Hi, thanks for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it.
Where a service provider fails to comply with expressly agreed contractual terms, the client will have a potential claim for breach of contract. Service providers are also bound by implied terms under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 which include that services must be provided with reasonable care and skill and within a reasonable time.
A breach could certainly include failures to provide training materials and/or an appropriate premises along with any failure to train the client to the agreed standard. If there was express agreement to indemnify a client for the cost of a private land fine, this could also form a contractual obligation. However, if such promise was not accompanied by any additional consideration (i.e. something in return) it is unlikely a claimant would succeed in showing it was contractually binding. It could be argued that the provision of parking was an implied term of the original agreement but that would depend on the facts.
Before issuing a claim it is important to send the defendant a letter before claim providing a last chance to provide a refund and/or damages. This letter should include the basis of the claim, exactly what he is required to pay and the evidence relied on. With regard to the amount that can be recovered, if the agreement was to train to a particular standard, and this has not happened, or very little benefit was received from the contract, it may be justifiable to seek to recover the entire fee.
If the letter does not elicit a satisfactory response, a claim can be brought by using the Government's online service at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk and, as this is a money claim for less than £10,000, it will be dealt with as a small claim and it won't be necessary to instruct a solicitor. There will be a fee but this is recoverable if the claim is successful. Please find below links that should assist with drafting a letter before action and bringing a claim.
I hope that's helpful and please don't hesitate to let me know if I can clarify anything for you.
Not sure if this insert attaches a file. I have therefore copied and pasted my draft letter to the trainer below. I would appreciate your review before I send it. I am planning to send it via recorded delivery to what I think is his home address, plus the generic address on the website and also by email. I have also stated that if I had to attend a claims court I will also seek all costs including my daily contract rate (if I take a day off work I do not get paid). Your advice on this approach will be much appreciated.
Many thanks and kind regards
To: XXXX XXXXX
Address: XXX XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXX XXX
XXX XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX, XXXXX XXXX, XXXX XXXX, XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXX XXX
Reference: Financial Claim against X X XXXXX: Civil Celebrant Training
Reason: Failure to pay PCN and misleading information provided.
Failure to provide training material
Untenable relationship – unable to complete the training programme.
Training programme did not deliver the service paid for.
Notification of Claim: I have been advised to notify you of my claim against you for a total of £311.50. The amount is derived from:
£250 – being 50% of the training fee
£61.50 – being the cost of the parking penalty charge.
The full case is set out below.
I request payment of this claim, in full, within 10 working days of the date of this letter.
You are requested to acknowledge receipt of this email and receipt of the letter issued to your home address by recorded delivery.
Next steps: The matter will be referred to the Small Claims Court. I will seek to recover all costs associated with this claim from you, including any time taken in attending a hearing at a contracted cost of £505.00 per day.
Background to claim:
The training paid for was for continual training for as long as needed including access to script reviews and documentation. There remains a lot of training outstanding. The training relationship is now untenable due to the behaviour demonstrated by you in relation to providing untrue information about payment of the parking charge and failure to provide course material.
Failure to provide course material: You have been asked by me on more than 3 occasions to provide the promised service book and supporting documentation. You have never provided the service book as promised.
You advised me where to park after I had to do all the driving as you did not provide any premises for the training or appropriate travel arrangements. I asked about whether it was ok to park where we were and you assured me it was as you were very familiar with the area. I questioned this again as I had never been to the area. You again assured me that it was ok to park there. On returning from the bar where the training continued you stated ‘oh if you do get a parking ticket I will pay it’. A parking penalty notice was on the car when we returned. YOU took the PCN and said you would pay it. I had no reason to believe you would not. I therefore had no record of the PCN in order to check.
I requested public speaking training. When we met, you immediately advised me verbally that you had paid the PCN.
22.11.13 I received the demand for the unpaid PCN – Emails sent to you, which clearly show your claims to have paid the PCN, are as follows:
Unfortunately I cannot copy and paste the emails into this part of your system - is there another way I can send the letter to you as a file? I would like you to see the email chain so that you can advise on the strength of my case.
END OF BACKGROUND AND EMAIL EVIDENCE REPORT
Thanks for the response.
There is no required form for a letter before action but, for a small claims breach of contract matter, it is usual to begin with a summary of the agreement, followed by the terms which were breached and the amount sought, including any relevant evidence and a time period to comply, after which proceedings will follow. In addition to the breach of any express terms, it may also be useful to refer to s.13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, pursuant to which a service provider is require to provide the services with due care and skill.
As I say, the claim for a private land fine (this is not a PCN if it has been given by a private parking company) will be difficult if there was no additional consideration for the offer to pay it. However (whether the fine is recoverable or not) there is no harm in including the issue, along with the multiple untruthful reassurances that it had been paid, as evidence of the manner in which services were provided.
With regard to loss of earnings, under Practice Direction 27, you cannot recover more than £90; so £550 would not be recoverable. It may therefore be better to remain silent on the exact amount or refer to the maximum amount recoverable. You can also recover the court fee and travel costs for attending the hearing.
Unfortunately, as this is a general information service, I cannot advise generally on the merits of the claim.
Hello and thank you for your advice. The penalty was a PCN which was issued by Horizon parking and referred to as a PCN by them. Does this change things?
I was hoping you would be able to advise on the merit of the claim in regard specifically to not being able to complete the training due to the untenable relationship. Should I claim the whole cost of the course or just 50%?
The claim I am proposing is that, due to the lies regarding payment of the PCN the continuing training relationship is now untenable and therefore I am not able to complete the training. Also the failure to provide the promised training documents.
I would very much appreciate you advice on these specific points.
many thanks and kindest regards
The term PCN is more appropriate to penalties issued by local authorities (private companies cannot levy penalties as such). Whether or not a private land fine states PCN on the notice, it is still a private land fine. However, regardless of the nature of an obligation, a third party will not be bound to indemnify him for it in the absence of the formalities required to create or amend a contract.
The fact that a relationship has been damaged by one party failing to keep non-binding promises is not a breach and would not generally permit the other party to claim a refund. However, where there has been a failure to discharge binding obligations (such as a failure to provide training materials and/or a suitable premises) these breaches can be actionable. One could also argue that these failures are serious enough to terminate the agreement but they must be fundamental to the contract in order to get over that hurdle.
With regard to the value of any claim, it should be restricted to the loss suffered. This would depend on whether the breaches are serious enough to terminate the contract and the value of the loss sustained. As I say, unfortunately it is outside the remit of this site for me to provide advice on the merits of a specific claim but I would very much hope that a claim like this would not see a court and could be resolved between the parties.