Be on the ball – it may cost you

This month we have had some unfortunate legal queries due to unfortunate clerical errors that clients have found to have been costly!

We’ve recently had to commence court action where a client mistakenly took an underpayment for a vehicle.  Our client had agreed a sale but on taking payment via a card machine, the amount was short by £500. The mistake not spotted by our client at first and the new owner of the vehicle drove away happily. Whether they were or were not aware of the £500 underpayment is arguable. Once our client had realised the clerical error, they got in contact with the customer and explained the unfortunate mistake and asked for the outstanding £500. They received a swift refusal for any further payment. With no co operation with the customer, our client’s only option was to commence court proceedings, which in itself has incurred further costs.  With our help, the client was able to recover the full amount, including fees, however this process took a considerable amount of time, and could have been costly, if enforcement proceedings had not been successful.

A similar case occurred when a client sold a vehicle but unfortunately forgot about the VAT!  All paperwork was completed without including the VAT figure.  It proved near impossible to pursue any claim, on the basis that the customer was likely to argue that the agreed contractual amount for the vehicle was the lesser, without VAT price. A costly lesson for the dealer involved.  It is important that all facts and figures are correct on all paperwork.

So always check – and double check!

Advice on difficult customers or problematic transactions, Members contact the Legal Helpline.


Authors: Roxanne Bradley

Published: 12 May 2015


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