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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14820
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I’m a sole trader, service provider and a client entered

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I’m a sole trader, service provider and a client entered into an agreeemnt in may 2019 and paid a deposit. Since then she has been ill and I have chased her for information to which I was ignored. She has now come back and wants to restart the contract. The problem is everything has now gone up in price since Covid and I want to know if she is entitled to her deposit back and if I can raise the prices
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: All I have said is that I will honour doing the work but I cannot honour doing the prices. I’m currently off Ill but she just expects me to jump as and when she wants
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

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

The pandemic has impacted many contracts including yours. If your contract had a term (known as a "force majeure" term), which includes wording such as "pandemic" or "outbreak" for example - this lets you both pause the contract for the duration of the disruption.
If there is no such clause then the contract is void as it is frustrated - as one or both of you cannot comply with the terms originally agreed. You can both agree to pause this (you have to both agree to this). If not then she cannot simply come back and restart the contract with the original terms.
So it would be your choice whether to raise prices now - you can do as the original contract is void. She can't just expect you to pander to her demands either - this is a two-sided contract and not biased in her favour. A deposit is also a down-payment however note if the court accepts the contract was void due to Covid, she should have her deposit back otherwise there would be an argument that you profited from the situation. And a void contract is as if it was never valid - meaning any monies which changed hands should be repaid. Unless your contract specifically allows you to retain it even in this situation but even then, there may be a risk the terms would be found to be inherently unfair and therefore void.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Ok thank you

My pleasure. I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I haven’t received an answer

Hi, I posted it at 5.54pm, as follows :
"The pandemic has impacted many contracts including yours. If your contract had a term (known as a "force majeure" term), which includes wording such as "pandemic" or "outbreak" for example - this lets you both pause the contract for the duration of the disruption.
If there is no such clause then the contract is void as it is frustrated - as one or both of you cannot comply with the terms originally agreed. You can both agree to pause this (you have to both agree to this). If not then she cannot simply come back and restart the contract with the original terms.
So it would be your choice whether to raise prices now - you can do as the original contract is void. She can't just expect you to pander to her demands either - this is a two-sided contract and not biased in her favour. A deposit is also a down-payment however note if the court accepts the contract was void due to Covid, she should have her deposit back otherwise there would be an argument that you profited from the situation. And a void contract is as if it was never valid - meaning any monies which changed hands should be repaid. Unless your contract specifically allows you to retain it even in this situation but even then, there may be a risk the terms would be found to be inherently unfair and therefore void."

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
What if I had started some work like sorting the fabric, discussing with the factory and I also too a £500 deposit for deposit of goods. Which I said would only be refunded if she went ahead with production
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
She never gave me full information from the start so basically Covid didn’t matter
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I have been waiting2.5 years for information from her

OK, thanks, ***** ***** case she did not really help and give you the information needed to allow you to carry out your side of the contract. You would be justified in retaining the deposit given breach of contract on her part. Two and a half years is too long and I am sure the court would agree if she tried to sue for her money back.

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Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you that’s really helped