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My partner and I have recently moved into our new home and as expected have received a number of letters from companies for the previous occupants.

This latest "Letter" (I say letter but It was a crumpled piece of paper without an envelope) was addressed to "New Tenn" and asking for payment of £1188 for their services.

After a quick Google the company operates a cleaning services business which haven't been responsive to any of my attempts to call them.

Overlooking the suspicious and highly unprofessional invoice received my question is can a company charge you for services never requested or received?

I always thought that debt followed an individual and not a property.

Update: I am the owner of the property.

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    BobbyScon suggests to contact an attorney. Well you already have legal representation in the form of your conveyancer. Tell them about the note and ask them if if there was any reference in the contract. Its your conveyancer's job to investigate these things. Is your property is leasehold or freehold? If its leasehold there will probably be covenants about maintenance and cleaning of shared areas, for which you normally pay an annual charge. – Qwerky Jan 4 '17 at 16:42
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    @Qwerky This should be the answer really. If the OP is liable for these costs then it will factor somewhere in the conveyancing process. If it doesn't, then they are almost certainly chancers. Mind you, I don't think there's any legal way for a private company to invoice "The Tenants" so I'd declare this particular invoice null and void regardless. One other thing OP, though, is don't get panicked - if they are a sham company they will attempt to scare you but they CAN'T affect your credit or apply a CCJ out of without taking you (Which may be hard if they don't know who you are) to court. – Dan Jan 4 '17 at 17:47
  • @Qwerky the property is freehold. – Karm Jan 4 '17 at 18:27
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    Given what you say about how they presented the bill it pretty much has to be a scam. If there was some legal reason for this their bill would have explained the situation as no doubt the issue would have come up before. – Loren Pechtel Jan 4 '17 at 21:54
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    Ignore it and if they bother you again, ask them to see: A) the contract you signed requiring their services B) any legal document showing that your full name is Mr./Mrs. New Tenn. You know, invoices must include the recipient, you cannot just produce an invoice to "some dude". – Andrea Lazzarotto Jan 6 '17 at 11:43
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In general, you can only be charged for services if there is some kind of contract. The contract doesn't have to be written, but you have to have agreed to it somehow.

However, it is possible that you entered into a contract due to some clause in the home purchase contract or the contract with the home owners' association. There are also sometimes services you are legally required to get, such as regular inspection of heating furnaces (though I don't think this translates to automatic contracts).

But in any case you would not be liable for services rendered before you entered into the contract, which sounds like it's the case here.

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    "But in any case you would not be liable for services rendered before you entered into the contract, which sounds like it's the case here." Well, not unless you agreed to be liable for said debts as a condition of the purchase contract, at least. – reirab Jan 5 '17 at 7:53
  • They can't perform these services automatically and expect payment... the service may be required but they can't do work and then charge you without you ever having a say in the matter. (At least not here in Ohio/USA) – Matthew Whited Jan 5 '17 at 15:25
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No. A company cannot bill you for services you did not request nor receive. If they could, imagine how many people would just randomly get bills in their mail.

Ignore them. They don't have a contract or agreement with you and can't do anything other than make noise. If they get aggressive or don't stop requesting money, hire an attorney and it will be taken care of.

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    Or even cheaper than paying an attorney, there are government consumer protection services. Try calling the Citizen's Advice hotline. – Mindwin Jan 4 '17 at 14:09
  • @Mindwin - Thanks for the link. I'd imagine an attorney would be able to collect their fees from the offending company, but yeah, definitely go for the free help if it's available. – BobbyScon Jan 4 '17 at 14:10
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    One would better exercise caution and do not escalate too much. Legal proceedings do take time and effort even one don't use their own cash, and are a Bother. - Capital bold B!!! I'd rather not deal with vogons. – Mindwin Jan 4 '17 at 14:12
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    The company did send him a bill, so saying they can't bill him is ridiculous. A company can bill you for anything they like; you just may not be legally responsible for paying that bill. Just like you can sue for anything you like; even ridiculous suits; those lawsuits will just get thrown out or lose in court. – Mark Ripley Jan 5 '17 at 10:41
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    "...imagine how many people would just randomly get bills in their mail." This pretty much nails it. – Trilarion Jan 6 '17 at 14:21
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I have had a couple of businesses do this to me. I simply ask them to come over to talk about the bill. Sometimes this ends it. If they come over then I call the cops to file a report on fraud. A lot of times the police will do nothing unless they have had a load of complaints but it certainly gets the company off your back.

And if they are truly unscrupulous it doesn't hurt to get a picture of them talking with the police and their van, and then post the whole situation online - you will see others come forward really quick after doing something like this.

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Here's another example of such a practice and the problem it caused. My brother, who lived alone, was missing from work for several days so a co-worker went to his home to search for him and called the local Sheriff's Office for assistance. The local fire department which runs the EMS ambulance was also dispatched in the event there was a medical emergency. They discovered my brother had passed away inside his home and had obviously been dead for days. As our family worked on probate matters to settle his estate following this death, it was learned that the local fire department had levied a bill against my brother's estate for $800 for responding with their ambulance to his home that day. I tried to talk to their commander about this, insisting my brother had not called them, nor had they transported him or even checked his pulse. The commander insisted theirs was common practice - that someone was always billed for their medical response. He would not withdraw his bill for "services". I hate to say, but the family paid the bill in order to prevent delay of his probate issues and from receiving monies that paid for his final expenses.

  • This does not answer the question. – jwg Jan 6 '17 at 10:20

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