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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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My son signed up for a driving instructors course in 2007-2008.

Resolved Question:

My son signed up for a driving instructors course in 2007-2008. He did one day and broke his ankle and had to cancel the course. Now the company want £7000 off him for the course. Is this legal?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you remember exactly when this occurred?

Customer: Jan-February 2006
Ben Jones :

when was payment due?

Customer: He hasn't been given a date
Customer: I think his course was to start jan 2006 but had one lesson when he broke his ankle
Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

By the way do you know what the original cost of the course was?

Customer: £7213 He informed the company then that he could not do the course and was told that it would be ok
Ben Jones :

When he signed up for the course he would have entered into a contractual agreement with the other party, where he had agreed to pay the money for the tuition and they in turn agreed to provide the tuition. If either party failed to adhere to their part of the agreement they would potentially be acting in breach of contract and the other party would be entitled to consider suing them for this and seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result of this.


 


For example, in this case if he had failed to proceed with the course, did not notify them to try and formally cancel the agreement by using any cancellation terms within it, they could potentially argue that they had suffered losses because they had failed to make a profit from his custom. However, they would also be expected to try and minimise their losses as much as possible and if they had managed to get another booking in to cover the time he was supposed to be there, then they would have minimised their losses and as such could only realistically claim for actual losses incurred, such as administrative charges or costs incurred in trying to get a replacement in.


 


Another important issue is that there is a limitation period for making claims of breach of contract and these are 6 years, so if the course was booked in 2006, then they would have had to make a claim sometime in 2012, which they have obviously failed to do.


 


He can contact them, advise them that he does not acknowledge the debt in any way and state that due to the Limitation Act 1980 they are no longer to pursue him for any alleged debts from 2006 and that they should not contact him anymore.

Customer: Thank you Ben
Ben Jones :

You are welcome. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer:

You mention that "If either party fails to adhere to their part of the agreement" In this case the other party were informed of my son not able to participate in the course because of injury, thus giving good reason for not complying with agreement. Surely in this case the other party should have dropped the course.

Ben Jones :

whether it was through injury or not, he has still failed to adhere to his part of the agreement by paying them for the course. The ability to cancel would have been determined by the terms of the agreement so in the first instance he should have followed that but even if he did not as mentioned they would have had a duty to minimise their losses, for example by looking for a replacement. Also remember the limitation period - if that applies then all of the above is irrelevant as they simply cannot pursue the debt. Has this clarified things for you?

Customer:

Yes thanks

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