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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50138
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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This matter is a dispute over 'introduction' fees ch

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Hello. This matter is a dispute over 'introduction' fees charged by a recruitment agency to my firm, a small accountancy public practice firm. Basically, they approached me out of the blue and found me an employee and charged an 'introduction' fee. I never signed any terms and conditions, even though they were sent to me by email, nor any written acceptance to them. The only negotiations had over their fee was a reduction to the percentage I would be charged (to 15% of the employee's salary). I am not suggesting that I am not liable because I never signed anything (as I am sure recruitment agencies have that covered); I am merely telling you in case it helps. Of course, it would be nice if you were to tell me I am not liable because I never signed anything, but I don't think it is as simple as that. Anyway, back to the case: the employee claimed to be a senior accountant of 15 years public practice experience, exactly what I was looking for. I did have my concerns about whether or not to offer the job in the first instance, based on nothing more than a hunch that something just seemed too good to be true about the candidate. I put these specific concerns to the recruitment agency, who raised them with the candidate before coming back to me, in effect telling me that my hunch must be wrong, persuading me to offer the position, which I did. Alas, 7 weeks into the employment (my suspicions growing for a couple of weeks), I began to realise that I was working with an accountant of no more than 3 years' experience; a massive gulf between someone of 15 years. Despite continued denials, the employee eventually admitted this, both verbally and by email, admitting also that he misled and lied to the recrutiment agency. I fired him at 8 weeks. Nonetheless, the agency insist that I still have to pay their fee; their terms being that it is payable in full no matter the length of time the person is employed, even if just 1 day! But I clearly did not get what I was led to believe I would be getting and I am loathed to pay several thousands of pound for this. Is there anyway out of this?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you think the agency are at fault for the error in experience claimed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Ben. I do not think that the agency are deliberately at fault. I guess they could only go by what the candidate told them.
Hello, first of all the fact that there were no signed terms does not mean you are not bound by them unfortunately. There is a think known as implied acceptance where you have implied to have accepted the terms through your actions, even if there is nothing in writing confirming that. For example, if you were given the terms in advance of doing business with the agency and knew these are what they work under, then you went ahead and used their services based on these terms, you are likely to be bund even if you never signed anything. What you would be arguing here is whether the agency should have done more to try and vet the candidate to ensure that what he had claimed is true. This comes down to what a reasonable agency in their position would have done and if there is an expectation on agencies in such situations to do more. This is the main thing you can challenge them on really. Apart from that if the terms were that a fee is payable for an introduction and as soon as the person starts to work for you, then you could indeed be liable for it unfortunately. To try and get away from it you would need to try and show that you were not issued with the terms before agreeing to use their services or that there was some breach of contract n their art which meant that the whole contract was void from the start, including this clause. As mentioned if it is common for agencies to vet their candidates more thoroughly you could try and rely on that as a form of negligence on their part and if unable to remove all of the fees, at least to get a further reduction. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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