Agency covering their back not to pay for services provided - is this legal? Agency covering their back not to pay for services provided - is this legal?
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie


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    Default Agency covering their back not to pay for services provided - is this legal?

    Hi all,

    I´ve been issued a contract today, which states the following:

    "All time and expenses must be submitted on the relevant system within 45 days of the work being carried out or
    when the expense incurred. XXX will not pay the Company for time and expenses submitted outside this process.

    1. Where payment has not been received in accordance with the applicable payment provisions outlined in clause 3 of these
    terms of engagement, the Company has 30 business days from payment due date to log a payment query at
    timesheet.query@experis.co.uk to inform Experis that payment has not been received. Failure to notify XXX within this
    period will result in non-payment of invoices


    2. XXX will then investigate the non-payment. XXX will require the following information sent to
    timesheet.query@XXX.co.uk in order to investigate any claim:

    Expected payment due date
    Contractor name
    Timesheet weekending
    Proof of original submission within 45 days of time worked / expense incurred

    3. Provided that the amount is undisputed, XXX will make payment within 7 days of receipt of the documents at paragraph 2
    above and supporting documentation (“Remedy Period”).

    4. The Company/Contractor agrees that payment shall not be deemed to be overdue until the Remedy Period has expired and XXX
    shall not be liable for any outstanding payments to the Company unless the Dispute Resolution Process has been fully
    complied with.
    "

    Basically, this says to me:
    - Contracting company doesnt´get paid, if invoices/timesheets/expenses are submitted later than 45 days after occurrence (it has to be also said that often you cannot even submit timesheets, because the codes to put them against, have been closed (erroneously), and are not reopened sometimes for months, like right now the current project one has been closed for 3 months, even though several people were working on it, all employees except me, though!)

    - Contracting company doesn´t get paid, if they notice too late that they haven´t been paid

    - Agency tries to weasle even out of overdue payment penalties by saying "WE don´t and will not consider it overdue, because we need to verify, whether we actually owe you that"

    - And YOU have to prove that we owe you that amount, not WE need to prove that we have paid or pay up asap.


    Morally, it definitely outrageous to try and find ways of not paying for services obviously delivered. But, is this even legal/enforceable?
    Any comments/similar experiences? How did you deal with this?

    Cheers

  2. #2

    Fingers like lightning


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    That would be Experis would it?

  3. #3

    Fingers like lightning

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    Hhhhmmm - is XXX Experis?

    Anyway, it seems to me like these excerpts are simply documenting a process to follow should issues arise.
    If anything, it could be argued to be a good thing that there is a process.

    Signed timesheets are required to get paid, and they need to be submitted in a timely fashion - seems OK to me?
    If you don't actually get the money, having followed the above, then a process exists to remedy.
    latest-and-greatest solution (TM) kevpuk 2013

  4. #4

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    If you didn't opt out, in writing, before being introduced to the client, then it's all rubbish anyway because they have to pay you for the work that you did.
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  5. #5

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    IANAL but I struggle to believe that they could delay payment by 30 days and, if you do not notice, that payment is no longer due. That definitely seems legally suspect to me.

  6. #6

    Nervous Newbie


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    Many thanks for the responses so far - oops, seems like I´ve forgotten to edit one instance out

    @gillsMan: Yes, exactly!
    Generally, I don´t think they´d actively try to not pay as such, however eg. the systems for submitting timesheets (or rather codes to put times against) are often not working/disactivated, and sometimes it takes weeks and months (!), until they are reactivated. And if not put against the proper project code, the timesheet is not approved = not paid.... that easily can be over 45 days since having worked.

    Also, we "small people" need to pay late fees for even 1 day late for all kinds of services, utilities etc, but they say "hey, WE don´t consider the invoice we have allegedly not paid "overdue", until WE say it is - and by that time we probably have already paid it. Either way, we´re never paying late fees"..

    Plus "and even IF YOU think it´s late/missed payment, you only submitted your timesheet on day 46 after you´ve worked, not on day 45 days - so actually, we don´t owe you anything at all. look into your contract"
    or "even IF YOU think it´s a late/missed payment, you only notified us on day 31 after due date, you missed the deadline - too bad for you - thanks for working for us for free!"

    Has anyone ever seen anything like this before? because I haven´t...

  7. #7

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    UPDATE: I just got in parallel an answer from a solicitor on this - might be helpful for others, if they run into similar situations:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Solicitor´s answer:


    Q: 1)Is it legal/enforceable that they put such a short time limit onto submitting timesheets/expenses = invoices, and claim they won´t pay me in that case? (legal limit is 6 yrs, I believe?)
    A: they can put what time limit they like on the court would not enforce it.

    Q: 2) Is it legal/enforceable that they put such a short time limit onto notifying them that they have missed a payment, and claim they won´t pay me in that case?
    A: Ditto

    Q: 3) Is it legal/enforceable that they weasel their way out of late payment charges with a process that THEY put in place, instead of the one who´s owed money to (=me)?
    A: with regard to late payment charges, simply add them on under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (interest) act and the Late Payment of commercial Debts Regulations if it is late and let the court to decide the issue. You can add late payment charges on under the regulations provided there is no other provision in the contract for late payment charges. There is also no provision for the charges to be waived while there is a dispute.

    If this is a new contract to replace an old one, you can tell them that this this and this not acceptable and they should delete the various clauses.

    It is then up to you whether you carry on doing business with them and up to them whether they carry on doing business with you.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldengirl View Post
    UPDATE: I just got in parallel an answer from a solicitor on this - might be helpful for others, if they run into similar situations:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Solicitor´s answer:


    Q: 1)Is it legal/enforceable that they put such a short time limit onto submitting timesheets/expenses = invoices, and claim they won´t pay me in that case? (legal limit is 6 yrs, I believe?)
    A: they can put what time limit they like on the court would not enforce it.

    Q: 2) Is it legal/enforceable that they put such a short time limit onto notifying them that they have missed a payment, and claim they won´t pay me in that case?
    A: Ditto

    Q: 3) Is it legal/enforceable that they weasel their way out of late payment charges with a process that THEY put in place, instead of the one who´s owed money to (=me)?
    A: with regard to late payment charges, simply add them on under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (interest) act and the Late Payment of commercial Debts Regulations if it is late and let the court to decide the issue. You can add late payment charges on under the regulations provided there is no other provision in the contract for late payment charges. There is also no provision for the charges to be waived while there is a dispute.

    If this is a new contract to replace an old one, you can tell them that this this and this not acceptable and they should delete the various clauses.

    It is then up to you whether you carry on doing business with them and up to them whether they carry on doing business with you.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well done for standing your ground and doing it properly

    LaFosse try this too with varying limits on dates. I made them delete the lot

  9. #9

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    Well done for getting good advice.

    I must admit if I had to go to this trouble before starting a contract I wouldn't want to do business with them. It would always be in the back of my mind that I would need to take them to court to get paid further down the line.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcher View Post
    Well done for getting good advice.

    I must admit if I had to go to this trouble before starting a contract I wouldn't want to do business with them. It would always be in the back of my mind that I would need to take them to court to get paid further down the line.
    No you wouldn't.

    Once an agency knows that you can be bothered to pay a solicitor to review your contract and redraft clauses, they realise that you will be trouble if they don't pay you......
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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