The Decline of Immedi-let Ltd – A Warrington based Letting Agency
On Friday 4th November 2022, Matt the Cleaner Ltd trading as Cheshire Cleaning Co successfully won a County Court Judgement against Immedi-let Ltd.
The County Court Judgement was awarded under the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998 due to a total of 281 invoices which were paid beyond their contractual term of 30 days over a three-year period.
Since April 2018 Cheshire Cleaning Co provided a variety of services to Immedi-let Ltd, a Warrington-based letting agency in the provisions of HMO communal cleaning, end of tenancy, oven cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and waste removals. Immedi-let Ltd was the baby of Daniel Peter Inman, a Warrington and Dubai-based property investor which was later sold to Brian David Price of Golding Estates trading as Golding Property Services Ltd in Liverpool.
The business relationship was a lopsided one, it could be argued that Matt the Cleaner went above and beyond consistently, despite being paid continuously late over the term, and, as a result of this the relationship started to deteriorate during lockdown when payments were halted, as Kelly Price, former Lettings Manager and Director, failed to recognise that Contractors still required invoice payments during the pandemic – yet Kelly waited for office staff to return from three months furlough before processing invoices and payments to all contractors.
Despite being a small business our payment terms for services was NET30. As a company, we agreed on these terms via our standard terms and conditions which have been in force since we began operating in February 2018. Because of this case, we have now changed our payment terms to NET14 as standard for all clients and it works really well to speed up payments.
Although we completed many business transactions over the three-year period, there was a total number of 281 invoices paid late. As stated in law, and contrary to popular belief in the Immedi-let Ltd office… Each time a B2B client pays an invoice late, the supplier can charge a statutory fee for the inconvenience of receiving payment beyond the agreed payment terms. This statutory charge can be retrospectively claimed, as we did and back-dated until our services commenced.
We claimed under Section 5a of the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which states:
- Once statutory interest begins to run in relation to a qualifying debt, the supplier shall be entitled to a fixed sum (in addition to the statutory interest on the debt).
- That sum shall be–
(a)for a debt less than £1000, the sum of £40;
(b)for a debt of £1000 or more, but less than £10,000, the sum of £70;
(c)for a debt of £10,000 or more, the sum of £100.
Although this is written in the law and has been agreed by Parliament since 1998 – which is twenty years before we commenced trading, Immedi-let Ltd was convinced that this particular law did not apply to them, and, that they did not need to pay this as there was “No signed contract”. Despite Immedi-let Ltd accepting misleading business advice from Matt Hall. There does not need to be a physically signed contract, so long as it can be proven on the balance of probability, that there was a lawful contract and the basic principles of contract law are satisfied which is the offer/acceptance/consideration/intent to create legal relations.
Although Immedi-let Ltd was wrongly advised by Matt Hall, ex-Immedi-let Ltd business partner to Danny Inman, now employed by Prosperity Network Ltd as a Property Sourcing Agent, Matt Hall had previously acted as a Financial Consultant for failed businesses Delnet Finance Ltd [Dissolved], Goldbrick Investments LLP [Dissolved] and a third company which was formally called Hype (UK) Ltd, now known as 07218758 Ltd which was struck off in 2012, then restored by the Court in 2015, according to Companies House.
It took almost eighteen months from filing the Money Claim Online, and two brief hearings, which were adjourned as each time the Deputy District Judge would request evidence in a different format, or minor changes to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, however, this is fairly normal, to ensure a fair trial. Our persistence paid off and we won the County Court Judgement.
Our first hearing took place in December 2021, a telephone hearing, the Judge did not have our evidence in time for the hearing so this was adjourned before it had even started.
Our second hearing was in person in late August 2022 at St Helens County Court; where Deputy District Judge Murray was pleased with the information presented, however, as it was a year since the submission of the figures during the initial Money Claim, the DDJ Murray requested a second claimant schedule (list of invoices, the total sum claimed etc) to be agreed out of court between parties, then for us to return to a pre-arranged hearing, for the Judgement.
The Claimant had just two weeks to present this information to Defendant, then Defendant had six weeks to review this information and respond to each invoice whether he agreed or disagreed with each invoice which contained lots of information which was used to calculate the total claim award.
Despite several hours going into presenting this information to Defendant, then a Court Trial Bundle was delivered by recorded delivery – signed by Defendant and a separate electronic copy was delivered by email. The Defendant did not respond with their evidence and neither did they attend the hearing, which took place in their absence.
As the Claimants, we were able to prove on the balance of probability, Immedi-let Ltd was in breach of contract, and therefore, Immedi-let Ltd was liable to pay the Claimant a total sum of £13,679.89 (including Court costs).
I firmly believe in standing up for what is right – and late payments can adversely affect businesses of all sizes. Whether it’s one late payment or two hundred and eighty-one over a three-year period, there are no excuses to pay contractors late. We too have bills to pay and when it comes down to finance, you need to be on the ball with processing these in a timely manner, otherwise, your company may have to take drastic action to keep your business afloat.
We weren’t the only company to be treated in this way, and, for that reason, I demonstrated to all other contractors who were treated similarly, that it is possible to take action against clients that don’t comply with your terms or assume they can do whatever they like and get away with it.
Whilst communicating with the Directors at Immedi-let Ltd, and having no previous contact with Brain David Price, he responded to one email which I have included below, which demonstrates the intellectual development of a person that is acting as the Managing Director for several businesses including Golding Estates, a letting agency based in Liverpool which was his late mother’s company, then handed down to Brian and Denton Clark Rentals Ltd in Chester.
To put the below image into context, I have never met Brian David Price to this date. He does not know me, and we did not have any prior communication, other than sending the pre-action protocol information – a letter before action prior to filing Court documents. Setting out the basis of the claim, the amount claimed and giving them a legal notice to respond prior to going through the County Court system.
It could be argued that Brian’s argument is that of a child in the playground. He evidently uses CAPS LOCK TO CONVEY HIS MESSAGE AS WORDS ALONE CAN NOT DO THIS!
Brian also states that he will get his Solicitor involved. I did not hear from their Solicitor during the 18-month period that this case was going through the County Courts. In keeping with the playground behaviour, it’s the standard come-back of a child stating “I will get my lawyer” ok please do, if they can handle the situation better than yourself, go for it!
Brian then got personal, by name-calling… The best he could come up with was “DIVA” – highly professional Brian. I am sure this is the point where your Solicitor advised you to pay out.
Brian then is referring to the pre-action protocol (information you need to present to Defendant prior to filing for Court) “Absolutely ridiculous” which if he knew what he was doing and or had a Solicitor, rather than using it as a threat I am sure his Solicitor would have read the pre-action protocol, and as a result handled the claim differently and more professionally, especially since I offered an out of Court settlement of 50% discount if paid within two weeks.
I had no further communication with Brian David Price after this email since I was awaiting a response from his Solicitor who didn’t get in touch and it was clear that he isn’t the kind of person that is able to respond in a civilised manner – so I just went through the Court, and quite rightly won the case, that was by standing and representing myself as a litigant in person.