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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22618
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I have just received a letter from solicitors of. I sold

Customer Question

Hi,
I have just received a letter from solicitors of ***** *****. I sold some articles on ebay and they have been found to be fake. they want me to reply and among other things pick up soloicitor fees and offer compensation
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

Good evening. My name is ***** ***** it’s my pleasure to assist you with this. I need some more information from you please.

What are they asking you for, the number of items you sold, how much you sold for, the price you paid, and who supplied them?

Are they asking you for an amount of money? How much?

As much background information as possible is really useful please. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Stuart,
I bought a hundred total polos and teeshirts i sold about 50 polos for £25 and 25 Teeshirts for £19 each I paid about half that for the items then ebay costs and paypal costs then postage. I bought them from a guy in a market he said they were legit however when i looked at them i wasnt sure as they were very good items.They havent asked for a specific amount "pay compensation for the damage caused in respect of your dealings in the infringing garments to date and provide full details of all your dealings in these goods and contribute towards ***** *****s legal costs incurred with this matter"
There is a lot more in the letter and it says my contribution is already at £350 but this will not be the final fee if i dont settle by 15th December.They are also asking for details of all transactions which I dont have
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

This question is extremely common not just from suppliers of items but also from firms who claim the copyright in images on the Internet.

Assuming that these items are fake, you may have a claim against the supplier but if the supplier is in (for example) China, you have little chance of bringing a claim.

In order to bring a successful claim against you the owners of the intellectual property (***** ***** in this case) have to prove loss. Their loss is for the profit they would have made from selling these items and more worryingly, if the items are substandard, any damage to their reputation. This latter is extremely difficult to quantify. They can however try to milk that.

I cannot guarantee that they will not take you to court, but small claims proceedings under £10,000 will not allow them to recover their court costs. Therefore, unless that claim is over £10,000, it’s not particularly economical for them to use solicitors

I would write back (not email) telling them that you no longer intend to sell these items and that (if you have not got any) you no longer have any stock.

There is no harm in giving them the name of the supplier.

There is no harm in telling them how many you bought, how many you sold and what the prices were and how much profit you made provided you have not been making hundreds of thousands of pounds. If you have, that could be problematical for you.

If you sold them on eBay, then eBay will have a list of transactions in your history and PayPal will have the same. So, be careful with that one. They also monitor ebay and look at feedback so be careful in saying anything which isn’t 100% correct

it is up to you but consider sending them, say, £200 ,marking the letter "without prejudice save as to costs" telling them that you offer this in full and final settlement of any claim they have against you and by cashing it they confirm acceptance and if they do not accept it in full and
final settlement, they should return the cheque to you. For legal reasons which I will not bore you with, the cheque must come from a third party, friend, neighbour, wife, partner, solicitor, accountant, but just not from you.

It works nine times out of 10 but obviously there is no guarantee. It is up to you whether you pay anything at all, or simply decide to bluff it to see whether they do issue legal proceedings. If they do issue legal proceedings, and you decide to cough up you will have to pay their legal court issue costs in addition. If they do go to court, they will win and they do have more money I imagine than you do to risk. The only thing which is an unknown factor is how much they would get awarded.

I can’t see you getting away with paying nothing. What you also have to bear in mind is that they are not so much interested in making money from this to get you to hand over your profits but to stop it happening again.

I will tell you that they deal with this all the time, but they will usually cash the cheque provided the amount is reasonable and not derogatory.

Does that answer the question?

Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would the offer of £200 be in the same letter with the cheque for my contribution towards costs of £350 or should I combine the amounts on one cheque or would it even matter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would £200 be regarded derogatory?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

It depends how much you made on this as to how much you want to part with.

If you had genuinely only made 200 quid, then I would only be paying them 200 quid!

Please remember that they want you to deal with this and although they’ve only sent one letter and probably spend an hour on it most, they are not going to say we spent 99p because they want to frighten you into doing something.

If they feel they have a good case, they will send a cheque back.

If they don’t, they will cash it.

It’s up to you how much you account and how much you send and that can only be based upon the profit you’ve made.

If you made more money, why not send them the 350 quid?

If they took you to court, all you would need to do is produce the evidence of what profit you made and that would be, to the great extent, the measure of their damages except, as I said, if they could prove any loss of reputation if the items were defective for example.

Incidentally, in cases like this don’t send them an offer, send them a cheque. The cheque in the hand is a really powerful incentive to pop it in the bank.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is that in addition to the £350 they want for costs and if so should it all be on the same cheque from a third party?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

I would start with £350 total. Just one cheque