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Small claims court and contract query

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5 months 3 weeks ago #3925 by andie73
Hi there, I run a magazine and am taking one of my advertisers to the small claims court for non-payment of an advert. In a nutshell, she had issues with the design of the ad, but I changed it for her, she approved it and then we went to press. She only started moaning again once I invoiced her. She paid for three quarters of the cost (in three installments, all late) but is now refusing to pay the fourth. I've tried late payment fees to no avail.

She claims she doesn't like the design. That's all OK as I have proof that she approved it, so she doesn't really have a leg to stand on there.

The other thing is that she's claiming she was never shown a contract or T&Cs. Now this is true. It's only a small local magazine, and I've never had to show anyone a contract (or T&Cs) before or since. I was told that the invoice (along with other correspondence) basically IS the contract because I can show that an agreement has been made for her to take out an advert.

Legally, could she beat me in court because there's no formal contract as such, or would I be OK? Basically, she's a very argumentative person who's fallen out with half the town and is trying anything she can to get out of paying.

But surely the invoice - and the fact that she's made three payments already - will play in my favour, no?

Also, any guidance for the small claims court hearing and submitting my statement more generally?

Thanks!

Andie

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5 months 3 weeks ago #3927 by j.salmon@cpa.co.uk
you don't need a formal contract set out with clauses and signatures.

For example you can have a verbal contract.

If your emails show she approved the design and the agreed the price then those emails constitute a contract.

the three payments to date also support your argument.

Good luck!

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5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #3930 by andie1973
Hi J,

Many thanks for the reply - that's really good to know. Do you know which law states that I can have a verbal contract? Just that she's going to raise this in court, so it would be good if I could quote a certain piece of legislation. Again, which law (I assume the same one) states that the emails constitute a contract?

Are there any good resources online I can read about this - and the process at court on the day itself?

Many thanks,

Andie

PS Had to open a new account to reply as I can no longer log in with the old one. There appears to be a few bugs in the site. Thought you'd want to know!

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5 months 3 weeks ago #3931 by j.salmon@cpa.co.uk
Hi Andie,

This is a site dedicated to late payment of commercial debts.

In response to your questions, my understanding is that it is common law, but i say that only as a lay person not someone giving professional legal advice.

I would suggest if you want more and to be able to quote case law, you seek professional legal advice from a solicitor.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #3932 by j.salmon@cpa.co.uk
also about the site,I am sorry for any errors you incurred. We are in the process of a launching a re-build but unfortunately it is taking longer than expected.

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5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #3933 by andie1973
No worries, thanks for all your help - and keep up the good work!

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