Consumer and business disputes

Small print

As a consumer or small business you often do not have the bargaining power to disagree with a large organisation’s standard terms.  This is small print and is often hard to read let alone understand.  The companies do not want to make it easy for you to understand their obligations or ways they can avoid liability to pay out or compensate you or simply stick to the terms of the contract.

Small Claims Court

The small claims court now has to deal with all claims up to £10,000 (unless they include personal injury worth more than £1,000 note that this limit is currently scheduled to change on 01-04-20 to £5,000 for soft tissue injuries in road traffic accidents and £2,000 for all other injuries, this may change if there is a change in government in the meantime).  You do not recover legal costs other than court fees and nominal fixed costs even if you are successful in the small claims court.

Disputed debts

Sentinels Solicitors is a small legal practice that prides itself on helping consumers and small and medium sized businesses deal effectively and efficiently with legal problems.  You do not always have to go to court, we consider all options to resolve disagreements to achieve the best and quickest outcome.  We are happy to consider the best way of achieving a satisfactory outcome for your problem whether this means litigating or using alternative methods of resolving legal problems such as mediation, arbitration or simply negotiation.

Insurance Refusing to Pay Out?

We have helped individuals get their home insurance to cover them when they were threatened with legal action by someone who was injured on their property, the home insurers had initially refused cover.

Holiday disputes

We have also recovered a deposit for some other individuals when they had to cancel their holiday as it was not what they had asked for and been told they were getting, they also recovered a sum for the disappointment in not travelling as anticipated.

Debt Recovery and Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998

We have helped recruitment agencies recover their fees and recovered other unpaid debts.   See also my blog post here.

We have also helped when a small business was pursued for a debt.  We may see a legal argument to avoid the debt other times we may advise you that you ought to pay.

Fixed fees:

Court claims

These costs apply where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not needed.  If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary, which could be on a fixed fee (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate if more extensive work is needed.

Debt value Court fee Our fee (incl. VAT) Total
Up to £5,000 £25 to £205 £600 (£500 ex VAT) £635 to £805
£5,001 – £10,000 £455 £1,200 (£1,000 ex VAT) £1,655
£10,001 – £50,000 5% value of the claim 10% value of the claim

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:

  • If you are VAT registered the VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor.
  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  • The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is needed to collect your debt.

Our fee includes:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation
  • Undertaking appropriate searches
  • Sending a letter before action
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing claim
  • Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgement in default
  • When Judgement in default in received, write to the other side to request payment
  • If payment is not received within 14 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs

Matters usually take 8-12 weeks from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side, depending on whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim. This is on the basis that the other side pays promptly on receipt of Judgement in default. If enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve.

The work will be carried out by Nick Bettridge, a senior solicitor and director of Sentinels Solicitors Ltd who started in practice n 1994 and qualified as a solicitor in 1996.

For further help and guidance call Nick on 01925 759 510 or fill in the contact form and let me know your problem.

Carol and I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for what you achieved for us.  Your calm and professional approach did so much to ease our minds.  Many thanks for what you have done for us.  E.O.N. Urmston 19.07.13


Cannot fault the service, no need for improvement, excellent service, always kept in the loop. Happy to use words on website. DM Stevenage 23.03.15


I wasn’t sure whether to pursue my case against Thomson’s (which was for a missold holiday) but having contacted you (on the recommendation of the Law Society) you made a stressful situation into a successful one and won my case for me.  All monies paid out by me were refunded as were your expenses, you are also very easy to talk to.  Thank you, I will certainly recommend you to anyone with any legal problems. Mrs D. Glossop 22.08.16


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