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Forked tongue oinkers

"We write to inform you that we have no knowledge of the purported arrangement as claimed {in} your letter. Furthermore, our bill was drawn up in accordance with the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order 1991 … where you will note under Rule 7 it specifically states that any discount is prohibited. The rule (which has the force of law) has been in force since 1991 and NOT in 2004.

We also write to put you on NOTICE that we take strong exception to the words and innuendoes as published in your letter. On this basis we reserve our right to take such steps as we deem fit should you continue to make or caused to be made what we deem to be slanderous remarks."


Ok.. let’s break this down, shall we?

“…we have no knowledge of the purported arrangement …”
1. purported? puhleeeeeze! I would not make up this story! Besides, this was written BEFORE boss met with Rahar this morning, so I’m not surprised you don’t know about it at the time your letter is written!
2. it may be my word against the firm, but I have the following documents on file:
- estimated bill dated July 2004 for RM 800-ish
- bill dated 13.8.2004 for RMWXYZ + 800-ish, with me having circled & put a question mark at the RMWXYZ
- bill dated 15.9.2004 for RM800-ish
- their own letter to me which states “we enclosed herewith our Official Receipt No xxxx date 14/10/2004 being settlement of our legal fees and disbursements.”
3. So tell me: while the receipt doesn’t say “FULL settlement,” neither does it say partial settlement, and no mention was made in that letter about the RMWXYZ!! From this, it seems to me that I did not owe them ANY money as of 14 Oct 2004!

“… any discount is prohibited... The rule (which has the force of law) has been in force since 1991 and NOT in 2004…”
1. while the Order may have been in effect since 1991, it was only recently that there were announcements in the papers about lawyers being prohibited from giving discounts on such fees as covered in that Order, and that enforcement of the Order would be carried out properly. Heresay, of course, but discounts were rampant, hence the announcement!!
2. It would be nice to know why only recently did the firm’s discussion tables sport these notices quoting the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order and emphasizing the prohibition of giving discounts
3. admittedly I will never get this on record, but when I first used them for the purchase of the house, it was stated that as an employee of that particular company I worked for at the time, I’d get a discount. That was in 2002/2003. So while the order has ‘the force of law’ it didn’t mean it was actually enforced, eh?
4. I also recognize that I will never be able to get a straight answer out of Rahar about the whole “talked to boss, discussed your case, seeing as this is the 3rd file you’ve opened with us, we’ll waive the fees” since I don’t have that in writing… once again, my word against the firm
5. All I can say for myself is when I saw the estimate bill in July, I thot they charged the fees when they dealt as the purchaser’s solicitors (since they then actually draw up the S&PA, kan?)., and not when acting as the vendor’s solicitor. Call me ignorant or na├»ve, but hey, are you saying the onus is on me to look at the estimate and say “Wah, so cheap? You don’t charge fees ah?”


“…We also write to put you on NOTICE that we take strong exception to the words and innuendoes as published in your letter…”
1. If I ask them to clarify the ‘words and innuendoes’ that they have taken strong exception to, do you think they are going to answer?
2. Should I not have said that this situation was “disturbing”, and used what,, Confusing? Surprising?
3. Should I not have used “slapped with a bill for RM…” and have instead said I was “surprised to have been charged RM…”?
4. Should I just have kept quiet it perhaps being “… an internal matter between the firm and Rahar?”
5. last week I called the discrepancy ‘a mistake made by the firm.’ I later explained things as I understood it, and said “… I hope you understand why I feel I do NOT owe you the RMWXYZ…”. Should I have said “not”, not “NOT”?


I don’t think there is a basis for them to turn nasty… or is there…?


“…take steps as we deem fit should you continue to make or caused to be made what we deem to be slanderous remarks …”
1. I wonder if they cannot afford to have anything in writing that says anything about waivers or discounts. And since I had the temerity to ‘publish in my letter’ exactly that, they have to strenuously deny it, and attempt to bully me to make sure I shut up about it.
2. So, does this mean if I want a meeting with Rahar and boss, and show them all the stuff in my file that led me to the conclusion that I did not owe them the RMWXYZ, could that be ‘deemed as continuing to cause to be made slanderous remarks’?

Anyways…

Rahar has been instructed to tell me that in no uncertain terms that THE CASE IS CLOSED. Not surprisingly, Rahar also avoided answering when I asked him directly whether he remembers the whole conversation we had about the fees: like I said, the firm vs me… gone case for me lah…

One strange thing: Rahar seemed ignorant of this ‘slander’ fax: according to him the last item on file was their response about ‘inadvertently including the professional fees due in the redemption sum,’: which lends much weight to my opinion of bully tactics! I told him to go check with the secretary for the fax, and that I do not agree that the case is closed unless I receive an apology for being called a liar: he agreed to it, but we’ll see if it ever happens… after all, it struck me later that he cannot apologise on behalf of the firm without boss’ approval which obviously is not going to happen! And if he sends a personal apology, he must word it really carefully to avoid implicating himself or the firm!
Oh geeeez, is even my demanding an apology going to be construed as “continuing to cause to be made slanderous remarks”???

You know, it would be nice if the firm can acknowledge that they had made a mistake in allowing the omission of the fees – heck, couch it in vaguespeak “there had perhaps been confusion over the legal fees,” would be fine with me. Then go on and say “however we remain bound by the Solicitors Remuneration Order 1991 and therefore hope that you agree to consider the matter closed.”

Wouldn’t that be SO MUCH BETTER than trying to bully me into submission?

So right now I am going to wait and see if any apology comes (or more threats or even legal action over me demanding said apology), and take it from there…

In the meantime, I’ll mentally write-off that RMWXYZ: “I’m marking it down to learning”

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