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We have a very good customer (a flooring company that have used Flobot from the very beginning) who had an unfortunate issue with a sub contractor not doing their work properly and destroying the carpet supplied in the process. Thus they were left in the unfortunate position of having to re-purchase the carpet and re-ft it – which of course they did to ensure their customer received the first class service that they are renowned for.

They tried to reconcile the incident amicably with the contractor who admitted liability and agreed to repay the carpet costs, they had already been paid for the job as it s not legal in the UK to apply a paid when paid approach to the sub-contractors. Unfortunately as so often happen they were dishonest and then stopped answering any calls or correspondence. I expect that if you have been in business long enough this scenario won’t come as a big surprise.

So, they were left no option (as it was a significant amount) to seek recourse through the courts. The way to start this process is to use the MCOL or Money Claim Online process.

So, after paying the initial £80 to lodge the complaint, they duly filled out the form and waited. The claim was filed on 21/08/2015 which is now over 6 months ago. They requested mediation as suggested by the court to save time and expense for all the parties involved which seemed like a sensible option.

A time was set for the 3 parties, the claimant the defendant and the mediation service but the mediation service missed the prescribed call time without any explanation at all. Nothing and no letter was sent either. So, around 25th October they received a letter dated 20th October 2015 informing them that District Judge L Callaghan ‘proposes to deal with the claim without a hearing, that is, on papers alone’.

They were then asked for a further £115 which they paid.

They then didn’t receive anything at all so they rang on the 21st to be told that they had missed the hearing and after a little investigation, as in fact it was a paper exercise, it had gone ahead and they should await the verdict.

Last week after 6 months received a letter dated 22nd January 2015 that simply said:

Before Deputy District Judge Callaghan sitting at the County Court at Basildon, The Gore, Basildon Essex, SS14 2BU

IT IS ORDERED THAT

1. Claim dismissed

Dated 20 January 2016

As you can imagine, they were pretty disappointed with this outcome after spending many hours preparing the documents requested – over 10 pages of statement and testimony (thanks to the Flobot CRM software)where they had a good case (if it seems Deputy District Judge Callaghan had bothered to read it), where basically they contracted someone to fit a carpet for a client, delivered the carpet to them, they cut it, they bound it, they attempted to fit it, they paid them, they damaged it, botched it, then ruined it by slashing it, denied it, then abused the customer, then they bought a new carpet and fitted it themselves, then didn’t get anything in return from the contractor..

How is that fair to their business and what does it say to the rest of the business working hard out there to ensure their customer get a good service? It basically says that if you are a small business you have no protection under the law from a rogue trader.

Secondly, a two-word judgement with no explanation as to why the claim has was dismissed is just absurd. They should file a claim against MCOL, as they haven’t received a service they have paid for! Just how arrogant are these judges?

Thirdly, they spent a further £115 after Judge Callaghan had read the initial claim and proposed that it was worth judging on paper alone. Why didn’t he or she dismiss it then?

So basically, it has all been a waste of time and money. Money Claim Online = Waste of time. And my advice?
The law is an ass and completely incompetent. So make sure you only pay your contractors after you have been paid by the client and that they are happy. Because there is no protection from the law once you have paid them and ou most likely will never hear from them again if something goes wrong.


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