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  1. #11

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    Your post indicates you seem to be struggling understanding what you are doing as a contractor to some extent. I could be wrong from one post but there are many things that don't sit right with me. For example...

    yet am feeling underappreciated, underworked and undervalued.
    Permies expect that, not contractors. As long as you invoice when you leave it will be irrelevant.

    Working conditions keep changing and despite my desire for extra challenges, I'm feeling ignored.
    If your working conditions are changing you've a number of problems, particularly IR35. The fact you want extra challenges and feel ignored plus the previous paragraph is screaming employee mentality. You are there to deliver what you were taken on to do. You appear to know this as you mention it later so why do you want more in this one? Contractors don't get extra challenges by default and expecting them every gig will leave you very disappointed. I'll be you are so far inside IR35 it's not true.

    All that said I am making an assumption that IR35 is even relevant here.

    In the meantime, the new client and agency didn't fulfil the terms of the new contract.
    Now before I've read any further I'd ask.. are you sure... CONTRACTUAL terms or have they dicked you about? It's pretty fundamental to your whole argument. At this point I'm willing to bet you've got this wrong but.....

    Two days before I was due to start, having already travelled up to the client premises once to deliver copies of my passport and the like, I felt I had to pull out as I had no accurate job description, had been contacted about attending onboarding sessions before the agreed start date (with no promise of remuneration and while I was currently working my notice for my current client), and had no joining instructions, despite asking for clarification several times and receiving assurance that this would be chased by the agent. I don't see how I could meet the "technical competence" requirements of the contract without being told what they were.
    So are any of these CONTRACTUAL obligations? You both signed up to these?

    The agent was livid (understandably) and has now sent me an invoice for loss of commission over the entire planned length of the contract (about 5 months), in short over 5k.
    It was going to happen at some point. First time I've seen one actually go as far as issue an invoice for it. The fact he's done it for the entire length of the contract is a shame as it's bulltulip. He get's a replacement so he only loses his time to recruit and a few weeks. Shame he got this wrong.

    There was a 2week/2week notice period on the new contract but they are seeking full recovery of their "losses" as I had breached the contract. I replied saying they had breached the contract but even if they hadn't, I had a 2 week notice period and their commission would be about the same as my incurred expenses so it feels fair to write it off on both sides.
    How have they breached contract? You hadn't agreed those expenses had you? That's part of doing business. You were never going to charge them back

    On the plus side, my offshore client managed to hastily arrange a new contract so I have been able to stay with them. I do feel remorseful about this whole situation.
    Bearing in mind your IR35 issues maybe not the biggest plus.

    Now, the new agency is threatening to go legal if I don't pay up. Oh, and if I don't pay up, they'll never to speak to me again. And they might add on other unexplained charges that they consider they might incur as a result of a tarnished reputation. Although if I do pay, they will forget about all that (can anyone say extortion?).
    Extortion my arse.

    What are the chances they will follow through with their threat? (I would gladly state my case in court, tbh.) Anyone else had this vindictive, personal behaviour from agents? Should I have even replied to their threats? I can't pretend to be unperturbed - I'm losing a lot of sleep over this.
    Who knows, IMO an agent following through for losses for contractors breaching was going to happen at some point. Someone was going to get fed up and try it. Would be interesting to see what happens.

    It's a complex situation as the contract hasn't even started but IMO you've breached and he can prove losses, lost commission for the two weeks plus time spent to replace you so does put him in a good place to win..... but.. it's going to be in the 100's of pounds so will it be worth it? Depends on whether he's willing to cut his nose of to spite his face. Unfortunately I doubt it.
    Last edited by northernladuk; 2nd October 2016 at 12:48.
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITDJ View Post
    Now, the new agency is threatening to go legal if I don't pay up. Oh, and if I don't pay up, they'll never to speak to me again. And they might add on other unexplained charges that they consider they might incur as a result of a tarnished reputation. Although if I do pay, they will forget about all that (can anyone say extortion?).

    What are the chances they will follow through with their threat? (I would gladly state my case in court, tbh.) Anyone else had this vindictive, personal behaviour from agents? Should I have even replied to their threats? I can't pretend to be unperturbed - I'm losing a lot of sleep over this.
    Picking out the relevant points - you had a contract that was due to start, you bailed on the contract, and the agent wants money for you bailing.

    You have to consider whether you actually breached the contract or not, and if so whether their claim is proportionate. If you didn't breach the contract, then fight it. If the claim isn't proportionate, then you need to fight it.

    If I were in your shoes (and I doubt I would ever be there, to be honest) I'd get on the phone to the IPSE legal support line and also complete the business interruption claim form and claim on the insurance for the contract not being as described.

    And at the end of the day, remind yourself that is isn't "vindictive, personal behaviour" - it's business. You breached the contract, now you have to deal with the consequences of that breach.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotAllThere View Post
    IANAL, but in my opinion the agency haven't breached your contract. The client can't breach your contract as they don't have a contract with you. Your pre-contract expenses are your pre-contract expenses. All part of the risk and cost of being in business.

    The agency can only claim actual damages incurred - and due to the notice period, that's two week's commission. The tarnished reputation stuff is just bluster. Contracts get frustrated - end of. They'd have ditched you in a second and bad-mouthed you to the client if it suited them.

    Never talking to them again can only be a plus, surely? It's not like they're related to you or you've had a deep friendship with them for twenty years.

    Threatening to counter-sue for breach of contract, even if you don't have a leg to stand on, can muddy the waters nicely. But really, you should only respond to these people through a lawyer from now on.

    Offer them 2 weeks commission (500?) as full and final settlement, and move on.

    One thing puzzles me though. 5000 commission over five months works out at 20 a day. That's extremely low - one might say even unviable.
    5,000 for the full five months? That's a grand a month, approx. 50/day based on a 20-day working month.

    Seems legit to me.
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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by LondonManc View Post
    5,000 for the full five months? That's a grand a month, approx. 50/day based on a 20-day working month.

    Seems legit to me.
    It would be if that is really what he will be losing which he won't if he gets a replacement in. That said if another agent nicks it he would indeed be liable. Am surprised the agent hasn't put his time and effort on top that and putting together a grossly inflated figure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    It would be if that is really what he will be losing which he won't if he gets a replacement in. That said if another agent nicks it he would indeed be liable. Am surprised the agent hasn't put his time and effort on top that and putting together a grossly inflated figure.
    I was talking about the size of the claim, not the logic or validity of it.
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