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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44365
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a freelance designer who designs for an agent that has

Customer Question

I am a freelance designer who designs for an agent that has just decided he is wrapping up the business. Myself (£7-8k)and other designers are owed large sums of money for unpaid designs which he has acknowledged. I have copies of sales invoices for all unpaid designs. At present the director has said he will pay us all, and at this stage he hasn't put the company into administration. How can we get our money?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please let me know when was the money originally due?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Ben -

I'm a freelancer in childrenswear and generally it works that you sell designs as and when. The retailer will buy the design through my agent. He get's 40% and I take the 60%. Normally it takes about 3 months for us to get paid but I am not sure how long it takes him (my agent) to be paid by the clients. However I am owed for 34 designs in total. I haven't got to hand the earliest design sale I'm still owed for but i can work this out if you need me to. I think they are all in the last year. His methods of sales notifications were haphazard to say the least!

I do not have a contract with him, as a freelancer he is just my agent and has been for about 15 years.

This is all standard practice in the textiles industry and design studios.

Since closing the studio, he has sent me a list of outstanding designs i am owed for. There were 4 that I had which were missed off. He has accounted for 2 of these as ones which were bought by a company who

have gone bust and so therefore i won't get paid for these. I did not know of this until now. The other two he has agreed i am still owed for.

I sent an email to him today asking whether i might be paid for any this month. He has replied with an email saying that it is all still being looked at by his accountants and it is unclear until Tuesday of next week. He said the same thing last month too!

There are lots of other designers in the same position as me and we are all wondering what to do and how we stand legally.

Can we collectively pursue him for all monies owed or do we all need to file separate claims against him?

At the moment he's saying he doesn't want to go into administration but is also very unclear if we will be paid, when we will be paid and how much we will be paid?

We are really concerned that he may decide to declare himself bankrupt and we will never see our money.

What should we do?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
If there is a problem with recovering money that a party believes is legally due to them, they have the option of pursuing this as a legal debt. The following steps should be followed:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been unanswered, the other side needs to be sent a formal letter (preferably by recorded delivery) asking them to pay the money they owe within a specified period of time, for example 14 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do pay, legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the money owed. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action, which should be a last resort. It is therefore essential that it is sent.
3. If they fail to pay as requested or do not make contact to at least try and come to some form of arrangement, this matter can be taken to the next stage and formal legal proceedings can commence. If this is just about an attempt to recover money the claim can be submitted online by going to There will be a court fee to pay depending on the amount to be recovered (this is usually refundable if the claim is successful) but at least this will kick-start the legal process and hopefully prompt the other side into resolving this without the need to go to a formal court hearing.

It is also strongly advisable to keep copies of all correspondence in relation to this, in case it is needed at a later stage.

You can all pursue a group action against him and you would be named as individual claimants in the claim but it would proceed as one.

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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44365
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thanks ben - I need to know whether if we start legal proceedings and then he subsequently put his business into administration whether the legal proceedings can still proceed.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi ben

can you still answer our last question please. I think I've smiley faced you too early!


Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Sorry I was offline earlier. If he places the company into administration then you will potentially rank as a creditor and will only be able to get compensated if there are any funds or assets left and that is not very common unfortunately.

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