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QLD Customer won't Pay Invoice - How to Enforce QCAT Ruling?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Axel86, 27 August 2015.

  1. Axel86

    Axel86 Member

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    Hi, I am a sole trader (mobile auto technician). I have recently taken a customer to QCAT over an unpaid invoice of approx $1700. QCAT ruled in my favour that the customer pay the invoice. However no due date was on the ruling.

    It has been nearly a month since the ruling and I have not received any money. I rang the courthouse today, asking how to enforce the ruling, and was told I can ask the customer to make a payment plan or apply to take him to court. Both of which I have already done, at least 2 months ago.

    Is there a step I'm missing here?
    -what is the benefit of paying fees (and time) for Qcat if they can't make him pay?
    -how do I enforce this court ruling?

    I knocked on his door and requested money today and was given the usual response of excuses and "sympathy stories" I couldn't keep his car as I am a mobile mechanic, and the customer now has his car, driving around happily with all of the upgrades I have fitted for him.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    You made a mistake at QCAT. You should have asked for the payment due date at the same time as they set the amount.

    It may be implied that the due date is as per your normal trading terms. Recommend go back to QCAT saying he has not paid as per their orders and normal trading terms. As he never requested a payment plan it may be assumed the amount is due in full. Ask QCAT for the correct way to reapply and seek enforcement of their orders. See if you can add costs as well.
     
  3. praxidice

    praxidice Well-Known Member

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    Anything to do with the kangaroo court is a right royal PITA. I believe the reason everything is so unbelievably complicated is to force users to give up and / or take their business to a lawyer. That said, I did have a similar situation to yours a while back although I was forced to go through a moronic mediation which the debtor didn't attend. Mind you I already knew that would happen but nothing would convince the member that mediation was pointless. QCAT rules make provision for mediation to be dispensed with but as with all QCAT rules, they are only considered relevant when they can be used to inconvenience an applicant. The prevailing attitude is that every effort must be made to assist debtors to shirk their responsibilities.

    What did work in my favour was that the complaint was filed and the non-event mediation was (not) 'heard' at Coolangatta Magistrates Court, primarily to maximize inconvenience to the debtor, rather than at the kangaroo court headquarters in Brisbane. Immediately after the non-event mediation I entered a judgement by default and sicced a particularly good debt collector (the one I use doesn't mess around) onto the debtor. Said debtor is a typical Gold Coast 'more sharks on the land than in the water' operator and a serial non-payer, consequently I wasn't about to waste my time chasing someone I knew to be an expert in ducking for cover (shonky $2 companes and all that). I'd also done quite a bit of research on this character before starting the QCAT action so I was aware of a number of ways to twist the knife.

    For the benefit of those who think I'm being harsh, I don't have a problem playing nice with decent people but there is no way known I'll hold my punches when I'm faced with a parasitic scumbag. If I experienced the same situation in the future I'd be inclined to file in the magistrates court which is infinitely more straightforward than the stupid kangaroo court. At least with the 'proper' court one isn't compelled to go to mediation, paperwork amounts to a tenth of the number of forms, processes are halfway logical and (usually) the magistrate has a working knowledge of the law together with a willingness to follow it.

    The only downside of using the magistrates court is that 'proper' courts are the playground of lawyers which may or may not be a good thing depending on the particular circumstances. Apart from a few special situations, QCAT opposes representation for applicants although as is typical of a kangaroo court, government departments / quangos have free rein to bring as many mouthpieces as they like.
     
  4. Axel86

    Axel86 Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I have been advised that QCAT is only the first step. now that I have a judgement, next step is to register the case with magistrates court, from there I have 2 options; either apply to have any valuable items at his home seized & auctioned off to pay the debt, OR, have him appear in front of the court to prove his financial situation, supplying bank statements, tax returns, loans, rent etc he pays. If he doesn't show up to that court case, he gets arrested & charged with contempt of court. Not sure what happens after that...
    I'd assume they would then set up a payment plan between him and the court.

    Some additional court fees are added on to his debt, some I will have to pay, i think depending on whether I request the Bailiff to appear on my behalf.
     
  5. praxidice

    praxidice Well-Known Member

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    The magistrates court is where you enter judgement. Personally I wouldn't mess around with oral examinination or seizing crap, just send the debt collector in to get the money. I've only needed to do one garnishee and that was on a cop :). :) :)
     
  6. Axel86

    Axel86 Member

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    After speaking with the bailiff, i was advised that, as the guy is 80+ yrs old, there is little that a debt collector would be able to do.
    Is this correct, what can they do that I can't, all they do is harass them & threaten legal action etc. don't they?
     
  7. praxidice

    praxidice Well-Known Member

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    For what its worth, the debt collector I use doesn't care if he harasses his mother. His job is simply to look big and mean and to bring me the money. To date he has never failed despite some very hard cases.
     

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