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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22985
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I am a contractor builder working company. We

Customer Question

I am a contractor builder working for a company. We had a verbal agreement that I was to do a certain job and they paid me in advance for part of the job. They then decided months later that the price was no longer acceptable and they did not want me to complete the work.
They want me to return the money to them as I did not do the job.
Who is in the right and what should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.
When you have a contract, the other party can only cancel the contract where there has been a breach. In this case they have accepted your verbal agreement and price, and paid a deposit. Unless there is a breach of the contract by you, they cannot cancel the contract, and if they do so they must pay damages. Because they have no reason to cancel the contract except that they have subsequently changed their minds, you are entitled to say that you have taken the deposit as damages for the unlawful breach of the contract by them. Even though you have not done the work, I assume that you would have had time mobilising resources and putting aside time to do the job. Those would have cost you money and you are therefore entitled to claim damages for the breach.