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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47842
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a limited company and I have been working with a

Customer Question

Hi,
I have a limited company and I have been working with a company in London through another contracting company. The contracting company has been charging me 20% over my rates and now they want to increase that to 30%. There is nothing in the contract to indicate that they can increase the rate. Please note that the contract was never signed by them (since they wanted to change the contract) and only they have my signature.
At the same time the consulting company want to increase their rate with the company since the company has asked to extend their work with me. The company is not happy with the increase and they have asked me if I can contract with them directly.
My question is, is the consulting company in a breach of their contract with me for increasing their rate during our six-month contract and bullying the change without any reason.
Please let me know.
Kind regards
HP
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Is it possible for me to see a copy of the contract please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi BenDid you receive my response? I have enclosed the contract for you. Please note this is their contract template. I don't have their signature. The contract was signed in March.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Thank you for the attachment, which I have now received. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, thanks for your patience. First of all it is important to note that the lack of signature on the other wide’s part is unlikely to mean that the contract is invalid in any way. A signature is not a legal requirement for a contract to be legally binding and if it is clear that both parties were aware of the contract and had agreed to work under its terms, a signature would not be required and an acceptance of the contract would be implied. So if you were both happily working under the contract’s terms there would have been an implied acceptance on both sides.In terms of the changes, I cannot see anything in the contract which allows them to make such changes. Therefore, assuming that the charges they are trying to change are specifically contained in the contract, changing them can indeed amount to a breach. They would usually require a clause allowing them to do that or the consent of the other parties to the contract and in the absence of either, it can be a breach of contract.In the event of a breach it could allow you to argue that you are treating the contract being at an end and terminate it. Usually that would all w you to try and bypass any restrictions in the contract preventing you from working for competitors or in the industry but I dis not see any restrictions in the contract anyway so that may not be relevant.I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi BenOne more thing, they are not going to pay unless I invoice them with a 30% cut in my invoice. Should I still go ahead and invoice them with 30% cut?Regards
Hilla
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello do you mean they are not going to pay you for work already done?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi BenYes, I have invoiced them at the agreed daily rate. Now they said they won't pay unless I invoice them at a 30% discount.Regards
Hilla
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

they will have to pay you for the agreed rate, they cannot let you do the work at the contractually binding rate, then retrospectively change it and not pay you if you do not agree to it. If they fail to pay you at the contracted rate then you can take the matter further if needed.

Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no 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 ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand

4. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
At what point can I claim that they are at the breach of their contract? As I mentioned, they already asking to increase the rate for August. The new contract is up for renegotiation in September 12 and the current company want to know if they can work with me directly. I guess I would like to know how to proceed forward.Kind regards
Hilla
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

the breach would be when you invoice them under the contractual rates and they refuse to pay, or if they start charging you the new rates without your agreement. So if the contract ends on 12 Sept, assuming it has not been officially breached before then you can start working for the others from that date

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben, this is good to know. I will start the communication with the company this week just to make sure the offer still stands.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome, all the best