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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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We are a medical practice with 4 owner partners. We have been

Resolved Question:

We are a medical practice with 4 owner partners. We have been approached by a firm called Focal Point Medica to provide us with magazines for our waiting room. The magazines are provided free of charge. Focal Point Medica recoup the cost of the magazines by signing up local firms to place adverts for their businesses. One of the practice's employees has signed a 'contract' to agree to receive the magazines. They are due to arrive on Friday this week. The employee has not had authority from the partners of the practice to sign. In addition, I have now heard from a number of the local firms who have been approached by Focal Point Medica, advising me that their demands and tactics are unscrupulous. I also know that the hospitals and other medical organisations they state on their marketing literature to be customers of theirs are not. I have written to Focal Point Medica asking to cancel delivery of the magazines. They have refused saying that we have entered into a 30 month contract with them that needs 24 months written notice to cancel and they intend to deliver the magazines this Friday. The 'contract' signed by the employee does state these timelines. But it is not a formal contract as such and it signed by anyone from Focal Point Medica. They have not spoken to anyone in authority at the practice. Nor have we met them in person. Are we legally obliged to accept delivery of these magazines and can we cancel the 'contract' at this time?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. What was the employees position within the practice?

Customer:

The employee is the Office Supervisor. A middle ranking position, reporting into the Head of Operations who reports to the 4 owner partners.

taratill :

How did they enter into the contract was it by phone or was the contract posted?

Customer:

It was posted.

taratill :

Ok have you seen the contract? Do you know whether the employee put this title on the contract?

Customer:

Yes I have it in front of me now. Its headed "an order agreement".Yes the employee has written her job title on the agreement. And she has signed it to say she is authorised to act on behalf of the practice.

taratill :

Ok well you need to write to the company and tell them that the employee does not have authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the practice and that you do not wish to enter into the contract. You should state that you do not want the magazines delivered and that if they attempt to enforce the contract you will defend on the basis that the employee did not have authority to enter a binding contract. They are likely to respond by saying that the contract is binding on the basis of 'apparent/ ostensible authority' given that the employee made out that they had authority to enter into the agreement on your behalf. It would strengthen your position if you are prepared to take disciplinary action against this employee for doing this as they really have overstepped the mark and put you in a difficult position.

taratill :

Ultimately whether you are deemed to be bound by the contract is a matter of 'fact' for a court to decide if the company decide to take action against you in breach of contract.

taratill :

The court will look at whether this employee has been allowed to enter into contracts on your behalf before.

taratill :

They will be aware that some companies engage heavy handed tactics.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please do ask. If i have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Customer:

OK. Many thanks for your help and advice.

Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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