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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73906
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My client has paid me 75% of advance based on my invoice and

Customer Question

My client has paid me 75% of advance based on my invoice and later cancelled the work just before day due to pandemic now asking for the advance back, which we already engaged what shall I do? Please let me know. Thanks
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have sent an email with 25% payment request as our service charge was not paid though we were working since we got the work confirmation. It's been a year after they are threatening me saying will send a legal notice
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Please ask
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

What is your cancellation policy and at what point was the client made aware of this?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
I did not sign any contract, simple an invoice was sent and the conditions were mentioned below : **This Above Cost is Estimated without Food,Snacks and Venue Charge.
**75% amount needs to be paid with job confirmation.
**Rest 25% Amount Should Be Given 1st Days of the event
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. Can I check what the services were for and how the pandemic affected them, prompting the customer to cancel?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
It was an Event, we do provide event management service. We were given a job to develop a pavilion design and to build the pavilion/stall, manage and dismantle and all the related service. We hire technicians and project manager for those work. We got a WhatsApp cancellation notice on a single line without further or formal details. We then sent an invoice claiming 25% of the rest of the amount and after almost one year got an email with a legal threat. I hope you are clear now. Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. If you had entered into an agreement for the supply of services and the customer cancelled at the last minute, even without a contract, you can argue that they have acted in breach of contract by not giving you at least a reasonable notice to allow you to reduce your costs and losses. They could therefore be liable for such costs, specifically if you could not avoid them or reduced them.

Whilst they may try and use the pandemic as a reason for the cancellation, that does not mean you have t be left out of pocket as a result and whilst you cannot charge them for basic or usual expense of running a business mike administrative costs, you can make them liable for extra/additional costs, which you have paid for their booking and which you cannot cancel, or get back.

As far as their threats are concerned, whilst a party can make demands for payment, instruct debt collectors or threaten legal action, it is important to note that they can only really force someone to pay if they actually go to court, submit a claim and are successful with it.

There is, however, no guarantee that they will actually ever go that far. Many people issue threats and demands, without ever having the intention of taking the matter to Court. This is done in the hope that the scare the other party into complying with their demands to avoid the risk of being taken to Court. However, until a formal notification of a Court claim has been issued, there is never a guarantee that a claim will actually be made and it could always remain just a threat, rather than reality.

Even if a claim was made, due to the value of compensation sought, this matter would be assigned to the Small Claims Court. This is a relatively low-risk option because it is specifically aimed at the smaller, legally unrepresented parties. The costs of claiming are not that high, there is no need to have a lawyer and incur further costs as a result and even if a party loses the claim, they will not be liable to pay the other side’s legal fees. All they would have to pay is the court fees, which at most will be several hundred pounds and whatever the Court has decided should be paid to the claimant as a result of their original claim.

Also, once judgment has been issued, on the assumption you lose, the judgment is entered on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, where it will remain for 6 years. This is what is known as ‘having a CCJ’ and can impact your credit rating. However, if payment of the judgment is made within one month, the record will be removed from the Register and will no longer be visible. If payment is made after one month has passed, it will still remain on the Register for the 6 years, but will be marked as ‘satisfied’.

To conclude, it is possible to wait and see how far the other side is willing to take this before deciding on how to respond and even if a claim is made, it is possible to proceed and defend the claim in the knowledge that the financial risks of doing so will not be astronomically high and if any judgment made against you is paid within a month, there will be no further repercussions.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Dear Ben, Thanks for your cordial reply. It seems helpful. Thanks a lot
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 18 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best