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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I am self employed (sole trader). I have a number of clients

Customer Question

I am self employed (sole trader). I have a number of clients - and took on a new one in March to do PR for a design agency. My original cost proposal outlined a ball park number of days, and made it clear that once a PR plan had been put in place these days were to be reviewed. The design agency gave me a purchase order up until the beginning of July (1 day a week until June then 2 days a week). Two weeks ago I discovered I needed to move my days across just two specific weeks as I had another client clash of timings. I wrote an email requesting this, and also saying the 2 days a week in June / going forward were not needed (having put together a PR plan) and I'd like to do one day a week. The client was annoyed - terminated my service by email. And is now saying they will not pay me for the time I worked in May (total of 3 days). I have a feeling they may also seek compensation for breech of PO (there was no contract and no T&Cs given with their PO - just a number). I would like to know where I stand - and whether I can seek payment for my May invoice, and in what ways.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is AJ and I will assist you.

Exactly what terms did the PO contain? Did it mention anything about termination?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ


 


Thanks for your swift reply.


No - I was just given a PO number - no contract, or paper based / emailed PO with any terms or conditions.


The amount on the PO was based on the attached (it was sent as an email - cut and pasted attached below). I didn't ever receive a hard


copy at all, even though an email suggested I would.


 


Seems to be (reading between the lines) they didn't like me having other client commitments - and when I asked professionally whether I could shift my days over two specific weeks (in order to serve another client) they took umbrage that they were 'the poor relation' to my other clients.


 


They are saying that I did not satisfy the set number of days. However I made it clear in my original cost proposal that the days to be worked would need to be confirmed after I had put together a plan. At the same time as asking to shift those days over those two weeks I stated that going forward only one day a week was needed (suddenly I was told they had allocated 8 days a month in their budget - which I would never be able to do bearing in mind my other clients, and I would never have agreed to that).


 


It was the agency - not me - that terminated my services.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

I will review these and revert to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello there


 


I still have not received a reply. Can you kindly tell me when I can expect the advice paid for?


 


Ruth

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

My apologies, I am reviewing this now you will have my response today.

I have had some difficulties in opening the attachments.

Kind regards

AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your patience.

Having reviewed this, the bottom line is unless the Purchase Order said that the timing of the service was time critical or "time was of the essence" then there is not obligation on you in terms of time.

You merely only have to provide the service in a reasonable period of time.

How much are you currently owed? And have they made a claim against you?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply - I am owed £1980. They haven't made a claim against me - I am hoping they don't, but they operate in a very odd way - and seem incensed that I wanted some flexibility around the days on the PO. As you saw from the attachment I received a PO for a total number of days between April and June. I had met all the days up until that point - but simply wanted to revise the remaining number of days on that PO.


 


As I mentioned it was they who terminated my service - I was simply requesting that the number of days be revised to suit the project, and also


my availability (bearing in mind I am freelance and have other clients).


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Your options are:
1. Do nothing - let it lie and just remember next time that you must trade with terms and conditions that allow you always to be paid for work in progress and ensure that time is not of the essence unless approved by you.

2. Make a claim in the County court for the work you have done to date. You will need to invoice them first. The danger of this is obviously they may make a counter claim and they have the PO to argue that you had no right to change the timings - it will be for the court to decide who is right. https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome


Personally I would think carefully before commencing a money claim. It is time consuming and there is no guarantee you will get all your costs. It will also take away from you time that could be spent on your business. You may be better off spending the time and money preparing your own set of terms and conditions that guarantee you the flexibility to accommodate the way in which you need to work.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ

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