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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22620
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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i have been working with an seo company and am unhappy with

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i have been working with an seo company and am unhappy with their service. they are only interested in collecting their fee which is £750+vat per month. and i do not feel they are delivering a service which warrants this, also the results have been nil.

i have said i would like to cancel but they have told me i am in a years contract and if i cancel 50% of the fee will be due. this would be a significant amount of money and i run a very small company. it would basically put me under.

i have not signed a contract and was not advised we would be tied in for 12 months. i was not given any t&c's although they are on their website as i have looked since. i did accept a purchase order which gave the full price for 12 months but was shown as a monthly cost.

they are a large company and i cannot afford to pay solicitors etc to fight them in court. i just need to know if i have a leg to stand on not paying the cancellation fee?

they have already sent a solicitors letter for one months charge (£900) as it was due for this months service, which they dont do until they receive payment so i have effectively not received any service which hasnt been paid for.
Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

Do you have a specific question?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
i am trying to find out if they are able to make me pay the cancellation fee? if it would stand up in court if they chose to chase me for this, which i feel they would.

the service has not been undertaken and as mentioned i didnt sign a contract just a po. here is a link to what i was supplied -
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
i cannot see a response - the link on the email doesnt work and it says that he is offline.

Was that the doc you signed? Did you send it back to them?

Have they done anything at all?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
yes that is the doc i agreed to, electronically signed so no hard copy.

yes they have undertaken work in nov, dec and jan but i feel it is sub par to what was promised and the reports supplied had to be chased and didnt detail work undertaken just site figures which are ran through various software. when i requested info on actual work done i was sent a small list of links generated in month 3 only. they upset me most by chasing payment for invoices 2 weeks before they are due. this company is only about the money.

They are not
entitled to charge you a cancellation fee but they are entitled to sue you for
their loss if you contracted to deal with them for 12 months and now you are
deciding not to do that.

If they decide to
take you to court, you have a defence firstly because they have not provided
the service that they contracted to do (and as a result, you may have suffered
loss yourself) and secondly, if you cancel, they are not entitled to the full
contract value because they have not done the work.

The difficulty is
that I have seen these kind of court claims go both ways where the judge has
awarded the full contract value and others where he is only awarded the loss of
profit. Whether it was Small Claims Court or not would depend on how much they
decided to issue proceedings against your company for. If it was over £5000, it
would not be Small Claims Court and if you lost, they would get costs awarded
against you but, as you said, it would send your company down and they would
get nothing.

You have a
possible counterclaim if you can prove that they have not actually done any
work in the last five months and as a result of that, you are the lost headway
or profit.

In that respect,
you might want to get another SEO company to look at this for you to see
whether they can ascertain whether any work has been done or not. Armed with
that information you can tell them what they have done or what they have not
done and that you will defend any action they bring on the basis of the information
that you have gleaned.

We are not
allowed to recommend companies on here and you may find a company local to you
although I do know people who have used this guy who is a one-man band with few overheads and
therefore does give exceptional value for money. I do know that he will look at
your website for you free of charge and put a proposal. He will also tell you
what has been happening historically which will assist you. Email is the best
contact medium because he is all over the place although I can tell you that he
does work late.

Once you have
some information with regard to what the existing company has done or has not
done you are in a better position to go back to them with regard to your cancellation

Does that answer
the question.? Can I assist any further?

I am happy to
follow up any individual point you make

I am online and
off-line each day and most weekends.

Please don't
forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not what you want
to hear). If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and
I get 0 for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive
rating. It doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is
my livelihood!

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thank you for this reply.

at present they are clearly requesting a cancellation charge. it is detailed in their t&cs as mentioned but these werent supplied to me as you can see as part of the order. so what you are saying is that this cancellation charge is not enforceable by law?

i understand they can change their mind and sue instead but i do have an email paper trail saying they want to charge a cancellation charge rather than the other option - will this make a difference?

all work undertaken already has been paid for. they are chasing an invoice for one months work but it wasnt undertaken as they pause the account rather than do work which hasnt been paid for so the contract has been on pause for two months. no work being done and no payments being made. i have agreed to pay the £900 invoice as a good will gesture if they dont chase the further amount (50% of rest of alleged contract).

i will most definitely contact the person you have mentioned, and am looking into other alternatives also but it is hard to do so if i still have to pay these guys! i wont have anything left to pay someone else too.

Thank you.

You need to
consider how much you want to pay to get rid of this. Sometimes it is better to
pay a few quid and move things on.

In cases like this, I never suggest making an
offer. I suggest sending a cheque. Armed with a cheque in the hand for some of
the amount they want, compared to an argument over the whole of the amount,
(and arguments that they may win or lose) the cheque in the hand is a pretty
powerful incentive to accept it.

So consider deciding how much you would like
to pay the (you need to make it attractive enough) and send it with a covering
letter headed "without prejudice save as to costs". That means that they cannot
produce the letter in court as any proof that you admit owing them any money at

Tell them in the letter that you are offering
this money in full and final settlement of all claims against you, past,
present and future, and that by cashing it they accept it as such. Tell them
that if they do not accept it, they should return the cheque to you and if they
issue legal proceedings, you will defend them on the basis of A, B, C,

Tell them that if they do not understand the
significance of the letter. They should take independent legal advice.

I can tell you this approach works nine times
out of 10, provided the offer is reasonable and not derisory.

For legal reasons which I will not bore
you with but which go back several hundred years, the cheque must not come from
you, but was come from a third party, friend, relative, solicitor, our
accountant, neighbour, girlfriend, wife, husband, whoever, just not from you.

Here is some rather heavy reading


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