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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3772
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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We have issues with Advent Business Sales demanding £6,000

Customer Question

We have issues with Advent Business Sales demanding £6,000 by forcing me into signing a contract which was not fully discussed, neither did I pay there upfront fee which I believed was the contract between both parties. The company is demanding this amount as I do not wish to sell my business. They have done zero work for me (as I never agreed to pay there fee) and I felt bullied into signing something I did not want to do (I was pregnant at the time of the meeting and time the salesman numerous times I wanted to leave). If it goes to court can they really demand such a ludicrus amount for doing literally nothing?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.

What clause in their terms and conditions allows them to charge this? Were you given access to their T&C's before you signed their agreement?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


 


I was not aware either as I never recieved there T&C's as the salesman was not there long enough to go through it. They have also said if I do not pay the sum they will charge 8% on top each week it is not paid. This in my eyes is laughable but I was under alot of pressure to sign. The salesman even filled the whole form out whilst I was leaving as I told him I didnt have time. He told me I would need to pay the £500 upfront fee before they could act on my behalf, I thought signing was to confirm details and the valuation he had given to start the process if I wanted them to act, I never paid them the fee and they have never began selling my business. I am happy to go to small claims court, I just want to know how many company;s win these cases by pressuring people into this situation?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

What I suggest you do is write to them and say the following:
1. Say that while you acknowledge that you signed their initial form, it was never made clear to you that it was subject to any terms and conditions or you were incurring any fees nor were the terms and conditions ever made available to you. Accordingly you do not accept that their terms and conditions are binding on you;
2. On the basis that they have done no work for you, paying £6k amounts to nothing more than a penalty clause and say you deny any liability for it and will rigorously defend any claim. (Penalty Clauses (or penalties for contractual breach) for breach of contract are unenforceable under public policy - they would have to prove this £6k related to some loss they had suffered - which would be difficult if they had not done any work).
3. (Note the 8% interest can only be enforced if there is a contractual right to do it) - Say that the alleged interest charge is bordering on extortionate and they clearly have no contractual right to make such a claim for interest;
4. Finally say that the method they have used to claim this money is clearly harassment which is a criminal offence under S.40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970. Say that if they do not stop chasing you for the money you reserve the right to contact the police and/or Trading Standards www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/

If they do issue county court proceedings, I would consider just giving them £500 (as per the first agreement) to go away - the time and money spent defending this probably wont be recoverable.

Kind regards

AJ
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like to know if the above answer would ne for a commercial contract as Advent Sales are basically saying I have no rights under this contract and that I am not a consumer. I am very interested in point 2 which you have raised as this is nothing more than a penalty and therefore can they do this under a commercial contract and basically charge whatever they want?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

You have engaged them in your personal name and while this is technically a business to business contract, you do not do this in the ordinary course if your business and presume you were not legally advised when you engaged them. You probably therefore do have some consumer rights.

Furthermore penalty clauses are unenforceable in any contract penalty or consumer. Such a payment would have to be an estimate of contractual losses. If they have done no work then this cannot really but justified as estimate of losses.

I ll forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ