Hello Simon my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
If the contract said they could charge 300 hours, why did you sign it please?
I didn't, one of our employees did unfortuanatly
Hi Alex, I think the fact I did not sign the contract may be important here, I am the sole director of the company and only I can sign contracts for our company. The member of staff signed the contract in my absence and without my authority.
Ok - but the member of staff was working for you and on behalf of the company?
How much is the proposed fee please?
He was working for our company but has no authority to sign contracts, this is in his contract. They may assume he has apparent authority but surely contestable.
They have issued county court proceedings, the total sum id for £20000.00. They are claiming for four people, two of these did start for the agency and then came over to us apparently although I was not aware. We do not believe that the agency sent the other two they are claiming for as they never invoiced us for them. My two points would be that we do not recognise the contract as it has not been signed by a director of the company and that the money they are claiming is unreasonable.
Does the contract say it has to be signed by a Director?
No it does not
Someone in your organisation though hired them, is that correct?
Yes, somebody in our organisation hired the men for the project
Thanks. Its bad news I am afraid. If the contract did not say it had to be signed by a Director and it was signed by one of your employees. sadly your company is vicariously liable.
The law states the Company is responsible for employee wrongs.
However it will be open to you, to defend the proceedings on the basis that the fee is not reasonable.
Indeed you can claim that it amounts to a penalty.
The Court has the power to amend or delete parts of an agreement.
You need to convince the Court that this is a too high a fee and does not reflect the work done.
Indeed they would only be entitled to charge at the very most, loss of profit.
The Sale of Goods Act states that someone is entitled to a reasonable fee for reasonable work done
Clearly this is not reasonable and you can defend the claim on this basis
But from what you have said I do not think you can argue that it is not valid because it was not signed by a Director for the reasons above.
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest
But you can defend because it is extortionate.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
No, thanks for your help. I will approach them and tell them that we will defend against their case on the basis of the costs being unreasonable. I will also offer to pay for their loss of profit on them men. Thanks again
Happy to help - do you need anything else from me today?
No thanks. Have a nice evening