Someone in England owes me money. He won't return emails. Is it possible to get his phone number?
December 19, 2011 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Someone in England owes me money. He won't return emails. Is it possible to get his phone number?

I don't know if this person has a landline or a cellphone. It's an ex-employee contracted for a certain amount and was overpaid, and now I'm trying to collect the overpayment which makes it tricky. Regardless, I need to speak with him directly to let him know I'm serious about collecting the money, which I really need right now. He returns about 1 in every 5 emails and has dragged his feet for 2 months, probably hoping I'll give up. Is there a White Pages or some other service that could help? I know his full name and town. Thank you.
posted by critzer to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
I think you're after BT's Phone Book search. Bear in mind that not everyone is on there (ex-directory) and it only lists land lines, not mobile numbers.
posted by Magnakai at 9:17 AM on December 19, 2011

What makes you think he'll answer your phone calls if he won't answer your emails? It's not like he doesn't know about the money. Skip this step and go to the one where you initiate legal action.
posted by brainmouse at 9:21 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

What makes you think he'll answer your phone calls if he won't answer your emails?

In all our exchanges in the past year or two, he's actually a very polite guy, and in his recent email he claims he's been dealing with family issues which has led to delays in his emails. But he's a web designer. I know he's online plenty, and I see his activity on Twitter. He's dragging his feet on this, I suspect, hoping it'll go away. I feel like the directness of a phone call would make some difference, before considering the legal action.
posted by critzer at 9:35 AM on December 19, 2011

Wot brainmouse says. You can try contacting again or go to the Small Claims Court.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:35 AM on December 19, 2011

As MuffinMan indicates, the way to attempt getting your money back is to use the Small Claims Court. It doesn't cost very much to file, but you have to do the work, and you'll need his full address. Then, if you get a judgement in your favour, you'll need to go back to court to have it enforced.

You should be very careful about going your own way on this. What you're doing could easily be considered harassment. There's a whole lot of English law that protects people from being harassed for debts.
posted by veedubya at 9:45 AM on December 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

Have you considered sending a private message to one of his Facebook friends, asking if they can supply his contact details?

This of course is passive aggressive, and is actually a pretty dubious practice in the debt collection world.

However it works very well. Social reputation is incredibly valuable to most people.
posted by choppyes at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Given that you seem to live in Middle Earth, according to your profile, it might be difficult to initiate court action. You may be able to find out more about him from but it will cost you.
posted by TheRaven at 10:39 AM on December 19, 2011

There's no "small claims court" in England, only a small claims track of the county courts. A court may expect you to have complied with the pre-action conduct practice direction before issuing a court claim. It would probably be a good idea to consult with a solicitor before harassing the debtor on the phone or incurring costs through a court claim.
posted by grouse at 11:02 AM on December 19, 2011

There's no "small claims court" in England, only a small claims track of the county courts.

It's called the Small Claims Court by just about everybody in the country. If you say the words 'Small Claims Court,' everybody in the country (at least those born on or after the middle of the 19th century) will understand what you mean.
posted by veedubya at 12:56 PM on December 19, 2011

I agree that people will understand what you mean, but it is an important distinction for two reasons. While the small claims track has well-known limits on costs that can be incurred as part of the lawsuit, some very surprised claimants have found that these do not apply:
  1. When the defendants or court have the case allocated to a different track, maybe by adding counterclaims or some other aspect that means it cannot be dealt with in the small claims track.
  2. Before the case is actually allocated to another track. This most often becomes a factor when the defendant files for summary judgment before allocation.
In both these cases the claimant can find themselves with big legal bills that are not possible in a place with a true "small claims court" system. This is a reason why you might want to consult with a solicitor.
posted by grouse at 1:12 PM on December 19, 2011

What did the contract you drew up for this former employee say?

If you have left the employment where the overpayment occurred

In this situation, your former employer is unable to make a deduction from your wages. But what if, some months or years later, your former employer, or even a debt collector, contacts you claiming that you owe money that was overpayed in the former employment? Much will depend on what was stated in the employment contract. Some contracts state that, if an employee leaves the employment owing the employer money that could not be recovered from final wages, the amount owed becomes a civil debt. If there is no contractual provision to treat the alleged overpayment as a civil debt, the employer may have considerable difficulty in enforcing payment if you refuse to cooperate.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2011

Posted too quickly; contact ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

Acas has a range of services which can help individuals or groups of employees to avoid or resolve problems and disputes in the workplace. The Acas helpline offers free, confidential and impartial guidance on employment rights and workplace issues. They provide general information on employment rights and responsibilities and can also help employees and employers who are involved in an employment dispute to identify practical ways of sorting out the problem.

If an employer and an employee need external help to resolve a problem, Acas can often assist them to find a solution that is acceptable to both.

posted by ellieBOA at 1:27 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

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