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Can you confirm that for the avoidance of doubt the company having written to her telling her they could not trace the account number did not contact her again until the request for confirmation as to whether she had received payment? If that is correct how long a period between these two events would you estimate was involved?
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Thanks. Did she pay any upfront payment to them?
Thanks. The starting point from what you say is that your wife will presumably have agree terms whereby she agreed to pa the company a percentage of the claim. On this evidence alone the company likely has a legitimate claim. However this is purely a starting point.
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From what you say they could not find an account and then took no further action for circa a 9 months to a year. In addition they were not operative in her successful claim which she carried out herself. Accordingly I believe she would have grounds to resist paying the full fee, perhaps their entire fee however she may be required to pay something towards their adminstration costs of the claim.
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As they have issued a claim against her, she should indicate that she intends to defend the matter. She will be sent something called an allocation questionnaire by the court.
On the same she should indicate that she proposes that the claim be adjourned until the matter can be determined by alternative dispute resolution.
Meanwhile she should submit a written complaint to the company concerned. If she can come to a settlement with them this is all well and good but if not she should consider complaining to the Financial Ombudsman. They have the power to impose a settlement on the company though your wife is not bound by it if she does not like the determination.
The Ombudsman will take into account all the circumstances and decide a fee that they feel is fair. It is unlikely that the company will be able to collect their whole fee as they failed to do anything
Your wife should have been sent a response form by the court. She need indicate on it that she intends to defend. SHe must return it within 14 days to the court.
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