct.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n1_0102.pdf

    Cheers
     
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  20. richy3333
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    richy3333 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    UK
    Sounds like to me that yo have been fair and reasonable. I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with this guy. I agree with Tel that you shouldn't do anymore work until he has paid-up. If you go back again he'll take you for a mug.

    I'd issue a final letter explaining the background circumstances as you have summarised here and attach an invoice for the amount to date. Give him 21 days to pay and if he doesn't pay just use the money claim online service to commence proceedings. Dead easy to do. A CCJ against him will affect his credit rating and thus any attempts to get his bridging loan that he wants.

    I'd also give the nod to building control and why not put an ad in the local paper to advertise he doesn't pay his contractors?
     
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  21. keniff
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    keniff Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    east sussex
    I'd go with the post "go there with some side cutters" cut everything flush to the wall lol
     
  22. ruston
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    ruston Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northumberland
    All good advice regarding the law route. Further to the post about informing local tradesmen I would also have a quiet word with the managers of the local building suppliers , it may be that he has opened accounts with them; I'm sure they would thank you for the warning.
    Before I did anything I would tell him of any action you are going to take regarding the advice you have been given, as has been said he is a chancer and a fright maybe all he needs.
    Tell him the effect that credit checks will have on his future credit rating never mind ccj's. All the best.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  23. supasparxs
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    supasparxs Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Leigh, Lancashire
    ok,
    I have read the replies and there are a few questions for you

    Is this retire builder a Ltd company of a private individual?

    Have you submitted a written quotation?
    Do you have a set of terms and conditions? if not here is one from this forum a few weeks ago and I'm now adopting these.
    (http://www.electriciansforums.co.uk...an-business-requires-advice-2.html#post397464)
    Any documentation in regards variations or extras?
    Did you submit the invoices in writing?
    If you did submit the invoice did it state when the invoice was due?
    What if any contract do you have in writing?
    What if any contract was agreed verbally?

    As it has already been stated that you should submit an invoice stating that if payment is not received within 7 days from date of the invoice the legal action will proceed?

    After this has elapsed there are 2 choices. You can either go down the small claims court,

    the URL is

    https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

    The forms are straight forward, when it goes to court go prepared and have all your documentation with you.

    Over the last few year myself and my other half have been there 4 times, both us claiming against others and others claiming against us
    1) Me first time. non-payment of invoice when subcontracting. I won I didn't fill the form in claiming interest on overdue monies so I got my invoice amount and expences
    2) Other half. She said some garments (she's in the rag trade) were sub standard. the other party stalled and at the 11th hour attempted to propon the hearing. The magistrate over ruled him and he was absent. we won. and got expenses and costs. we wrote to him stating that he had 7 days to collect his stock, pro-former invoice for us to return his stock (invoice for something that will be done in the future). He had a courier company collect them.
    3) A builder took us to court for non-payment of invoices. the work in the garden was not fit for purpose. we (both parties went to court) he wanted a plumber that is now a surveyor to be an expert witness. we wanted someone who has experience of block paving and hard landscaping (now retired from actual work due to back injury). There is no qualification in hard landscaping, however the expert witness we were proposing was helping to write the NVQ in it.
    The long and the short of it is, the report went badly for the builder and he started another company. when we won there were no assets in the company. he had moved his office to his home. which has a 600mm high fence around it with and entryphone. there is CCTV in operation.
    we commuted the CCJ to a writ of via farrsas (don't quote me basically as the money was over £600 the bailiffs have more powers).
    As the registered office is a domestic house then there is no way they can force entry to recover goods to the value.
    Basically we won, but we won alot of work with no reward
    4) Me subbing for another company, I started the small claims court against them. they "Phoenixed" the company. basically moved all assets out of the company left all the debt. and I was down £3500

    someone stated getting building control involved about the 1st fix was carried out but due to non-payment the second fix has not progressed and as a result any EIC is incomplete without your signature.
    That's a good Idea


    The small claims court is straight forward, you don't need to get someone to represent you, it'll be the magistrate, you and the other party sitting around a table.

    When you do fill the form in. Make sure you fill in the bit about interest from the day the invoice became overdue

    Good luck

    Richard
     
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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  24. richy3333
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    richy3333 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    UK
    Good post supasparxs. Sorry to hear you've had so much contact with the courts!
     
  25. supasparxs
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    supasparxs Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Leigh, Lancashire
    It's all experience,
    good and bad.

    but basically I don't do this job for fun.
    I work hard, and would like to be rewarded for my efforts

    If someone says they are having a cash flow problem, I can be flexible.
    we all have those issues from time to time.
    but when people take the P!55.....

    Richard
     
  26. drew35
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    drew35 Guest

    Get back in there and remove everything you supplied. Tell him the money he has paid so far was for your labour and you still own the parts as he has failed to pay, as they still belong to you you're entitled to remove them. Then like everyone else has said, cut the cables flush, walk away lesson learned but don't leave him with anything that he's gained out of you. And most important, if he's older / smaller than you, punch him!!!
     
  27. supasparxs
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    supasparxs Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Leigh, Lancashire
    This would be illegal
    you maybe able to remove your property from somewhere, but you cant cause ant damage.
    so If the walls are plastered you can remove the cables without damaging the plaster?

    I think there is something somewhere that you can't just cut the cables (tempting as it is)
    I'm not sure what but you would be damaging there property (as it is fitted to their building)

    Richard
     
  28. sparky3366
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    sparky3366 Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Monkeyhanger Land
    If they haven't paid for it, its your property. I've done it before and would do it again against some of the chancers out there...
     
  29. Spoon
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    Spoon Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Lancashire
    I like this idea, but I dont think I would do any damage to any work you have done upto now. If you do take him to court & you get all the money he owes you, you might have to finish the job off, and that would be a bit hard if you have cut all the cables.
     
  30. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    That could be legally classed as harrassment and/or slander or libel (depending on which of those means you put it in writing)
     
  31. sparky3366
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    sparky3366 Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Monkeyhanger Land
    thats one of the reasons you dont see peoples names in shop windows anymore...
     
  32. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    In a similar situation I once went to see someone who I thought was trying to stiff me with a couple of lads I played rugby with they didn't have to say anything they just looked menacing. I got paid but the legallities of this approach are a little dubious
     
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  33. Cyberprog
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    Cyberprog Regular EF Member

    You're not entitled to go in with a pair of side cutters, as in a situation such as this the stuff you have installed has become part of the property. I'd also avoid violence, as it's too easy to get nicked for it.
    Just pay some heavies to jump him one night 6 months down the line, much more satisfying :)
    If I were you, I'd try and see if you can get enough evidence to suggest that this was a B2B transaction, not a B2C, with him being a sole trader. Your use of trade rates here may well help in that situation. This allows you to use the Late Payment Legislation, and put late fees and interest onto the debt.
     
  34. pete1
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    pete1 EF Member

    Thanks everyone for your replies, I would like to try to behave as reasonably as possible so I have today written to the customer with an explanation of the additional costs for the extra work that he had asked for and a revised estimate to complete the job. I have also enclosed my invoice for the work so far and have requested payment within 14 days. I have stated that I would be happy to go back and complete the job but will require the full balance in advance. If I don't hear anything back then I'm afraid I will have to think about a final demand and then possible court action. All this business has made me think hard about the best way to ensure payment on completion of work in the future and as suggested by Dave the 40% 1st, 40% 2nd and 20% EIC looks like a good way forward. The trouble is consumers are often advised by the media not to part with money until the works completed, but what about the trades who are often left unpaid?
     
  35. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    On a more serious note than my last post I've got a mate who is an accountant and he tells me that if the bill is more than £750 (which I'd bet it is) there are ways you can have him declared bankrupt. It would really pee on his fireworks if you could do that but me mate says you'll probably need a solicitorto guide you through the process and it'll cost you a few quid.

    Best of luck to you mate
     
  36. La Poste
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    La Poste Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South east
    Please keep us informed of future developments.

    I am just getting my head around the small claims court procedure myself at the moment.

    Ok it's for a clamping company that charged me £450 to release my car but it's still relevant.

    This sort of thing, builders ripping Sparkies off, is happening too much these days.

    Apologies if I have offended any honest builders.
     
  37. Cyberprog
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    Cyberprog Regular EF Member

    Caution - Do not only Sue the Clamping Company - Sue the Land Owner or Agent who employed them at the same time, on the same action. That way, when they lose (which they inevitably will) you can get the money from a company that actually has assets, and will therefore pay, instead of ignore you and eventually pheonix. Plus you can then take a charge on the land too if all else fails.

    And in future, don't be so bloody stupid and pay. Cut the bloody thing off. What clamp? is the only thing you need say if someone comes round, just make sure you dispose of the evidence, scrap metal is at an all time high.
     
  38. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    £450.00 to release a clamp - cripes where were you? Chelsea or Westminster??
     
  39. La Poste
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    La Poste Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South east
    Can you believe it Southall of all places, I only went for a quick curry.

    There is an Iceland store and it has a car park that is not lit at all.
    The clampers wait in the shadows and clamp you even when you are sitting in your car, it's a complete racket.

    I joined a motoring forum and found out this car park is notorious.
    I learned on the forum the procedure for getting my money back but like all things it's finding the bloody time to do it.
     
  40. alarm man
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    alarm man Guest

    ive never been clamped before(ive said it now) but if i did the basser things getting the barrel drilled out and left with a £10 note to cover the cost of the replacement,you think traffic wardens are bad,id rather share a drink with a junkie than a clamper..scum of the earth..
     
  41. La Poste
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    La Poste Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South east
    I agree but in this instance my car had been clamped and towed away, I had no choice but to pay as my car was in a compound ten miles away.

    I went to the car park and took some video and photos and watched as a single guy was clamped whilst sitting in his car, there were two heavy mob clampers who basically demanded money with menace from him.

    Maybe I should start a thread in chit chat because I don't want to stray off topic from the OP's non payment problems which seem far more important than my £400.

    My thread is here is anyone is interested:
    Another clamp at Quality foods in Southall thread - FightBack Forums
     
  42. s100cky
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    s100cky EF Member

    Hi.
    Ive read this whole thread, and i am very interested in the outcome. I am in a simialar situation at the minute, and would love to know what happened.

    Many thanks,

    hope it all worked out ok.

    (Side cutters are the way forward.)
     
  43. beaver74
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    beaver74 Guest

    that realy is a waste of time
     
  44. pete1
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    pete1 EF Member

    Hi,
    Apologies for the very late reply. After writing to the guy with invoice I was phoned by his wife asking if I would mind meeting them on site one evening. I turned up coffee in hand on arrival, both were very sorry about the situation and asked how they could sort things out. I said that I would require 1st fix labour now and once received I would come back to do 2nd fix. He wanted to get his own 2nd fix materials which I was happy about, and asked what he needed to get,. I also said when finished I would need 2nd fix labour before EIC and Part 'P'. Finished now and paid up to date, except need to go back to wire heating when they're ready for me.
     
  45. Dave 85
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    Dave 85 Guest

    Thats good news
    I'd happily go around and kneecap non payers if the law would only allow me (which it ruddy well should) although to be honest its not happened to me in years. Builders are definetly the ones to watch out for which is why I barely work for any.

    On the subject of car clamping.....
    Well parking tickets really....I hope all you guys realise that if you are issued a parking fine by a private company then you dont need to pay it. Round my area they mostly just put 'charge notices' on yer windscreen instead of clamping on the basis that people have more money than sense. I have stacks of letters, final demands, letters from 'soliciters' and 'bailiffs' and 'notices of intended litigation' that Ive collected since discovering this little gem.

    The notice of intended litigation is always the last you'll hear from them...they know full well if it goes to court they'll lose.
     
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