If you don’t think you owe the money, or if you’re unsure, you should contact your solicitor as soon as possible so that they can dispute the debt and try to prevent court proceedings from starting.
Even if you do owe the money, your solicitor can help. For example, they may be able to negotiate with the creditor to come to some kind of arrangement, such as paying by instalments. At the end of the day, in most cases, they just want their money re-paid.
If the claim against you ends up in court and you lose, you could be liable for interest as well as the legal costs your creditor spends recovering the money from you. So where possible and appropriate it is worthwhile trying to negotiate before it goes to court.
What happens if it goes to Court?
To start court proceedings a solicitor needs to file a Statement of Claim. If someone serves you with one of these, you should never ignore it. If you do, the creditor can apply to the court for a default judgment against you.You usually have 28 days to take action after someone serves a Statement of Claim on you, so you need to move quickly and without unnecessary delay. The good news is that it’s still not too late to pay your debt.
You can admit you owe the money and apply to the court to pay by instalment. But if your creditor doesn’t agree to the terms you’ve proposed, the claim will end up in court.If you don’t owe the money, you can defend the claim. Your solicitor can lodge a defence on your behalf, which sets out your reasons for disputing the debt.
You may also choose to lodge a counter-claim against the creditor, for instance if the work wasn’t performed or if you received defective goods.
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