Unpaid invoices for a manufacturing client

We were recently instructed by one of our long-standing manufacturing clients in a dispute regarding unpaid invoices.  The client is a subsidiary company of a large engineering group based locally.  They specialise in providing customer support, from manufacture to sale of goods and post-sales service, for various market-leading machine tool brands.

The dispute arose when a number of our clients’ invoices were not paid on time by one of their customers.  Our client had supplied this customer with a machine and, following damage caused by one of the customer’s operators, our client also carried out repairs on the machine.  However, the customer refused to pay for the work carried out.

Despite trying to resolve things amicably, our client reached the point where they felt that having solicitors representing them would be of benefit.  In any commercial dispute, there often comes a point where instruction of a professional to represent you helps to alleviate the negative impact that disputes can have on your business, such as time, cost and stress.  We quickly got up to speed with the key issues in the case and gained a strong understanding of the client’s business.  This included a site visit to the client’s premises which enabled us to see what the client did on a day-to-day basis and meet key personnel.

The customer’s primary line of defence was that the repair work carried out by our client was defective.  The customer claimed that this caused the machine to run at less than full capacity following the repairs, and the customer brought a counter-claim against our client for resulting loss of profit.  Our client disputed that their work was not up to standard and sought to rely on their terms and conditions to enforce payment.

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About the author

Susan Hopcraft Partner

Susan advises on all aspects dispute resolution particularly in the financial services sector. She has extensive insurance, professional negligence and restrictive covenants experience. She deals with claims against solicitors, valuers, surveyors, brokers and accountants, fraud issues, recoveries for lenders and bank mis-selling.