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Many SMEs will be familiar with the problems that can arise when you get into a dispute with a customer over contracts.

It’s important to work out as quickly as possible why your customer is unhappy. In many cases they may be stalling to delay payment, so you need to clarify whether this is the case or if they have a genuine grievance.

What Action To Take To Resolve Your Dispute

You should discuss with your customer exactly what it is that they are unhappy about. Independent experts may be able to help, for example if they are disputing the quality of goods provided, you could jointly instruct an expert to assess whether they are fit for purpose.

If you can’t reach an agreement, we advise you to contact us as soon as possible. Delay can put you in a difficult position should the dispute go to court.

Before starting legal proceedings we advise you to think carefully about the practical consequences. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you want to keep on working with the customer? If so, you need to consider whether going through the courts will destroy the relationship.
  • Will the customer make a counter-claim, perhaps claiming that goods were faulty? If so, you should consider the likelihood of such a claim being successful and the impact on your business.

What Happens Once A Claim Is Started?

In most cases, your opponent will have around four weeks to file a defence outlining why they dispute the claim. The court will then review the claim and make orders about how the case will be run, covering areas such as expert evidence and witness statements. In many cases, starting legal proceedings can result in settlement offers being made as businesses seek to avoid going through the courts.

Contact Us For Help With A Contract Dispute

If you have a dispute with a customer over a contract, contact Steve Beahan on 0114 294 7868 or get in touch online.


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