I didn't put anything in writing until after the sale completed.
I will send you the letter that I wrote them.
Will you email me or shall I stay logged onto this site?
I've just checked
I've got my follow up letter but not the one immediately before that although it notes my reasons for wanting to pay less.
Their invoice at the moment has been reduced to £2750 plus VAT (£3,300). I have offered them £1000 which is the value of the cheque in their possession .
Most recent letter:
Thank you for your letter dated 07/05/14. It strikes me that my reply must have been lost in the post so I am re-sending a copy.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your goodwill gesture to reduce your original invoice, and thank you also for the copies of the previous letters, which you have noted, were never signed or returned as we had never agreed your fee. In those letters, you state that acceptance of an appointment indicates acceptance of your terms of business. As our agreement was uncertain, I would dispute this point. I feel that as we had not agreed the fee at that time, the original offer was replaced by my counter offer(s).
That being said, your company did provide the introduction of my eventual purchasers and for that I am happy to pay a fee.
I maintain that I am still looking to agree a fair and reasonable price for your work done. Our negotiations started in November 2013 and the detail outlined in my previous letter and below summarises my feelings about the work carried out from that time until completion on 27th March 2014.
I am happy to pay a reasonable fee for the work done, but I consider the revised invoice amount of £3,000.00 still to be unreasonable for the work done.
My reasons for this are as follows:
- When I first instructed you last November to market my business on your website, I did so over the telephone and I had to provide my own photographs of the premises for sale. I was keen to sell so duly provided the photos but this implies to me a lack of reasonable care and skill with your primary task of ‘selling’ my business as the photos no doubt generated greater interest. At no point did you offer to send an agent.
- When you gave me your valuation, I felt that you had undervalued the business based on annual turnover, percentage profits and equipment valuation. After seeking independent advice, I instructed you to increase the purchase price and, although you eventually did change it, I was met with resistance from your company and was advised not to. You mentioned that your valuation was down to ‘the location’. I fail to see how the location in such an affluent town in Surrey can be a bad one. You certainly didn’t market it as such on your site. The fact that it sold within 2 weeks despite the increased price also evidences the under-valuation. I believe that this shows that you did not have my best interests at heart as your client, only your own. I believe that you showed a lack of care and skill in this matter.
- As mentioned above, despite the increased price, I had 2 viewings, 2 offers and accepted the second of these offers. The following morning, I instructed you to take the shop off the market and remove the listing from your site. The total period that you advertised my business for sale was under 2 weeks. So not very long.
- From that moment onwards, I felt that your company provided no further assistance in the transaction. I brokered the entire deal and spent much of my time, that I should have been working, contacting solicitors of both parties, councils, land registry, licensing bodies etc etc.
- The only contact that I had from your company was an occasional phone call (usually during my busiest trading times of between 12 and 2pm) for ‘an update’. Very little advice was offered during those calls and none of it was useful. Indeed, on one occasion, a colleague remarked that my solicitor wasn't being very professional due to his slow communication. I haven’t yet passed this comment onto him. I was also disappointed, given you knew the nature of my business (ie selling lunch foods) that your agents would call at lunchtime. The busiest time. Again a lack of care and skill.
- The one and only instruction that I gave you after the offer had been accepted was to collect references from the purchasers. When these references were later due for inspection some months later, you still hadn’t collected them. This further slowed down the sale by several weeks and cost me both in terms of time, money and also stress. I feel this to be poor service. Again a lack of care and skill
- Once the sale had completed, I have yet again been contacted via email for ‘an update’. This shows to me that you have at no time had any idea of what was going on with my transaction. Again, a lack of care and skill
I understand that these points are covered under Part 2 of Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, specifically sections 13 (which requires the supplier to use reasonable care and skill) and 15 (which requires a reasonable charge for the work done)
For the above reasons, I believe that a fair and reasonable fee for the work done by your company to be £800. As you kindly, reduced your invoice as a gesture of goodwill, I am prepared to increase my offer to you to £1000 to conclude this matter. To that extent, I enclose a cheque for the full amount as my final offer for full and final settlement.
Please not that I have cancelled the cheque that was sent on 21/05/14 in the interests of security as it appears to have been lost in the postal system. If it ever arrives, please feel free to destroy it.
I await your response by return of mail at your earliest convenience.
Pink Footed Goose