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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47404
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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there. I am under contract with a company until the start

Resolved Question:

Hi there. I am under contract with a company until the start of next month. I have informed them that i do not wish to renew it, however they have rejected my notice saying that in my contract i have to give four weeks notice before my current contract ends as its auto renewed. Even though i did have an email from them two weeks prior saying they would get in contact with me to discuss my renewal. i waited the two weeks and still didnt hear from them hence i gave them the notice and they are quibbling over 6 days. what are my options? (there ringing me tomorrow to discuss with me, but have suggested i will have to buy out the whole of next years contract) kind regards
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

What type of contract is this, what is it for?

Customer:

For Red driving school. Was a 12 month contract i signed. my renewal date is the 2nd March. I emailed them on 23rd jan to discuss my renewal. On the 26th they told me they would be in contact with me within two weeks, they werent so i then gave them notice that i did not wish to renew. They are claiming though that theyve auto renewed it and dont need me to sign for another contract.

Ben Jones :

You agree you have not given proper notice to terminate the contract as per its terms?

Customer:

Well i asked them about when it was up and they told me they would get in contact to discuss my renewal. I didnt realise i had to give four weeks, as were not even in the new contract yet. But after they didnt get in contact with me about it i then gave them notice. but apparently i had to give four weeks and it does say that in the contract. However i was in contact with them before that point previously regarding my contract. what are my options?

Customer:

because i was going to tell them sooner anyways but when they said they would get in contact with me, thats why i left it until recently.

Ben Jones :

Ok whilst you may have been in touch with them over your renewal, if you wanted to cancel the contract early it would have been down to you to do so as per the contract terms, rather than waiting on them to get back to you. If you want to do something under the contract, you communicate that to the other side, you should not wait for them.

So if you have not given the required notice then you could be held in breach of contract. Whilst the company can try and claim damages for you, they cannot just penalise you for the whole year’s worth of the contract without being able to justify they have suffered such losses. However, that is unlikely because they should be able to get a replacement to fill in your space. If they do so, and they would be expected to, then their losses will be significantly reduced and they can only chase you for the actual losses they had incurred from your breach. It could be a short period whilst they find someone new or costs with marketing the availability, should they struggle to find someone immediately.

However, trying to pursue you for the whole period or an unreasonable period or costs when they have someone else ready to replace you is going to be seen as a form of penalty, which is unlawful and unenforceable.

Customer:

So realistically what kind of damages would i be looking at? I pay a franchise fee of 225 pounds a week. How many weeks do you think they could charge me for?

Ben Jones :

As mentioned it depends entirely on how soon they can find a way to minimise these losses - they are expected to make attempts to minimise them, such as by getting in a replacement driver, someone who can take over. Therefore it depends on how long that takes or how long it would reasonably be expected for them to find someone

Customer:

Ok and im right in saying if i decide to then not cancel my contract they cant penalise me for that?

Ben Jones :

you mean after you have tried to cancel~?

Customer:

yea, seeing as thye have rejected my notice currently

Ben Jones :

they could be creating difficulties in pursuing you for damages then because you have offered them a way to end this and to reduce their losses so if they reject to allow you back and then try to pursuer you for losses you can say that you offered a simple solution to end their losses but they unreasonably rejected it and as such should not be allowed to recover any damages from you

Customer:

Ok , so i have my phone call with them tomorrow. so realistically il either be expected to pay a certain amount of damages, or if i offer to stay then they cant pursue damages as ive offered to honour my contract? is that right?

Ben Jones :

yes correct

Customer:

ok fantastic. Cheers ***** ***** help, as you can imagine iv been majorly stressing. many thanks i shall click excellent service for you. Kind regards Steve.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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