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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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We are a small business and have used Veolia disposal.

Customer Question

we are a small business and have used Veolia for waste disposal. Unhappy with their service for lots of reasons, we decided to change supplier. Veolia now want us to pay for the next 6 months saying we should have given them 3 months notice of termination prior to the annual commencement date? I was not aware that the contract rolled over for a further 12 months, and felt that once our 12 month contract was up it would be a monthly rolling contract. They now want a large sum from us. Is it correct that we can be bound into another 12 months with them?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 11 months ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. At the time you entered into the Agreement with them were you given a contract which set out the contract terms including the notice period?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The contract was transferred into the new company following the closure of the previous company and they sent out a new 12 month contract in the new company name. I have since seen this (I did not deal with the transfer, that was a previous member of staff) and it does have the clause in about carrying the contract forward in 12 monthly terms. We have undergone drastic changes throughout the business and are trying to grow, Veolia were very expensive and their service was no where near as good as their competition, hence the need for change?
Expert:  Jenny replied 11 months ago.
Hi Wendy it is a difficult situation. The problem is that in a business to business contract you are deemed to have read the small print and are bound by any terms concerning notice (no matter how onerous). This means that unless you can show that they are in breach of contract by failing to provide the service as described in the contract, you will be bound by the notice period. The fact that you can find the service cheaper elsewhere does not unfortunately change this position. I realise this is not the answer you wanted to receive but it would be unfair of me to give you false information. If you have any further questions please 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: replied 11 months ago.
Is there really no way that you can get out of these onerous contracts though? I can't believe that you have to continue with a supplier for another 12 months if you don't want them, and for us to have had to cancel in April, 3 months prior to the commencement date? It is surely press ganging people unwillingly into another 12 months?
Expert:  Jenny replied 11 months ago.
Sorry I've just seen your additional question. When you say the contract transferred to your company are the notice terms different from the original contract?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No I don't believe so. My issue is that I did not realise that they had issued a new contract at all, I thought that we had just changed the bank details as we always intended to look into the value of the contract and potentially move if we couldn't get an improvement. To be fair though the clause is extremely difficult to understand and the Director himself who had signed the contract fully believed that we would only need to pay 2 months to cancel. It just seems so unfair to be bound into contracts after the first 12 months term is up? Small businesses such as ours are going to be caught out time and again as they do not have the resources to be constantly reviewing contracts. Businesses should be able to move to more competitive suppliers whenever they choose and not just once every 12 months?
Expert:  Jenny replied 11 months ago.
Unfortunately businesses are not free to move if they have entered into onerous contracts and not read the terms. What I am unclear on is how they have purported to transfer a contract from one business to another in the first place? Is there a clause in the contract that allows them to do this?

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