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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a contract with an HR firm which I didn't realise when

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I have a contract with an HR firm which I didn't realise when I wished to change to a more local company. I went ahead & took out a contract with the new company and am now tied into both. I took over the business when my husband passed away in 2011 and the general manager had signed the previous contract on the firms behalf in 2009. I had no knowledge of this and only when I wanted to cancel it was I told that we had signed for auto renewal of the contract for 5 years unless we had given 6 months notice in writing and sent recorded delivery. I have now been paying both companies for the past year. I appreciate that the document is legal but I do not want to be paying for a service I am not going to use for the next 4 years. I could possibly make them an offer but they may refuse. I do not want to leave the new firm.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What does the contract say about termination please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The agreement shall commence on the Start Date and shall continue for the Contract Period and automatically renew thereafter for successive Contract Periods on the same fee structure unless or terminated by either party giving to the other not less than six months written notice by recorded delivery such notice to expire at the end of the initial Contract Period or any subsequent Contract Period.
Can't you just give 6 months notice?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The contract period is for 60 months signed on 3 November 2009. We did not cancel giving 6 months notice (because I was not aware of the contract and there was no reminder) and it has auto renewed from 3 November 2014 for a further 60 months.
You could potentially argue that the term is unfair. You could say the clause amounts to a penalty which is illegal.
Its a shame its for 5 years and automatically renews for the same period. If any claim is less than £10,000 it would be a small claim anyway and therefore you wouldnt need a lawyer if it went to Court.
You could argue that it does not give a genuine pre-estimate of loss. If anything at most they can claim loss of profit only and not loss of income.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They only tell me that this is a legal document valid until 2019. The costs are £4,300 pa & so will amount to £21,500. This is clearly stated on the contract. My only way out is to plead ignorance of the contract (which is true). Is there any mileage in the fact that the contract was signed when my husband owned the business as a sole trader and the business is now owned by myself as a limited company?
Ah yes. But they could then sue your husband. Therefore there is no contract with the Ltd company.
You would argue that.
Does that help?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
That would be difficult as he passed away in 2011 or is that your point?
Yes that was my point exactly.
Therefore there is no contract between you and them - they can't hold you to it.
Does that clarify?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It was signed by the General Manager and she is still the General Manager.
OK - that makes no difference. It was with your late husband NOT the Ltd co.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you - I think I did try this with them before but I shall now reiterate it with confidence.
Good luck
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