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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48193
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am seeking legal advice on the following: we went

Resolved Question:

Hello,i am seeking legal advice on the following:
we went through a nanny agency to seek a nanny. We found a candidate and made her an offer through the agency by email: the agent sent us an email with the offer description (start date, number of hours, salary) and asked us to confirm by email.
the nanny accepted. at this stage, we had a last minute doubt so we asked the nanny for 3 hours trial. the outcome of this trial was that we decided to withdraw our offer.
we have not signed any contracts with her.
however the agency is still asking us to pay the total fee.
they are also saying that we breached their policy by doing an additional trial (it is true that normally we should have informed them but we really thought we will hire this candidate and we had already made an offer at that stage)
do we have to pay them the total fee (£2500, 10% of the annual salary of the nanny) even if actually we have not hired anyone through them?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What were the terms of the agreement that dealt with paying the shandy fees? Are you able to attach these on here please?
Please note that due to the time I am due to go offline shortly but will respond fully in the morning thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for answer. Please find below the terms and conditions:

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Was there an initial trial period of 2 days or were the 3 hours the only trial that was conducted?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We did 4 hours trial before the offer by email (the agency was informed in advance) and the other 3 hours trial after.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben,

When do you think you will be able to come back to me?

Many Thanks,

Emmanuel

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello Emmanuel, sorry I was waiting on tech support to get back to me as I had trouble opening the attachments.
So going back to your query, I have had a look at the contact you were bound by and it states that you are eligible to ask for a trial period of up to 2 days during which you can decide whether the candidate is suitable. The fees would be payable if you continue to engage the nanny after the trial period. You are requested to inform the agency as soon as possible that you have decided to engage the nanny but it also states that if you engage the nanny even if you find her unsuitable, you would still be liable for the fees.
So from what has happened here you had a pre-agreed trial period, that passed and then you decide to have an extended trial period before deciding to engage the nanny. The agency would argue that once the official trial period had completed and the nanny started working for you it would have meant an engagement by you and their fees would be payable.
You could argue that whilst the additional 3 hours trial period was not agreed it was still within the initial 2 days that s allowed as a trial and that you had not confirmed you had engaged this person so that it should not be treated as a formal engagement triggering the agency fees.
To be honest there is no guaranteed right or wrong answer here. Each of you has an argument you could bring against the other but only a court can decide who is in the right. The issue there is that one judge n ne day could come to a different conclusion to a different judge on another day. It would also require the agency taking this to court and there is no guarantee they would go that far. So you could raise the argument above and refuse to pay. They may issue demands for payment and make threats but unless they go to court and win you cannot be forced to pay them. If they do make a claim then you can reconsider your position and decide whether to try and settle with them or proceed to defend the claim. They may not go that far in which case you cannot be forced to pay.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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