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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I signed a contract in January 2010 for a company to negotiate

Customer Question

I signed a contract in January 2010 for a company to negotiate compensation on my behalf with the National Grid for electricity pylons that go over my land.
They negotiated a figure of £40k based upon a valuation of my property of £760k. I told them it was not acceptable and my property was worth at least £950k and that I was cancelling the contract through their inefficiency.
They tell me I cannot cancel the contract and I cannot utilise another agent to negotiate on my behalf.
Surely there must be a time limitation on the contract and approaching 4 years should see it unenforceable?
Neil Carr
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.
Alex Watts : Did you sign a document, if so what does it say about cancellationz.
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

Yes I did sign an agreement but there is nothing in it about cancellation

Alex Watts : Thank you. When they say you can not cancel on what basis do they say you are unable to do so please?
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :


JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

This is the response from their lawyer back in November 2011.

JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

We are in receipt of your e-mail directed to our client on the 7th October in which you claim that the Agreement is unenforceable owing to its restrictive content. You further refer to our client’s incompetence in respect of the valuation.

We write to notify you that the Agreement formed on the 29th July 2010 represents a binding Agreement. Although you have confirmed that you wish to terminate the Agreement, you will note that under our client’s terms of business, you will be responsible for settlement of our client’s professional charges which will be 15% of any monies received from National Grid.

In respect of the ‘incompetent’ valuation you will note that this has at all times been agreed with you. You confirmed your express agreement to the valuation of £760,000 to Mr Walton on the 19th July 2010. Your claims for an incompetent valuation are unsubstantiated and unfounded.

You will remain liable for our client’s professional charges. The spurious points that you have raised in your e-mail will not be capable of forming a Defence which will stand in a Court of law.

We hereby warn you that should you fail to settle our client’s professional charges then County Court proceedings will be issued against you and at which time we will seek to recover our client’s full legal costs, Court fees and interest in addition to charges.

JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

What I agreed to was the £40k settlement but at the time I was not aware that it had been based upon a valuation of £760k.

Alex Watts : They mention 15% on their terms is that right?
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

Yes. 15% of any monies received from National Grid. But I did not accept the offer and no settlement has ever been reached.

Alex Watts : How was the offer made to you? And you confirm that you did not accept it?
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

The offer was made by telephone. I originally accepted it but rejected it when I found the valuation used

Alex Watts : Did you accept by telephone please? How long after did you try and reject it?
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

Days weeks maybe

Alex Watts : Did you accept by telephone please?
JACUSTOMER-vxg2we3k- :

Yes by telephone

Alex Watts :

Its bad news then I am afraid - this is because there is a legally binding contract. If the offer was made by telephone and you accepted it by telephone then at that point the contract is formed.

Alex Watts :

This means you have entered into a legally binding contract with them for the £760k at 15%.

Alex Watts :

It makes no difference whether or not they are poor, you can not cancel anytime later outside 7 days.

Alex Watts :

Therefore if it was longer than 7 days then under the law you can not cancel and you are bound.

Alex Watts :

If it went to Court and you told the Judge you tried to cancel any defence you had would fail.

Alex Watts :

Your only option would be to sue them for breach of contract in that they failed to act with all reasonable skill and care pursuant to Section 13 of the Sale and Supply of Goods And Services Act 1982.

Alex Watts :

If you can show they did not act with all reasonable skill and care then you could sue for any future losses.

Alex Watts :

But what you can not do is cancel the contract because you are legally bound.

Alex Watts :

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

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question, please take a moment before you leave and rate my service, which I hope has been excellent, it only takes a second and is an important part of the process. Otherwise if you need more information or help then please click reply. Alex