Q&A - Rock star refuses to pay full amount he owes me for guitar. Will it be cheaper to settle for less than sue him?

Q.  I run a business selling vintage guitars and have been chasing a £50,000 debt from a well-known rock star. He signed the Sales Agreements and everything was above board so there is no reason why he shouldn’t be paying me. He has offered to pay me £30,000 but I want the full amount. I am reluctant to take this to Court because of the legal costs I might incur from instructing solicitors. Should I just take the £30,000 and write off the rest of the debt?

A.  As you have rightly pointed out, litigation can be expensive. Settlement outside of Court is therefore often preferable and it means that you could avoid incurring the costs of unrecoverable legal fees, taking time out of your busy schedule to appear at Court and also the stress and worry that comes with Court Proceedings.

However, £20,000 is a lot of money to lose and is not something that you should just “write off” because of the worry of incurring legal fees. If you instruct a reputable firm of solicitors they can try and negotiate a better offer for you or issue Court Proceedings against the buyer if needed.  A good lawyer will take as much stress away from you as possible. They can also try to recover some of their legal costs from the opponent and therefore reduce your expenses incurred in chasing the debt.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but it would be wise to arrange an appointment with a solicitor as soon as possible before you make your decision. The solicitor can then advise on the merits of your case and the next steps. Hopefully you will be able to get this rock star to play a different tune!

(Article published 26/06/2017)