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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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My wife is in dispute with a shop that agreed to sell

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My wife is in dispute with a shop that agreed to sell her goods (designer knitwear) on her behalf. She supplied them with the goods, but they started selling them at a lower price than was agreed. When she asked for the goods to be returned, they returned only a portion of them. They claimed that they could not find the remaining stock. The value of the goods is around £1,000. What is the best way to deal with this situation and get the money we are owed?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why does she want them to be returned?
Are they suggesting that she be paid less than agreed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The shop was selling the goods at less than was agreed, so my wife decided she wanted the remaining stock back. We got some back, but not all. The shop said they couldn't find the remaining stock. I would have thought them liable for the value of what they lost.

But what is her contractual arrangement with them?
What was she due to be paid? If it is an agreed price then she should still get that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I'm Ying, the wife.

I would like to tell you the whole story.

The shop owner contacted me on 2012 Feb 5th, she invited me to stock my garment in her shop. The shop was called ‘THEM’, she co-owned the shop with other girl. I sent her my stock and signed an agreement and paid a membership fee. The agreement was that when the garment sold, I got 55% of the retail price and the shop kept 45%. After 2 months, she asked me to take the stock back because the shop was going to close. I asked her to return the membership fee, she said it was non refundable.

At same month April 18, she contacted me via facebook again said she was setting up the shop in the same place but different name as a sole trader and invited me to send her my stock. In September, I delivered 34 garments to her shop in person. She asked me to used the submission form with the ‘THEM’ title for the retail prices, style number, descriptions, quantities, washing instruction etc... One form for her and another one for myself. She said I don’t need to pay the membership fee and signed the agreement anymore because I have already done so.

In 2013 Jan 23, she asked me to send her some more stock by email, so I sent 12 pieces by post, I attached the submission form with the parcel and also informed her when I posted by email.

2013 Feb 6, she emailed me to ask if I can send her more designs. There was nothing suitable for her shop.

2013 Oct 29, she emailed me to asked me to send some winter pieces, I sent her 12 pieces by post on Nov 5, I attached the form (designed by myself with pictures) and also emailed her the form and told her when I posted.

2014 Jan 5, she emailed me said she will re-decorate the shop and would like to have more design from me, then I sent her my design lookbook, she asked me to send her the new design. I sent her the 16 pieces new design on Jan 26 by post with price list attached in the box, I also emailed her the form when I posted.

I received 8 receipts of sales up to 2014 Jan

Since 2014 Jan to Dec, I did not received any sale from the shop, I only received an email 2014 Aug to ask all the designers to promote the shop because the sales were very low.

2014 Dec, I sent an email to ask the shop to return my stock because there was no sale for such long time. The shop owner replied she was going to send me the receipt of Nov. When I saw the receipt, I found two items was sold for prices that I never gave to her, also she underpaid. On Jan, I received another sales receipt; one of the items was underpaid. She should pay me £194.15 but she only paid me £176.

2015 April 4, she emailed me the receipt and asked me to send her more new designs. I found one of the items was underpaid. The retail price should be £299.5 but she only sold it as £170. I emailed her and she revised the first wrong payment but didn’t give the full payment for the second item, she claimed she had to do some discount to promote my sales. I emailed her to tell her if she wants to sell my stock in different price she should ask me first. She ignored the email.

April 9 I emailed her about mistake on the receipt I received on Dec 2014, she ignored this until one week later when I asked her again, said she said she will pay when she sends me the next sale receipt.

I felt the owner has become very dishonest and decided to take my stock back. I called her Aug 28, she replied me the text message, and I called her again told her I would like to have my stock back. I asked her again about the wrong receipt, she said she will pay me but so far I haven’t been paid.

2015 June 2, I received the returned stock, I found there were many pieces missing. Also I saw some of her price tags on garments were totally different prices to those that I gave to her. So I called her again at 11:47, no answer then I left voice message, June 12, I called her at 16:27, 13.52, 13:42, no answer, I left voice message. June 13, I called 13:10

June 15, I called her at 12:55, and sent a text message. I also called her with my landline but she never answered her phone.

I emailed her on June 16 told her around 14 pieces were missing. She replied me at same day said she will double check.

I have waited for one week did not hear anything from her. I sent her 2 emails and called her on June 22nd, but no answer. I called her at June 29, 11:04 with my mobile phone and landline many times, she did not answer but sent me a email. She said she found a remaining 3 pieces and will post them to me but she did not think they have the other stock. I was really angry and I said the reason I took the stock back because she continued trying to pay me less. I paid membership fee and signed the agreement, she has to pay for the missing garments.

She said I did not sign /send any submission fee nor did I sign any agreement with the current shop. All my garments have been sent without any proof of stock control, ‘THEM’ was owned by her friend, she was not the owner. The current shop is totally different business, so I never signed any agreement when I sent her my stock. She said she never ignored my phone calls because she never had any phone calls from me, she will send my remaining stock if she found them. She also said my stock could have been lost in the post when I sent them to her.

I said the reason I didn’t sign any agreement with the new shop because she said I didn’t need as I have already signed. I also asked her 2 questions: 1---she asked me send her my stock 6 times, then why did she take my stock without sending me receipts as she knows she should do.

2----all my stock was sent to her with a list, otherwise how would she knew the retail prices. If anything was missing why did she never tell me when she received them.

She never replied to my questions. She returned the other 3 pieces back on July. (I calculated again) until today there are still 12 pieces missing and she still owes me the underpaid money, totally worth around £1000.

Thanks for the detail but all I really need to know is this?
But what is her contractual arrangement with them?
What was she due to be paid? If it is an agreed price then she should still get that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Here are two files attached one is the terms and conditions from THEM.

(Talent House East Midlands take a commission of 45% of the sale price of any product sold through the organisation. The remaining 55% of any sales made will be returned to the member.)

Another one is the detailed form of missing garments and underpaid money.(Totally £922.81)

missing pieces and underpaid

I'm really sorry this is proving so difficult.
All I need to know is this.
Did she agree to be paid a fixed price for the goods? That would be normal.
Or the sale price? That would be unusual but possible obviously.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She agreed to pay me 55% of the retail price when the garment sells.

Did you agree what the retail price was to be?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Because these garments are my design, every piece has my brand label on it . I decided how much the retail price for each style.

Are they selling for less than that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, from 2014 Dec to 2015 April, I received 3 sale receipts, at least 4 items were sold for less price. I also saw the price tags on the returned garment, they only put almost half price as my retail prices.

I suppose at this stage you don't have any idea what has been sold or how much has been lost?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I only know there are 12 pieces garment haven't been returned. I don't know if they have been sold.

It depends what you want to achieve here.
I don't think there is much point in demanding return of the garments at this stage. You could if you are intent seek an injunction at court but that would be more expensive than your other option.
The better option is just to sue for the difference between the agreed price and the fetched price. You agreed that they would be sold at X price and they are not complying. That gives rise to a conventional money claim.
An another option is to sue for that amount and the actual value of the goods they are withholding. Then it reduces into a small claims court sum which is cheaper and quicker to recover.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much for your reply. How much is going to be for the first option? Can I sue them for both? Can I get all my money back for the first option?

Do you have any idea what the difference is?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

not reallyTongue Out

The amount of the claim is going to be the decisive factor.
One way of determining it is to work out the amount you supplied, reduced by the amount that is left over and determine that is the sum of the sale. If that is wrong they can defend on that basis.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The amount they underpaid was only £36.53, but the value of the goods that they have not returned is £886.28, giving a total of £922.81.

I would like to get the money back for the unreturned stock more than the underpaid amount.

Before taking them through the courts I would like to send them a formal letter informing them of my intentions that might make them pay beforehand. Can you advise me on how to write this letter?

That wouldn't be very expensive to sue. Under £100.
Letters before action can be very informal. Just say that you say they owe you X and if they do not pay within 14 days of the date of the letter you will sue and seek costs and interest.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

ok, I will write a letter to them. I'd like to state under which law they would be taken to court. Can you tell me so I can put it in the letter?


It is just breach of contact.
But I wouldn't put that in the letter. If you want to you can refer to the agreement which was that it be sold at the agreed price.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Does the fact that I signed an agreement with the shop in which she was co-owner, but now she is a sole trader in a shop with a different name (in the same place) affect anything?

Not really. Come what may there was an agreement to sell at X amount and they did not.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, I will write a letter tomorrow and give them 14 days.


If they don't pay, we may contact you again about the next step.

No problem and all the best.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.


This is the letter I am going to send:


Dear Miss Walker,

After taking legal advice I have been instructed to write to you to inform you that if the amount I am owed by you is not paid within 14 days of receipt of this letter then I will be taking action against you in court. The amount owing is as follows:

Value of 12 missing pieces : £886.28

Amount underpaid for sold items: £36.53

Total amount owed: £922.81

If you return the missing pieces within 14 days then only the remaining £36.53 will be payable. My legal advisor has told me that the fact your shop has changed name is ***** ***** consequence to this case.


Is this ok?

Largely it is fine but this site is not legal advice and I cannot be described as an advisor. This is a question and answer site. Legal advice would suggest somebody had vision of the entire case which is not accurate.
Otherwise it is great.