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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22984
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I´m a foreigner who published in English my book of memoirs

Customer Question

I´m a foreigner who published in English my book of memoirs through a New Zealand publishing company. It´s been over a year that they didn´t return my e-mails. Yesterday I spoke with the company owner and he was vague to tell me about how many books were sold and royalties I should receive. I don´t trust them anymore. What to do? Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Did you have a contract for publishing, and did this make any provision for the percentage of royalties and the number of books to be published? Have you seen a copy of the book as published?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
we have an agreement. Yes, the book was published here,pv=BOOKS
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Does your contract say anything about dispute resolution? Some contracts provide for compulsory arbitration for example

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

does this publisher specialise in publishing books at the request of the author, rather than the usual way of the publisher paying in advance to a writer who they believe will be a good seller?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, it didn´t. It was a self-publishing way and I´ve paid nearly NZ$ 5000,00 for the whole editing and layouts and my royalties would be US$15,00 per book and by far I don´t know how many books were sold and I haven´t seen a penny. I have all the bills charged to my card.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
To your last question: yes
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

I must say I am fairly widely read, but have never come across this particular publisher. That doesn't mean anything however. I would assume there are a number of possibilities, including that there have only been a small number sold through to a reasonably substantial number, but the silence would appear to indicate a problem. Did they tell you who were going to do the marketing? I have seen their website of course now, but normally you would need a marketing campaign of some sort.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

If they made representations about the number of copies which they would sell, but have failed to do any promotion, then you could bring a claim for a refund. You could bring a claim for example,under the Fair Trading Act. that this was misleading and decptive, to take the money but then fail to do anything about promotion and sale. You can file claims online and attend at the Tribunal via a teleconference, if that would help

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In an e-mail from early 2014 I was informed that 10 books were sold, just after its publication in December 2013 and I myself did some marketing among the international comunity of the subject, I know some were bought here in Brazil and recently I know that more people bought it. I know it´s not a blockbuster but is more the attitude than the profit that´s bothering me.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I know they sent it to some libraries in NZ but after seaching there are few copies in several companies worldwide..Could you tell how to apply a complaint by the Fair Trading Act?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

The Disoutes Tribunal will deal with claims under the Fair Trading Act, as well as claims for the royalties which have not been made, as well as ordering them to account for the sales and the numbers sold

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Chris, here it´s almost midnight and I have to work early tomorrow morning. If you could send me links for the legal procedures I´ll check it out tomorrow. thanks,
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

That is the link to apply online. perhaps the next step is to say, account to me, or i will sue, and then give them a few days, and file a claim if they dont reply

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear *****,Yesterday I sent this message to them:"Mr. Dave and Mrs. Philippa MacManusIt´s been a week since my latest enquiry and over a year of my last
e-mail that I did not get a reply about my book sales.It makes me wonder what´s going on. I ask you: What´s going on? Why
don´t you reply my e-mails?The only logical conclusion is obvious, sadly: you are cheating me!I already hired a New Zealand lawyer that oriented me to make a
complaint here: you sure that you want to be suited? Don´t underestimate me. I´m
not dumb and I have the means to do so.So, what will be?Roberto Gomes"Without I reply.Where are you based in NZ? I´m considering to go personnaly to NZ.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

I hope they take notice now. I am based in Wellington so lets see what they say first

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I´m affraid they will not reply but let´s see. How much would be your fees to suit them and how long this process might take?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

You can file the claim in the Tribunal yourself, as lawyers cannot appear in the tribunal. but could look at your claim and comment if you want

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Even a foreigner can do that? Would you show me step-by-step how to file the claim? Thanks,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They just sent a reply:"Hi Roberto
I am so sorry that we appear to have upset you!
Dave received your freindly email last week, and, not realising it was urgent, fowarded it on to me, even though I had a few days off.
I did see your email yesterday - but had lots of others to attend to as well.
So sorry that our reply wasn't as quick as you had hoped!
The situation with your sales is that in the Jan - Mar 14 quarter we sold 10 copies of your book - generating royalties of $110NZ.
Also in that quarter we sent samples to you in the USA and charged the freight to you at $56.05NZ.
Rather than chase you for payment, we deducted this amount from your royalties due.
This left a balance of $53.95 due to you.
We have had just one further sale since then.
Our main issue with making the royalties payment to you, is how to get it to you. Do you have a NZ bank account we could bank it into - or someone here who could receive it on your behalf?
Kind regards
Philippa MacManus
Accounts/ Book Orders
The Copy Press*****Annesbrook
Ph 03(###) ###-####I don´t trust what she said about the ammount of sales because I know people that have ordered the book from their online store..
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Now that you have started talking, you should tell her you don't believe her and explain why

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I´ve seen your last message. I´m so stressed out and pissed off that I need a couple days to clear my thinking and find out which way to go. Her e-mail looks so nice, like to give a good impression of their company facing a tribunal.
Thanks anyway, we keep in touch.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

No problem just log in when you are ready