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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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Good Morning I am the Chair of our village hall, which is

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Good Morning
I am the Chair of our village hall, which is a registered charity.
We had arranged a village ball and a local band was booked to perform. The agreement to play was verbally arranged by a member of the committee, the leader of the band being an acquaintance of his and they had played at two previous balls. No written agreement had been made neither had the band made us aware of any terms and conditions other than they would be paid.
The ball was cancelled and the band given 31 days notice. I have now received a letter stating that the arrangements were made on trust and that we owe them £300 because we cancelled and enclosed was a copy of their T&C's which state if the event is cancelled more 31 days or more from date of event 10%; less than 31 days 50% of fee etc.
The person who had booked the band stated that when the band was told of the cancellation it had caused some embarrassment but no costs. The committee decided not to pay the cancellation fee as there was no written agreement and at no time had they been made aware of the T&C's both for this and previous events.
I have now received a second letter stating that a verbal contract existed as we had advertised that the band would play at the ball and that if we do not pay by the 10th September then legal action would be taken to recover their costs.
My request is for advice as to whether the claim is legitimate one.
Summary
I appreciate that there was a verbal agreement between the committee and the band to play.
We did advertise their details on the publicity.
I am told they were informed 31 days before the event of the cancellation.
We have never had written T&C's.
Your advice please as where we stand.
Many thanks
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I can assist with this.

Customer:

Good morning

tdlawyer :

If nothing was agreed about the right to cancel, then technically, no such right usually exists. So assuming that to be the case, it would appear that a cancellation preventing the performance going ahead would be a breach of contract.

tdlawyer :

Morning!

tdlawyer :

And that breach means that the band would be entitled to damages.

tdlawyer :

That's the starting point.

tdlawyer :

So, assuming all that is accepted, which is pretty basic stuff, you need to move on to look at what loss the band sustained.

tdlawyer :

This is where your admission from them that no loss has been suffered is important.

tdlawyer :

They would normally be entitled to sue for loss of money from the cancelled performance, which is their profit on the job (not necessarily the market rate charged).

tdlawyer :

If they got an alternative booking, for example, with somebody else, then they didn't lose out at all.

Customer:

Sorry I do not fully understand the first para. As far as I am aware we did not agree any cancellation terms as they were not given to us therefore how can we be in breach of contract

Customer:

I have no idea whether they got another booking or not

tdlawyer :

Because unless you agree a right to cancel - there is no such right.

tdlawyer :

Because it was not agreed.

tdlawyer :

The position for consumers, buying goods on the internet etc., is different to the rules that apply for businesses and organisations doing things in the course of business, i.e. doing things for the village hall and booking professional entertainment.

tdlawyer :

You might be trying to relate the position back to what you know, about buying things as an individual - but that's very different to what we're talking about here.

Customer:

In a nut shell are you saying that we have got to pay the monies claimed even though there is no written agreement and we were not informed of the cancellation terms beforehand. that because we are not purchasing goods but a service and pottentially they lost profit by not performing. sorrry if it seems a bit disjointed

tdlawyer :

Sort of, yes. But their position seems to help you in two ways. Firstly, they say they suffered no financial loss, which means they have no claim, because you cannot profit from a breach of contract you can only recover your loss. If they say they have none, then there is no claim. Secondly, they say their terms and conditions apply, which even if they do not, the fact they believe them to might work in your favour because they provide a right to cancel and sets out the amount of the cancellation fee. Now, this would work in your favour if this sum is less than any lost profit. On their own case so far though, they say there is no financial loss, in which case the percentage cancellation fee is higher than nothing (i.e. no loss), so you'd be worse off for paying it.

tdlawyer :

You need to ask them if they got an alternative booking. If they did - they have no claim.

tdlawyer :

If they didn't, then they may have a claim and you need to ask them what their profit on the gig would have been. Then I doubt there would be much difference between the sum demanded in their t&cs and their stated figure.

Customer:

What I missed was that in the original letter, which was received 3days after they were told of the cancellation. It stated that they had incurred costs for rehearsing new material for the event. So in that case they had allegedly incurred costs. Ib

Customer:

I doubt very much if the will tell us if they got another booking.

tdlawyer :

If they sued you, they'd have to reveal if they got another performance, so they might as well tell you now. If not, the Court would criticise them.

Customer:

Tony

tdlawyer :

I'm no performer, but it's difficult to see what financial losses are sustained by rehearsing.

Customer:

Tony

Customer:

Tony I agree with you but unfortunately I do not fully trust the people involved in this in terms of the information being given to me. It is a lesson that in the future everything must be in writing and agreed. I think we will have to roll over and pay although on the basis of their T&C's because they were given 31 days notice we will pay them £150 and what is the wording 'without predjudice'

tdlawyer :

Yes, you should use the wording "Without prejudice save as to costs" when making offers to settle.

tdlawyer :

This means your offer can't be produced to the court until you argue about costs, which is when you show a judge how reasonable you've been with the offers. In your case, it wont matter too much because it's a small claim and costs don't usually apply, but it's the better way to do it anyway.

Customer:

Tony Thanks for the advice

tdlawyer :

You're very welcome, glad to help out. Can I check whether you're happy with the service today please?

Customer:

Very

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