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I have been askedto look at this for you.
Let me clarify. Itwas standard procedure for the school to issue you invoices for blocks of roomhire.
You would simplysend them a cheque for the actual days that you use the rooms, which was alwaysless than the invoice?
Approximately howmuch were the invoices and approximately how much did you pay each time? To thenearest hundred pounds or £200 is close enough. I am trying to get the scale ofthis.
I need to know whythey invoice for blocks of days but you only paid for a few days.
How much notice didit in effect to give you that you could no longer rent the building? Did thiscause any problems? Any financial loss?
Did anyone else useit?
How much did youuse it in comparison to anyone else?
How much do theyallege that you owe?
This might sound anodd question but I will explain why I am asking later, was this cheque on youraccount or from somebody else's account?
Have the schoolcome back to you since you have explained the last 12 years procedure? Do youhave proof of that?
I will tell youthat, at this stage, I think we can probably deal with this in a satisfactorymanner. Please bear with me today because we are all more years in practice andI am online and off-line.
It seems very oddway of working, to be invoiced upfront and then for you to manually make the changes.The correct way of doing it, if they want to invoice upfront, is for them toissue a credit note for the non-used days and for you to pay the balance.
To be frank, basedupon these facts, whilst their invoice is in respect of all the possible daysthat you could have been there, because of the various closure etc I would tellthem that the payment they have represents all the days which you occupied thebuilding did they do issue proceedings, you will defend them on that basis. Tellthem that you have extremely accurate detail records going back over 12 yearswhich you will produce to the court.
This is one ofthose may have to decide for you. Tell them not to write to you again buteither issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court or leave you alone.
I appreciate that you did not know that this was going tobecome a problem but if you had suspected it, and you had asked the question onhere about how to deal with the part payment to make sure that it did not comeup and bite you, I could have answered you. Incases like this, I never suggest making an offer. I suggest sending a cheque.Armed with a cheque in the hand for some of the amount they want, compared toan argument over the whole of the amount, (and arguments that they may win orlose) the cheque in the hand is a pretty powerful incentive to accept it.
So, wheneverthis crops up in future, consider deciding how much you would like to pay the(you need to make it attractive enough) and send it with a covering letterheaded "without prejudice save as to costs". That means that they cannotproduce the letter in court as any proof that you admit owing them any money atall.
Tellthem in the letter that you are offering this money in full and final settlementof all claims against you, past, present and future, and that by cashing itthey accept it as such. Tell them that if they do not accept it, they shouldreturn the cheque to you and if they issue legal proceedings, you will defendthem on the basis of A, B, C, whatever.
Tellthem that if they do not understand the significance of the letter. They shouldtake independent legal advice.
Ican tell you this approach works nine times out of 10, provided the offer isreasonable and not derisory.
For legal reasons which I will not bore you with but whichgo back several hundred years, the cheque must not come from you, but was comefrom a third party, friend, relative, solicitor, our accountant, neighbour,girlfriend, wife, husband, whoever, just not from you.
Here is some rather heavy reading http://www.voltimum.co.uk/news/2312/cm/the-law----full-and-final-settlement-.html
to answer thequestion about whether they can cash the cheque as a part payment, yes they canand there is case law (lots of case law) on just that. The principle is thatpart payment is not sufficient consideration to forego the balance.
There are ways aroundit which are in the scenario I gave you earlier.
Doesthat answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?
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