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VIC Builder Owes Money - Already been to VCAT and Magistrate

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Helena Jane, 7 March 2015.

  1. Helena Jane

    Helena Jane Active Member

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    Hi there, In dot point form!
    • We hired a builder to build a deck in our yard.(over $5k)
    • It wasn't to code.
    • We stopped the works and asked for the balance of money back.
    • Answer was "no".
    • We got a building inspector report and submitted case to VCAT. Ruling for full refund in our favour.
    • Builder didn't even show.
    • No response to VCAT ruling. We submitted to the Magistrate. Warrant for seizure of property was given. Sherif turned up and said "give us your things." He said "I don't have anything" and that was that. We then took the debt collectors route at the sheriffs office suggestion. We can't afford to send the guy bankrupt and its counter intuitive considering it costs over $5k to do so when he owes us $7.5k.
    ANY other avenues we can explore before we hand the case over to the building commission who will likely fine him and send him bankrupt? Thank you! Young couple that are feeling a bit jibbed by the system.
     
  2. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member

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    Helena,

    You could maybe send the Sherriff again as how did the Sherriff know he was telling the truth when he said he doesn't own anything. It's too easy for someone to say that and he may well know that if he has been in this situation before.

    Other enforcement methods - you could apply to the court for an instalment order and ask for an instalment agreement to be approved by the court.

    I guess he doesn't receive wages as such so you can't garnish his wages.

    If you had information as to money in his bank kr any other monies owed to him you could perhaps get an attachment of debt order. But the problem with that method of course is that you often have the information you need.

    Good luck, it's a difficult situation, unfortunately you are learning the grad way the difference between a legal right and being able to enforce it.

    Paul.
     
  3. Helena Jane

    Helena Jane Active Member

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    Thanks Paul, the Sherif said essentially there's nothing they can do. I don't think they investigate if he owns anything or not (he owns a house, apparently, hence the debt collectors wanting us to go down the bankruptcy path). If we send them out again we have to pay for each attempt. $180 or so, not much but when we've done that already and they couldn't donanythingwe feel helpless. And you're right, he doesn't have an employer so we can't garnish his wages. Sadly. The most mist frustrating part isn't the money, it's the fact that he's gettig away with it! I just don't know what else to do!
     
  4. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Active Member

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    Hi elena

    I am in a similar position , dispute at vcat civil claim , respondent did not show , order made in my favour of $4500 and yesterday registered it with magistrates court.

    Exploring enforcement options , debtor is a company limited by shares (2 x $1) , they are still trading

    Enforcement options are going to add to my expenses with possibility of no recovery

    I am alarmed at your result via the sheriff it seems the sheriffs office is really set up to recover on behalf of vic gov and their infringement fund raiser they go to great lengths to recover on their behalf , roadblocks and numberplate recognition etc

    I am beginning to feel that ordinary peoples access to the law , due process and a fair go do not exist in this day and age.

    I would have expected bodies such as ASIC , ACCC and credit reporting services would get involved to justify their existence and encourage you to bring it to the attention of the industry body for what its worth

    The thing is , its honest people that get burnt by these ruthless greedy parasites hiding and protected behind legislative and bureaucratic process and inaction .

    Perhaps by discussing these issues we can help each other.
     
  5. Helena Jane

    Helena Jane Active Member

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    Hi toothless, yes the system sadly hasn't worked for us. We now have no option (unless anyone on here has any bright ideas!) but to let it go. $7500, gone. What makes me the most angry is that he has got AWAY with it!!! When we started the process the Vic building commission asked us to submit all the details of the case to them so they could pursue it. We wouldn't see any of our money back but their fines are upward of 20k for people who build without being registered. So, we can't afford to send him bankrupt but they sure as hell can! I guess it's a retribution of sorts but there's no guarantee they would even follow through to that extent.
     
  6. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Active Member

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    Helena
    I feel your frustration and appreciate the stress caused.
    Bright ideas ...
    What business structure does the builder have ?
    I am hoping that my respondent being a trading company does have trading monies , stock , vehicles and equipment which may be seized by the sheriff , however the disinterest you where shown by the sheriff is a bit disconcerting.
    I also understand that trading while insolvent is frowned upon ...but once again who or what body is going to investigate or enforce on breaches of the companies act
    Also directors can be personally responsible and liable for misconduct.

    these are all issues that need interpretation and thats how the legal profession earn their incomes so really there is a conflict of interest for legal people to solve these disputes quickly and economically ... my experience is that all ceases once you leave the VCAT

    Your observation that Getting away with it makes the problem worse....what are we to teach our children

    I honestly do not know how i will conduct my business and private transactions in the future but feel the need to be overtly to the point of anally careful when handing over any monies because once you do its almost impossible to get it back regardless of the correctness of your intention

    i am sure that with justice on your side a solution must be found or our system will collapse

    its an important discussion ...maintain the rage
     
  7. Helena Jane

    Helena Jane Active Member

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    Hi Toothless, sadly as he's a sole trader there's no opportunity to garnish wages. The only option now apparently is to send him bankrupt but we just don't have $5k hanging around to do that! It's all quite stressful and unfair.
    If we go back to the Sherifs office all they can do is ask for another field fee to go out and knock on his door to have the conversation that's already been had "We're here to execute a seizure of property warrant." "I don't own anything and this isn't my house, that's not my car I just drive it." All lies of course, but the sherif won't do anything else.
    We just have to let it go which is to be honest, the most frustrating part! admitting defeat!
     
  8. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Active Member

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    Helena sole trader or company it sounds like a similar problem when the debtor is dishonest and does not want to settle the debt they seem to get away with it.

    Surely we can have an impact ....start by reporting to credit rating agencies ....not sure how that happens ?

    I plan on making a complaint to ASIC and ACCC .....most likely they wont be interested but will do so just the same ?

    I suspect there may be some shenanigans going on relating to shonky expenses in the companies returns ....maybe the ATO should investigate ?

    I will make a complaint to the industry association the directors are members of ....once again most likely they wont be interested but will do so just the same ?

    My debtor services a relatively small "community" and i will do my best to name and shame in any media available so his peers will know what type of parasite he is.

    Before I issue a warrant to seize assets i would like to know how you can find out who the registered owner is of either a motor vehicle or boat is

    I am sure the police and sheriffs have access to such information but all my attempts at chasing these details down fail
    I wonder if i have my car damaged by another and i have the registration number of the offending car surely i am entitled to know who the owner is , the authorities or toll road owners dont seem to have a problem doing that ?

    Why cannot the sheriff verify the ownership i would have thought that is what you pay them to do not just ask dumb questions like you have related.

    "We just have to let it go which is to be honest, the most frustrating part! admitting defeat!"
     
  9. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Active Member

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    Sorry Helena
    It appears my post has been edited and any constructive suggestion were removed from the post by those who have the power to do so.
    My ability to edit my previous posts has been revoked
    I just wish it could have been edited to make sense but perhaps the message i get is admit defeat as kenny put it "relax and let go"
    Goodluck
     
  10. KarmaWinsinEnd

    KarmaWinsinEnd Well-Known Member

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    Hi Toothless, hope this finds you well. I'm in the same situation like yours. My Builder (registered company and still running their business) owes me $9200 but not able to get any response from them for payment. It's been more than 2 months since the VCAT order is issued. I believe they blocked my number and email etc., however, the reception is answering their phone with no definite answer.

    Anyway, I was wondering whether you able to enforce order and received the payment in your case? Was it worth trying or your last conversation "relax and let go" still holds?

    Even may the bad guys win for now - One day Karma will win and they pay for their done.
     

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