Is it worth suing for a small amount?
It can be! We will help you decide whether it is worthwhile financially pursuing a debt, taking into account all the circumstances, including the debtor's ability to pay. In many cases, by simply sending a seven day letter we can make a debtor pay up. If you run a business, it can be important to pursue even small debts, so that other customers know that you will not tolerate unpaid debts.
How do you go about getting my money back?
We start by taking full details of the debt, the debtor and the situation in which the debt arose. We need to make a decision about whether the debt is worth pursuing and how best to go about it. At every stage of the proceedings we will advise you on which step to take next and how much it will cost you.
- step one - seven day letter
Initially we usually send a 7 day letter, which asks the debtor to pay the amount owed within 7 days or propose a payment plan, and warns them of the consequences if they don't. If the debtor does not pay the debt, or contact us to discuss the situation within 7 days, then we may proceed to.
- step two - issue a summons
We prepare a claim form for the county court which includes the details of the debt, the claimant (ie you) and the debtor (the person, business or organisation which owes you money. Once the court receives the claim they will post the summons to the defendant. The defendant then has 14 days from the date the summons is served to pay in full, make an offer, or respond to the summons. The summons will ask the defendant to pay:
- the outstanding debt
- 8% statutory interest
- court disbursement fee
- solicitor's scale cost
How do you make the debtor pay up?
Even though you have an order for the defendant to pay you, they may not pay up, for various reasons. We then have to take enforcement proceedings on your behalf. These include:
- instructing the bailiff to seize their property for sale
- getting a charge over their house and subsequently an order for the house to be sold
- obtaining an order for their employer or bank to make payments to you in respect of the judgement (otherwise known as an Attachment of Earnings Order).
Can I make a debtor bankrupt?
Once you have a judgement showing that a debtor owes you money, we can issue a statutory demand threatening an individual or business with bankruptcy if they don't pay you. They have 18 days to respond. If after 21 days there is no response, you can decide whether you wish to make them bankrupt. We would advise you carefully as to whether it would be sensible to proceed without having a good chance of getting your money back, as you will need to pay court fees, and other costs at this point. Sometimes simply the threat of bankruptcy will be enough to make your debtor finally pay you.
Will I get all my money back?
It is not always possible to get all your money back. Sometimes a debtor may simply be unable to pay. You may decide to accept part-payment or even to write a debt off. Again, we can advise you in these circumstances.