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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48514
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I need some advice for a breach of contract between my

Customer Question

hello,i need some advice for a breach of contract between my business and a london based business. i was approached by the founder who i have know for about 3 years asking if they paid a retainer could i do some work for them. he negotiated hard and we agreed terms that were much worse (for me) than i would normally accept. this was on the 18th october. We agreed that he would pay me £2000 a month based on a minimum of one month and 7.5% commission. The founder invited me to visit his office on the 19th which i did. I sent him a copy of the contract via email that included the terms we agreedOn the 19th he introduced me to several of his employees by saying "stuart is going to help us with sales" and furnished me with several samples of his products before i left. Before i departed we spoke about my deposit payment which he explained he wasnt able to offer and said he would confirm payment dates. I asked him when he wanted me to start and he agreed for me to start straight away.I started straight away and chased him for the signed contract. on the basis that his workload was so high he passed this to his colleague to review.I also chased for necessary resources i needed and the founder emailed me back and said he needed to get the contract sorted before i started. I emailed him back saying that i had started already as he had given me the go ahead to and his response was "ok fair point"His colleague wanted to change the core terms of the agreement to which i emailed back explaining that we had already agreed terms. The founder then emailed saying he wanted to get started as soon as possible so he said he would PAY for 2 weeks and if they didnt achieve sales of 200 units then he would know it didnt work out. On reciept of this i rang his colleague and spoke to him and the founder on speaker phone. I explained we had agreed a minimum of one month and that this was not subject to any target. reluctantly i agreed to include a target but given the founders words outlined above i was under no doubt that this was just a benchmark target to measure success.During the same conversation i explicitly asked about payment terms and the founder said that they were fine. This was , i believe, referring to the terms in my contract and the explanation i sent via whatsapp messaging. This was to be paid at the end of each month that i worked.on the 30th October his colleague emailed me saying he had gone through the contract and would get it signed and sent back to me the following day.On the 31st October i sent my first invoice for the period of 19th to 31st October and recieved a phone call from the founder saying he would not pay me , that he didnt give me authorisation to work and that i didnt hit my target yet.Despite trying to resolve the situation we have come to a stalemate.As the founder agreed to a minimum of one month payment based on no targets and agreed a start date then i would like to take legal steps to get this money. what is the best course of action ?
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
ok thanks... my query was in the question
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

So how much are you owed in total?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
163;2100
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
VAT
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
any idea when you will be coming back to me on this..
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience and sorry for the delay, my ipad battery ran out and i could not reconnect until now.

Regardless of whether there was a signed contract or not, a legally binding contract could have been formed simply through your verbal discussions and tour intentions. In law all that is needed is an offer, an acceptance and some consideration, all of which could have been satisfied before any signed contract was produced.

Due to the relatively low amount under dispute (in general terms), you could consider pursuing this through the small claims court as the risks of doing so are quitenlow, even if you lost.

So, if a party wishes to pursue another for a debt arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the debt in question. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

4. As an alternative to legal action a debtor can be issued with a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so would allow the creditor to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual) or wind up the company (if they are a business). The minimum amounts owed to be able to issue a statutory demand are £750 if the debtor is a company or £5,000 if they are an individual. For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you