This contractor had a signed contract with the agency – yet they still ditched her. Here’s her story.
We received this from Gemma (let’s call her). See what you think. Add your advice if you have it.
I live in London and they offered me a 6 month contract with a company in Spain.
So, I signed the paperwork returned it all over 10 days ago.
I rented out my London flat to start on the 4th July.
On the 1st July the Friday before I was due to start the client called the agency to say that they are withdrawing from the contract.
Flights and Accommodation
I booked hotel accommodation and flights on 30 June and as there is a 100% cancellation charge I lose all the money for them.
My agent has not put anything in writing and has only said that he will try and negotiate with the client getting the money I spent back, but so far I have received nothing.
I decided I might as well travel to Spain and stay in hotel for 2 week duration but am now in serious debt.
Do I have a leg to stand on at all?
Grateful for any advice or thoughts on this.
Dr. McLaughlin’s Contractor Surgery
It all depends on your contract Gemma.
I would presume that your contract is with the agency rather than the end client.
Therefore, I should think that you would have to chase the agency for the money rather than the end client.
I wouldn’t think that it would be worthwhile for the agency to chase up the money.
After all they haven’t lost anything except a commission.
They may even not have lost any commission if the company took someone from them in your place.
Contract is With Agency
In any case the agency wouldn’t want to upset a current or potential client with whom they have, or would like to have, a good relationship.
The best scenario for them would be for you to just quietly go away and stop asking for compensation.
It is the agency that owes you money and not the client (presuming that your contract is with the agency).
The client will owe the agency the money as they have the contract with them.
You haven’t specified what was in the contract and the terms.
If, for instance, there is a 4 weeks’ notice clause in it then they would owe you 4 weeks money.
They may owe you more if they haven’t officially given you notice.
As regards the travel costs you took those on because you had a contract with the agency which had a contract with the company.
Broke the Contract
If they broke the contract then you would probably be entitled to compensation for losses incurred including the costs of letting out your flat.
It might be an idea to contact the firm and tell them that you are out of pocket for the air fare.
They might be sympathetic and pay as it is not the person dealing with it’s own money.
Getting Compensation from Agency
The most important thing to do is:-
- Give the agency a deadline for getting compensation for you letting them know that you will be taking action to recover it after that deadline.
- Speak to a solicitor and get a solicitor’s letter sent to the agency demanding to be compensated. This doesn’t cost too much, although you might want to get it done by one from outside London who will be cheaper (maybe £100)
Very often the agency will capitulate as they don’t want the trouble.
Small Claims Court
Make sure that you send it to the agent you dealt with, with copies to the head of the company and maybe the Finance Director.
This has a good chance of working but if it doesn’t you can always go to the Small Claims Court.
The main thing is not t expect the agency to go chasing this up for you.
It is not in their interest to do so as it may spoil the relationship with the client.
However, it all depends on the content of the contract you have signed.
If the agency have signed up to something then you should keep them to it.
A signed contract is a signed contract and legally enforcable.
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