Every now and again we get a debtor who throws a multitude of disputes at us in the hope that one of them will stick. We deal with the same kind of disputes daily and have done so for the past 15 years… so we certainly know how to handle the desperate debtor!

In this case, as it was a back door hire, we advised our client to invoice the debtor the full commission fee due rather than the discounted rate initially agreed. Within two weeks of the debt being referred to us we recovered that full invoice amount of £8100, plus late fees of £880.

Our client, a recruitment agency in Liverpool, introduced a candidate to a local bespoke door manufacturer for a senior sales position. Shortly after an interview being arranged, the candidate was engaged without our client being informed. The door manufacturer then ignored correspondence from our client, until they engaged Sterling.

Sterling contacted the debtor and quickly received a very formal response claiming that:

  • There wasn’t a contract in place.
  • The candidate had not been hired by the company that might have agreed the contract if one was in place, but it wasn’t.
  • The director from the door manufacturer that had dealt with our client did not have authority to agree the contract that wasn’t in place.

The debtor was correct with one of their points, the candidate had not been hired by the company that had dealt with our client. The business that hired the candidate was part of the same group however. It wasn’t difficult to find proof that the debtor had referred the candidate on either, as the hiring company had been copied into emails to our client discussing the candidate!

Sterling wrote back to the debtor, explaining the case in detail. We had proof that the terms of business had been emailed to the debtor prior to the candidate being introduced, the debtor did not question them or suggest changes so they had taken effect.

The terms included a 3rd party clause, so that if the debtor had passed details of the candidate to a 3rd party then they would become liable for the engagement fee.

The director dealing with our client of course had apparent authority to form an agreement with our client, i.e ‘a reasonable third party would understand that an agent had authority to act’.

After a follow-up call with the debtor to explain the case again, and our intention to go to court if they did not pay, the debtor reluctantly accepted the inevitable and agreed to pay in full including late fees and reasonable costs.