I have done several sets of terms and conditions for web
building companies and IT support companies and they are essential to prevent
the kind of problem that you are having. To get a solicitor to draft them
properly to cover all the foibles of a web design company, expect to pay
probably a couple of grand. As you have now found out, it would have been money
I assume that the bonuses achieved on the other project
are not documented either, but you do not mention that being in dispute.
Under the Sale of Goods and Services Act you are entitled
to be paid a reasonable price for a job and whether the price you have charged
is reasonable would come down to what a court would think.
They would need to produce some quotes, from other
companies, showing that your job was overpriced. It seems however, that they are
not disputing the price they are disputing that the work was ever approved to
be done at all. They are using the fact that the employee no longer works
there. Now, whilst they may think they are being cute, it doesn't really help
You are entitled to believe that anyone in their company
that gives you the go-ahead to do a particular job has the authority to do so.
They have what is known as "implied authority".
I assume that they are not disputing that you got the
go-ahead, they are simply disputing the authority of the employee to give you
In addition, it appears that the company gave you every
assistance to complete the job which they would not have done if the work had
not been approved. It also appears that they used the service (although I do
not know for how long they used it). It may be that it did not produce the
result that they wanted it to produce and as a result they are looking for
excuses not to pay you.
You are entitled to add on interest at 8% per annum
calculated monthly, per month under the late payment of commercial debts
(interest) act and a fixed payment of £70 under the late payment of commercial
debts regulations, provided your terms and conditions do not mention any late
payment penalties. Here is a little bit of reading for you http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file37581.pdf
ultimately, if they do not pay you, you will have no
alternative but to take them to court.
As the amount they owe you is over £5000. It will not be
Small Claims Court and so there is a cost, risk if you lose because the judge
preferred their version of events to yours. You can always ask for the former
employee to come as a witness, although if he left on good terms. He may be
reluctant to do so. If you left on bad terms, he may well give you a superb
If you can manage to negotiate the amount that they owe
you to under £5000, you can then generally take what is on offer and then sue
for the balance on the basis that you accepted the original sum under
protest/duress. There is a way that they can thwart you suing for the balance, but
the chances of them knowing the legal loophole (unless they asked me or have
legal knowledge) is unlikely.
Can I help further?
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The thread remains open for us to continue this exchange