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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I made a verbal contract with a utility company acting on

Customer Question

I made a verbal contract with a utility company acting on behalf of a pub business which failed and the utility company are chasing me for the outstanding amount ( at the time of the agreement the business was not a limited company ), I requested a copy of the transcript which I listened to and the utility company made an error on the start date which I corrected, I was wondering if the contract should have been re done rather than the utility company saying they would get this changed later which they said they would do. Is this contract binding
Kind Regards
Jon
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did you agree the contract?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it was jan 2013, we traded for 6 months then we changed to limited company and closed the business after 12 months ltd ( 18 months in total )
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. A verbal contract can be as legally binding as a written one. What is required is that there is an offer, an acceptance and consideration. So if one of you had made the other an offer and they then accepted that, a binding contract could have been created. The fact that the start date was wrong would not make the whole contract automatically void. Errors do happen and these would not operate in a way to make the whole contract unenforceable. The error can be corrected if it has been identified and both parties are aware of it and do not take action to terminate the contract by relying on its usual termination clauses.

So it is possible for the contract to still be legally binding even with the wrong date on it, if both parties knew that this was an error and had continued the contract on the understanding that it was wrong and was to be corrected. The fact that a new contract was not issued does not make the initial one unenforceable. In any event an implied contract could be in place even if the written one was not entirely correct. What is needed is a common understanding by both parties about the terms of the contract they were working under.

So in terms of the enforceability of the contract, there is every chance that it would be binding although only a court can decide with a degree of certainty if that is the case.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi BenSorry its been a while, you probably cant remember this one but since our conversation above I took your advice and agreed to the amount and made a re payment proposal which was totally disregarded and I have since received a court claim form with an extra amount of nearly a £ 1000.00 which is made up of interest / court fee and legal costs.I attach the last email paper trail below showing the last few emails that are relevant. I have spoken to a colleague of Faiths as she was on leave who advised me that the fees are part of the claim now and non negotiable and if I didnt pay in 14 days then a judgement will be made.My question is do they not need to acknowledge my offer and at least decline rather than go straight to court. Had they done this I would have found the money somewhere rather than pay the extra fees too. This is really unfair.Kind RegardsJon.Dear Mr CloughPlease be advised that this matter is being dealt with by our legal team.You would need to contact Faith Elliker-Smith on 0845(###) ###-####to discuss the matter further.Regards,
Claire Wall.From: Jon Clough [mailto***@******.***]
Sent: 03 August 2016 12:31
To: ***** ***** <*****@******.***>
Subject: Fw: Impending Legal Action - T.68387 / Contract Natural Gas Limited -V- Mr Jonathan CloughHi ClaireI have not received a reply to the email below but have received a court letter this morning. Are you unwilling to discuss a re payment plan.As I explained I am not in a good position financially but would prefer this not to go to court and pay additional costs.Kind RegardsJon CloughFrom: Jon CloughSent: Saturday, July 09, 2016 8:43 AMTo: ***** *****Subject: Re: Impending Legal Action - T.68387 / Contract Natural Gas Limited -V- Mr Jonathan CloughHi ClaireThank you for your reply. I have listened to the transcript and although at the time I was acting on behalf of the Chetham arms I didn't mention the Ltd company as this was not incorporated at the time of the call but payments to CNG were from the Ltd company bank account.I invested and lost a lot of money in this venture and still got other creditors including HMRC hovering over my head threatening CCJ's and court and I am close to throwing in the towel.I feel CNG should bear some of the responsibility as they had a direct debit set up that they could change amounts to suit the usage which they did but failed to take regular meter readings to monitor the account. The company was not making profits but there was always money in the bank which I can show so if we would not be having this conversation if CNG had kept to their part of the agreement. I don't know if this point has any relevance but i will be looking into it.What will it take to make this go away I don't have any spare money and no savings my wife is having a baby on Monday so she can't work, so this is not a good time for me financially.I have had a word with my dad and he is willing to lend me £1000 within 10 to 14 days if you would accept this as full and final settlement or make an offer to pay the full amount at £80 per month starting straight away.I am not in work for a few days from Monday but will be checking emails so please let me know how you wish to move forwards.Kind regardsJon CloughOn 7 Jul 2016, at 10:13, Claire Wall <*****@******.***> wrote:Dear JonPlease find attached a copy of the verbal contract done by yourself . At no point have you mentioned a limited company and therefore you remain personally liable for the full outstanding balance.Please also find attached a copy of the trading ledger. I have highlighted the payment that you claim to have made in January. The invoice was originally raised for £1471.87 and then credited off. A new invoice was then raised for £893.60 (due to a meter reading) .You have not made a payment of £1471.87.If full payment of £2,428.07 is not received by close of business on Monday 11th July 2016 then legal proceedings will be issued without any further notice.Yours faithfully,Claire
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately your question has expired as you must post any follow up queries within 7 days of the date of the original question. If you need any further help on this subject please post it as a new question on our site - you may start it with 'for Ben Jones' so that I get it and deal with it as fast as I can. Many thanks

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi BenI did this and it has disappeared into space, I have received emails from the site saying they will look into this but I am running out of time. I have already paid otherwise I would try again please can you see if you can fing my question. I would prefer you to answer as you know the case.Kind RegardsJon
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hi think I may have found it here:

http://professional.justanswer.com/chat/index/484c616c462c4f9382921ec8c7ffcda9

You are better off continuing with my colleague who posted on there as he would be better placed to advise you on procedural issues for the courts. Also I am engaged in tribunal for the rest of the week so may not have the time to reply fully. Hope that's ok and thanks