Business Dispute Resolution Services
Even the best run businesses find themselves with problems from time to time. From disputes with customers, or suppliers, to unpaid invoices.
Going to court should always be seen as a last resort and our emphasis is on trying to resolve disputes before they get that far. We offer practical advice to help you reach a solution as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
More information on Mediation, going to court and Small Claims can be found here.
The contracts and other documentation that you use within your business are fundamental. They help to govern the way in which you deal with your suppliers and customers. Well drafted contracts will help to put you in control and strengthen your position in the event of a dispute.
Aside from your own contracts and terms, many of your dealings are governed by law, such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) or The Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982 (as amended). On the whole, consumers have much more protection than businesses, so it is important that you know your obligations to your customers and ensure that you treat them fairly. Falling foul of various consumer regulations can be costly.
Bad debts are an inevitable problem especially in the current economic climate. No doubt you will have your own credit control procedure, but sometimes you get ignored. Sometimes, it only needs a “Solicitors letter” to prompt payment. Sometimes however, the customer may simply not have the means to pay and you will need to give careful consideration whether to bring a claim though the courts, in case you are just throwing good money after bad.
Sometimes the customer will not pay because they have a genuine complaint against you. Sometimes you do not want to pay your supplier because you have a genuine complaint against them. In such cases it is important that you gather as much information and evidence as possible to support your case. This is where having good contracts and knowing which law applies can help you. It is also very important that you keep good records – putting as much in writing as possible! An email or letter confirming what was agreed, is far more supportive than “your word against theirs”.
All businesses will need to engage the services of professionals such as Solicitors, accountants, architects etc and sometimes problems arise. These types of professional negligence claims can be complicated and just because something went wrong, it does not mean that the professional was negligent. For that reason, it is important to get specialist advice. It is also likely that independent expert evidence will be needed.
In some cases, however, it may be more appropriate to make a complaint to the governing body or ombudsman for the profession concerned. Some of these authorities have powers to resolve disputes by arbitration, or award compensation in appropriate circumstances.