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Money Claim Online UK - My Story
Money Claim online is rapidly becoming recognised as a useful tool for those wishing to pursue a small claim in the courts. In this article i'm going to share with you the two occasions I have used money claim online and what the outcome was. Hopefully it will give you a good idea of just how the service works.
Money claim online is a service offered by the UK court service that allows you to file a claim in the courts entirely through the Internet. A claim can be made from the comfort of home and the progress of your case tracked online. No expensive solicitors or technical jargon to navigate. If you believe you have a genuine claim then it is a very uncomplicated and stress free process at relatively low cost.
Why do I use Money Claim online UK?
As many small business owners will tell you, interrupted cash flow and slow or non-paying customers can quickly cripple you. Any business in financially tough times can find themselves working for customers that no longer feel they can make payment or just frankly hope to get away with non-payment. In the past four years of operating ive had several occasions when I have either underpaid or received no payment for a service we have supplied. On two of these occasions I felt we had a strong enough case to pursue a legal course of action and turned to money claim online.
Case study one
I had a call to a block of ten apartments reporting a faulty toilet flush. I was met my my customer who explained that this fairly new block of apartments were all suffering from the same problem. I agreed to fix one, for a fixed price and if the fix proved successful we would return some time later to do the same fix to the other nine.
Two weeks later I had the customer calling to say he was very pleased and could I provide a quote to fix the other nine. This was duly done and agreed and we completed the work the next day. I left my invoice at the office and even received a call later that day thanking me for the work and payment would be sent out within a week.
Well to cut a long story short, despite many calls and assurances that payment would be made, I never received any money. I was over a hundred pounds down on parts and six weeks passed with no payment.
At this point is was suggested to me to try Money Claim online. I tried once more to get payment and stated that my next step was legal action and still nothing.
Money claim online - the process
Ive had many people over the years that have been wayward with small payments or only made part payments, but this one really got under my skin. A friend suggested I tried money claim online. The concept of making claims against customers was very daunting but I was surprised how after just half an hour id created an account, completed the details and submitted a claim. I did have to pay some costs (approx 50 pounds), but it would be added to the claim and I knew without doubt that I had a very strong case.
The next two weeks were nervy but after continual checking online I saw that the defendant had chosen not to respond to the correspondence and judgement would be made automatically and in my favour!. The best bit about money claim online is seeing that the judgment has been passed onto the bailiffs. I had very satisfying visions of the customers face when they turned up for my money plus all the court costs!
Money Claims online - the verdict
So a happy ending? Not quite. Some days later I received a letter from the collections team to say they had attempted to recover the debt but that the defendant wasn't at home. They would try again in a few days. A week later I received a letter to say that they had attempted to recover the debt but that the defendant didn't appear to live at the address given. They also said that they suspected he was living in ( or claiming to live in) one of the other apartments of the block. They said that if I paid another collections fee and gave evidence of the new address they would attempt collection again.
At this point my heart sunk. I was two hundred pounds down, and despite having a court judgement to back me up, I still couldn't get my money. Sadly I just couldn't justify putting more money into the search. I put it down to experience.
Money claim online - Case study two
Despite the previous failure I had confidence that the system worked and that I'd just got unlucky. A year later I conducted some work for a customer and was paid by cheque. The cheque was paid in and I went away on a mini-break. When I got back from holiday there was a letter from the bank to say that the account that the cheque was sent from was a closed account.
Needless to say I was unimpressed and went straight round. This wasn't a bounced cheque it was outright fraud. I endured a million excuses from the customer and gave him a further seven days to make payment. Nothing happened so I opted for money claim online again. With an existing account, the claim took just minutes. A few days later I had a letter to say that there was no one by the defendants name living at the address given. Again I was given the option of doing my own research and supplying new details or delivering the papers myself.
I attempted to do this myself several times, but each time, of course, there was no one at home. My options seemed limited, so I chose to focus on my current customers and trying to forget about another failure.
Money claim online - Learn from my mistakes!
You'd think that after these two failures that I'd have a very negative view of money claim online uk as a method of debt recovery for small businesses. Quite the opposite, its given me the confidence to move my business forward when it comes to dealing with difficult customers. Ive learnt that my failures were due predominantly to my lack of detail. Had I kept a more studious record of customers details, I may have had success in both. Best of all, since taking this new approach ive had no new need to taking action in the courts.
Inevitably it will happen again and as long as I know I have strong case, I wont hesitate to use money claim online again.