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Help with self employment contract


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Hi,

 

I started as a self employed advertising agent for a publishing company in Blackpool on 14th June 2010. The previous 2 weeks to that was taken up by attending a training course for the job. Of which all expenses, including petrol, hotel and food, was paid for by myself. Totalling around £380.

 

Over the next few weeks it became apparent that the role was not as they'd described and it was difficult to achieve their targets. Over the next 10 weeks I had earnt commission of £1086 but my outgoings to do the job over that period of time was at least £500.

 

Then I got a call on 27/8/10, from head office, telling me to cease all work on my assignment until further notification. I did have a couple of missed calls from one of the directors over the next 3 weeks and did return them, leaving messages. In the meantime, left without any means of at least trying to earn an income, I took on some work with my friend.

 

When I finally spoke with the office, after 3 weeks (16/9/10), it was agreed that I would leave. This was due to them leaving me in limbo and the fact that I had some casual work.

 

I did email them on 24/9/10 asking them for outstanding monies owed to me. And today 1/10/10, I received a letter from them demanding all the commission they have have paid me to date, £1086. Stating a paragraph in the agreement signed at initial training.

 

It states:

 

" In the event that 70% of the target is not achieved 2 weeks prior to the deadline, or the salesperson does not adhere to the above, the company exercises the right if it so wishes to reclaim all commission paid on the current assignment."

 

OUTSTANDING CHARGEBACKS

 

I ****** ******

 

Of ******** ****** ******* ****

 

Do hereby agree to repay all outstanding monies to ******* Publishing and her subsidiary companies.

 

If I leave the company for any reason, the debt will be paid in full within 28 days.

 

 

Signed **********

 

Signed *********

 

 

Witness *********

 

Any help on this would be appreciated.

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Ok. Well, the next step is to see if there is anyway such an agreement can be voided.

Is it long and wordy - would you be able to scan a copy ?

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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This is the contract. The first signature was signed on behalf of the MD. The MDs name is below the signature so they PPd it. The second was mine with my name below the line. The third is the witness who wasnt actually there so I dont know who it is. Their name isnt below the line.

 

Contract.jpg

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It's a bit too small to read, I have zoomed in but unfortunately cannot read it. Can you re-scan at a higher resolution, and perhaps make it a bigger size?

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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Ok, so I've had a look and on the face of it, it does appear to be a valid agreement - on paper, that is. There doesn't appear to be anything in the wording which would render it invalid. However, my concerns over this are:

 

- no evidence to suggest the witness was a suitable person to assign their name to a [legally] binding document

 

- no evidence to suggest whoever signed 'pp' did so on authority from the MD

 

- they are attempting to take back money which they have not lost, based on the fact that bookings have gone through sucessfully - but simply, a target was not met.

 

These 'chargebacks' are tricky, and more often than not fail in any further action, because it can't be proven that the company is at a loss, and that you are in breach of contract. Whether or not this 'document' will be valid enough for any further action against you is dubious - as you were self employed (as such) then there would not be a need for a contract of employment, therefore this would be seen almost as a sales contract between two parties, and a generic one at that in order to protect them from multiple people leaving when they have had enough - and the company can make some more money.

 

If the company is large enough, then it may be that they won't take any action against you - my feeling is that this company has a large turnover, and it's not worth the hassle of trying to track down multiple people in an attempt to enforce a dubiously signed agreement. You're probably not the first to be worried about this kind of thing - have you tried googling the company and see if any ex-contractors have blogged about their own experience?

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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Thanks for the excellent reply chesham. Theres nothing on the internet regards this company taking other agents to court. Maybe I'm the first?

 

The reality is though, due to my poor financial situation, I couldn't pay it back anyway. So the only choice I've got is to let them play it how they see fit.

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