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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I sent a contract out which contained my commission rate of

Customer Question

I sent a contract out which contained my commission rate of 25% in it and the contract was returned by my client, signed. Unfortunately, the cover letter that I sent had a rate of 10%, written in error and now, some months after I delivered the contract in full, my client is demanding the return of 15% commission.
I apologised for the error in the covering letter but asked him why he did not read the contract before signing it, sending it back and not raising this issue at any point until after the contract was completed.
Which is relevant in law - the cover letter or the contract?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
will he not accept it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has engaged a solicitor who has written asking for the balance back
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Jo, are you still there?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Just to be clear the contract that was signed referred to 10%?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The contract stated 25% but the covering letter stated 10%
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you need to see a copy of the contract, covering letter and solicitors letter?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist you. Does the contract have an entire agreement clause? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Not sure of the protocol here but I was in conversation with another solicitor but have heard nothing from her for several hours and not had an answer so I take it that it is ok to now converse with you?I'm not sure what an entire agreement clause is - do you want to see a copy of the contract?Kind regards,Dianne
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. Jo asked me to assist you with this because I am commercial and corporate lawyer. Please kindly send me a copy of the contract? Did you ever previously agree a 25% commission? Is the client a consumer or business? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Thank you. I do not remember verbally discussing this and there is nothing in writing. I will attach a copy of the contract and the covering letter where I made the mistake on the %.Kind regards,Dianne
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Hope you got the files ok. I am not registered as a business but I do probate genealogy and the client was a member of the public I approached so it is not business to business but could be considered business to personal - I'm not sure? As it was a contract, which I fulfilled in full, I suppose it is business?Kind regards,Dianne
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
I will review this tonight and revert to you as soon as possible.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.
I will revert to you as soon as possible.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Do you have an answer for me yet please?Kind regards,Dianne
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
My apologies for the delay.
I have reviewed the documents. My main issue is how this would look as evidence in court - did the matter turn out not to be as straight forward as you anticipated?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,When I contacted Mr Colquhoun, he had not been contacted by any other company and, as the deceased was his brother, I offered him the information for claiming the estate and was not going to charge him but he wanted me to go ahead. I sent him out the letter and contract straight away. At that time, there was no knowledge of any value to the estate (normally a grant of letters of administration is taken out for estates worth more than £5000 but there was none and I explained that the estate was probably of low value. It is also not possible to judge at the start how complicated or expensive it can be to compile a case for the Treasury Solicitor - sometimes you can spend over £100 in certificates, let alone all the admin time and the estate turns out to be worth about £1000 so I would never offer 10% as I would be out of pocket. I have a draft letter for when 10% could be used as a finders fee for passing on the information but without doing all of the research and admin and this is what I used in error.
Some companies will charge up to 40% and the industry standard is 25% + VAT. I charge 25% without VAT. When solicitors engage a probate company, the value of the estate is often known and a lower % can be negotiated but this is not the case with smaller estates of unknown value.
I did all of the work for this case which involved English research, applying for the grant, travelling to a solicitors in order to get a Power of Attorney signed etc. Mr Colquhoun was delighted with my work as I kept him informed of progress on a regular basis.
I can show evidence that all of my cases are for 25% commission.I accept that I made an error on the covering letter but surely the onus is on Mr Colquhoun to read the contract first? If he had brought up this matter beforehand, I would never have taken on all the work but would just have advised him of what to do. Now, after I have done all the work for him, I am being asked to reimburse a large sum.Kind regards,Dianne
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. When you realised the matter was not going to straight forward did you ever update him and state that you would need to do more work and incur more expense? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,Yes, I have an extensive email trail giving progress reports and explaining all the work that needed to be done. I can show copies of all the emails and also one from him thanking me for the updates!I also have files for all my cases which show that they have all been done at 25%.Kind regards,Dianne

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