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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In 2009 I agreed verbally with a burner stove supplier to

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In 2009 I agreed verbally with a wood burner stove supplier to provide a translation of the German instructions in return for one of the stoves which he was selling for £899.
I provided the translation and the supplier subsequently emailed me that the translation was 'acceptable' and he 'owed me a stove'. (There was in the meantime an email exchange where he agreed to provide a different stove I preferred)
Since then there has been a 6 year hiatus as I have been very preoccupied with other stuff.
I have recently emailed the supplier who is still very much in business and still selling same stove for £649. He has emailed the following. Is he right the contract is void due to the time delay although he previously agreed I satisfactorily carried out my side?
It’s taken me a while to come back to you as your request does come somewhat out of the blue and I had completely forgotten about it, and to be honest I am slightly incredulous about it.
Bearing in mind that contracts become legally void after a certain period of time and that we are therefore under no obligation to give you a stove, and given that costs and exchange rates have changed greatly in the last 7 years; I am, however, prepared to offer you the L51LR for £300.00 including delivery. This has to be a final offer and will have to be taken up in the next 7 days.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

What is it you want to achieve ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The exchange rate in 2009 was I think 1.12 Eur per GBP, although the agreement was for the free stove not a specific amount.
He agrees there was a contract. No time limit was discussed regarding supply of the stove. I can't see there would be any disadvantage to him or advantage to me in his supplying the stove now and his argument about exchange rates makes no sense and in any case it would seem to his advantage.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want to know if the supplier is correct that he can now legally avoid supplying the stove, his side of the bargain, although I performed my side of the contract to his satisfaction back in 2009 (the translation German to English) on the basis that the contract is void due to the time delay since I performed to his satisfaction. I suppose I want to know if he is right that he can renege on his side of the bargain after I have performed to his satisfaction.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Just to be clear this agreement was back in 2009?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
following a verbal agreement in 2009 I supplied the translation in 2009 and on 7 May 2009 the dealer emailed me that 'the translation is acceptable and I owe you a stove'. I had further emails with supplier in 2011 when he agreed to supply me with alternative stoves to the stove originally agreed but I did not follow this through due to personal circumstances. There was never any suggestion of a time limit when I needed to demand stove by.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Ok - its bad news I am afraid. You had 6 years from 2009 to bring a claim for breach of contract.

As its over this time sadly it is statue barred under the Limitation Act 1980

You cant sue or take action because of the time that has elapsed.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
3 Supplementary Questions1. There was no time limit set in 2009 as to when the wood burner stove would or should be supplied to me by. I have not previously asked for the stove to be sent to me. The supplier has not previously refused to send it to me. I have only 2 weeks ago called in the supply. Is the breach of contract for purpose of the Limitation Act 1980 not taken from the time when I ask for the stove to be supplied, ie ca 2 weeks ago?2. Is the contract actually 'void' as the dealer tells me, or is the situation that he is legally in breach of the contract, but I am unable to sue for breach due to 6 year limitation?3. Is his offer (email copied below) to supply an equivalent stove to that agreed but for me to pay £300 instead of his usual £699 price of any bearing'Bearing in mind that contracts become legally void after a certain period of time and that we are therefore under no obligation to give you a stove, and given that costs and exchange rates have changed greatly in the last 7 years; I am, however, prepared to offer you the L51LR for £300.00 including delivery. This has to be a final offer and will have to be taken up in the next 7 days.'
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

1. No I think it dates back to 2009 and I dont think you can claim. But if you want then I will outline the procedure.

You need to write and set out your losses and request compensation within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not compesnate you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n1-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just found the paragraph I copy below which is 6th para from following link. http://www.out-law.com/en/topics/projects--construction/construction-claims/limitation-periods-under-english-law/Unless otherwise stipulated, these time periods begin either on the date on which the breach of contract occurred, or the date the negligent act or omission occurred. This is known as the date of accrual. The limitation period does not run from the date of the contract itself. It is common to refer to actions which fall outside of these statutory time limits as being 'time barred'.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Yes its date of breach.

I have outlined the process above of what you need to do to seek action.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there is no reasonable doubt on the basis of the facts I have given that the date of breach is the dealers email of yesterday which declared the contract void due to time lapse?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Potentially yes. Its open to argument and I think the dealer may run the statute barred defence.

Does that clarify? Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dealer last accepted liability in Sept 2011 so suppose statute barred defence would not work until Sept 2017?But finally are there any grounds to believe the dealer's assertion that ('Bearing in mind that contracts become legally void after a certain period of time') this contract may be void has any merit?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Correct 2017 would seem a reasonable argument.

No it does not come void - does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today please, otherwise the site does not credit me for the time spent with you today. Thanks and good luck. Alex

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