I have employed a specialist piano removals company to move a baby grand piano from Edinburgh to the south of England. Their contract includes a clause stating that they are not responsible for damage, however caused, to floors during the removals. Unfortunately damage was caused by their employees to the floor of the house from which it was removed by the errors of their employees. It is a hard wood floor, capable of supporting the piano and no damage was cause when the piano was installed in the house some years ago.Do I have no rights of redress, because of the contract?
System of Law: England-and-Wales
I think the law of Scotland may apply. The company is based in London. I am discussing the event with a manager of the company. I have asked for pictures to be taken of the damage in Edinburgh.
Thank you for your question.The law here is similar both in Scotland and England and reference has to be made to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 which you can get online.The Act prevents a party from excluding or restricting liability for breach of duty if it was not fair and reasonable to incorporate the condition into the contract. Guidelines are given as to whether a clause is fair or reasonably incorporated:(a) the strength of the bargaining positions of the parties relative to each other, taking intoaccount (among other things) alternative means by which the customer's requirements couldhave been met;(b) whether the customer received an inducement to agree to the term, or in accepting ithad an opportunity of entering into a similar contract with other persons, but without havingto accept a similar term;(c) whether the customer knew or ought reasonably to have known of the existence andextent of the term (having regard, among other things, to any custom of the trade and anyprevious course of dealing between the parties);(d) where the term excludes or restricts any relevant liability if some condition is notcomplied with, whether it was reasonable at the time of the contract to expect that compliancewith that condition would by practicable;(e) whether the goods were manufactured, processed or adapted to the special order of thecustomer.In this case I would argue that it is not fair and reasonable for a specialist piano remover to incorporate a clause like this into a contract. Prevention of damage to the instrument itself and to the premises the instrument is being uplifted from and delivered to is at the very root of the contract and the reason that we use specialist piano removers. For liability to be excluded is not, in my opinion, a fair and reasonable term and this is the way I would approach the issue with their manager.I am assuming you were given a copy of the terms and conditions beforehand. If not, they can't rely on them at all of course as you can't import terms and conditions after performance of the contract.I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
27 years as a practising solicitor.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).