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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I verbally agreed over the phone to sell a private number plate,

Customer Question

i verbally agreed over the phone to sell a private number plate, although I never signed any documents. When the company sent the paper work through via email I questioned twice that the contract did not specify what we agreed over the phone (i.e. it never said the amount) and they never responded to my email regarding this. On this basis I changed my mind and have ignored their phone calls etc. Now they say they are taking me to court for breach of contract.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Have they served you with a court claim?
Did they ever say on the phone that the agreement was subject to their terms and conditions?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have today received a letter saying 'Notice of Intended Court Proceedings' - unfortunately its been a few weeks since the telephone conversation and I really cannot remember if they said that the agreement was subject to their T&C's - although they have said in this letter that I can request a recording of the conversation.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
Have they said they will issue court proceedings in 7 days?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The following is the exact wording AJ:

As it has not been possible to resolve this matter and it is apparent that court action may be necessary, I write in compliance with the practice of Pre-Action Conduct.

At 11:19 on 4th June 2015 you entered into a verbal contract with us to sell your registration mark XYZ on your behalf and to return you the sum of ABC on completion of this transfer. A recording of that telephone conversation confirming your agreement can be provided on request.

A confirmation of sale was emailed to you on the 4th June 2015 together with our Power of Attorney Form, which identifies that the documents you agreed with Mike to submit, in order for us to carry out the sale and transfer of your registration.

Unless we hear from you within 7 days with the documents identified in our confirmation of sales letter, I regret to inform you that we shall no option but to issue legal proceedings against you for specific performance of contract.

We intend to use transcripts of our recorded telephone conversation to prove our claim.

In closing I would draw your attention to Section II (4) of the Practice Direction which gives the courts the power to impose sanctions on the parties if they fail to comply with the direction, including failing to respond to this letter before the action. I look forward to hearing from you within the next 7 days, should I not receive a response to my letter within this time frame then I anticipate that court action with be commenced with no further reference to you.

Your sincerely,

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
If you did verbally agree a contract, a verbal contract is enforceable, but they cannot then unilaterally change the agreement of your contract by sending you something in writing.
Essentially the position is:
(i) They either agreed the verbal contract; or
(ii) The conversation was subject to contract until they gave you an opportunity to review the written agreement - in which case it has to be implied it was subject to contract.
I would say you have the following options:
- Ask for the recording - listen to what it says - and if they agree the original terms accept those:
- If they are suing you on the basis of the written terms then I think you would have a strong defence to say they unilaterally changed the contract terms and therefore the written terms are not accepted.
I would write to them first and ask them which terms they want to enforce - the written ones or the verbal ones?
Did they tell you they would record the conversation?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks AJ - not sure I totally understand your response. Are you saying that because in their power of attorney document I received on the 4th June there was no amount stated (and because of that I responded saying the same but they never updated that document) and it does not align to what we verbally agreed that this is your 'unilateral change' you have mentioned?

The following is something I did not understand in your response above:

listen to what it says - and if they agree the original terms accept those:

can you please explain further this comment?



Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
If they are trying to enforce what you agreed over the phone, then I think they have a claim against you.
If they are trying to change the terms there claim is unlikely to succeed.
A unilateral change is to your agreement is essentially one they are forcing on you without your consent or agreement.
Do you still want to sell the licence plate?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks AJ- My view is that after they sent me the documents (I received 2 identical emails with 2 attachments which were a) Power of Attorney (where as I mentioned there is no mention of the amount) and b) a checklist of documents I should sign & return).

What todays letter says, is that I received a 'confirmation of sale' but I am unsure what this actually means i.e. I don't know if this is in the form of a document or not in which case I never received such a thing. On this basis I started to have doubts that this was a legitimate transaction and therefore decided not to proceed and subsequently ignored their calls. I no longer wish to sell the number plate.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Verbal agreement on the phone is not supported by documents that state what was discussed. Am I obliged to commit to what was verbally agreed? (selling a private number plate)
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What else would you like to know please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi- given that I responded to the company via email that said their documents they provided to me does not show the amount I agreed to sell the private plate and they never responded I believe that the verbal agreement is void?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I have received a letter saying a company will take me to court as I entered into a verbal contract to sell a private number plate through them. They sent documents via email which I never signed but responded to them twice that the documents did not show what we verbally agreed was the value I would sell it for. Now they say I am in breach of contract and intend to pursue it via the courts. Surely if I have not signed a document that has no reference to cost we agreed on then I am not liable?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
You are correct. if the verbal agreement was subject to contract, that is for documents to be signed and you never did, then you can argue there has been NO contract.
It was verbal only and if you did not sign anything you can't be bound. Further in order to have a contract there has to be an intention to create legal relations. Given you did not sign the documents there was no intent to create legal relations.
So no, there is no contract and they can't sue for it.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?