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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am a professional photographer, usually specialising in

Resolved Question:

I am a professional photographer, usually specialising in weddings. When a client wants my services they pay a booking fee with the balance due 30days before the event. On my contract it clearly states if they cancel within 30 days of the event that I am able to recover 100% of the agreed fee. What happens if a client pays a booking fee, says that they have posted the agreement (via SMS text message) but the contract goes missing in the post? I won't realise this until when the balance is due, at which point the client says, sorry she's not getting married any more and doesn't require my services, that her 'ex' was meant to deal with the cancellation. Can I take her to court, even if I don't have the signed contract, although I have a complete SMS conversation of full details of what she will be getting, also the fact she confirmed that the contract had been sent to me.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

did she cancel before the 30 days?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No, it's only the fact that I contact all wedding clients around one month before the event to arrange to have another meeting with them and answer any last minute questions. I did this and she said 'Hi matthew, sorry shaun was supposed to contact you to inform you that the wedding is no longer going ahead as we separated about 5 months ago due to him having an affair. He assured me that he had informed you so i apologise on his behalf.'
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

It does depend what has been agreed in the text communication.

However you can rely upon text messages as the basis of the contract. You don't need signed writing. It is just easier to prove what you allege if you do have it in signed writing.

That said, actually the term you rely on assist them more than you. If you have a contract then they are bound. If they want to cancel otherwise than in the contract that you agree then they are liable for your loss and, in fact, 30 days from the events you may well not be able to find another booking to occupy your services. If your contract allows them to cancel without penalty 30 days before the events then it is in their interests rather than yours that the signed writing is received.

On your specific point though you are entitled to rely upon the text messages.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I suppose they can't claim to have not seen or understood the terms and conditions if the details of the BACs transfer for the paid holding fee is on the same page, just above cancellation details , nor can they claim that the contract is void since I can't produce a signed copy?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

They can't claim the contract is void.

What they might be able to do is void certain terms unless the text messages speciflcally refer to them but all that would mean is that they had no cancellation rights at all which is clearly not in their interests.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The text message from myself actually says balance due 30 days before event.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How do I proceed from this point onwards?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

Well, then you can rely on it.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
You've been exceptionally helpful! One last question, should I knock off the cost price(trade price to me) of the album that they were going to have since this is an outlay that I won't have to make?
Thanks :D
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

Well, it depends.

If you said they can cancel within 30 days of the event then they can cancel consequence free.

If they did not cancel then you have a claim for the sum of your loss. If this isn't a loss incurred then it should b knocked off.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks, that's what I thought!
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.

All the best.

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