By Dr Nicola Davies
I have written this as a helpful guide, and as I am not legally trained you must only use this as a guide. However, I can assure you that as with all of my work, I have attempted to be as thorough and accurate as I possibly can.
Hiring Freelance Writers
Firstly, prevention is better than cure and you MUST ensure you are as protected as you possibly can be before hiring an essay assistance company. A frequent issue between freelance writers and clients is the non-performance of the former’s obligation, after the latter has paid the agreed fee. Failure to perform the obligations of a contract is called a breach of contract, although there may not have been a signed contract at all. If one of the parties fails to carry out their side of the agreement, then the party can be said to be in breach of contract. Common breaches of contract between clients and writing companies include plagiarised or substandard material, non-delivery or failure to deliver services, and being late with services without reasonable justification.
Payment before Services
Both parties in a contract can be said to be in breach. Writing companies avoid disputes of contract breach on the part of the client by asking for some form of payment before supplying a service. Although not so favorable with clients, this practice protects writers from a client who is, in their effort to outwit writers, going to breach a contract and withhold payment but in fact does not have the intention to pay for the service from the outset.
Focusing on the side of the client engaging the services of writers, clients sometimes have more to lose. More often than not, there is no assurance that you get your money’s worth. Non-completion of paid services is highly ensuing in this field.
UK Contract Law on Breaches
A breach of contract means that one or more of the terms and conditions laid out in a contract has been broken. A contract does not necessarily need to be written. For a contract to exist, it is enough that there is a meeting of minds between two people whereby one binds themselves, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service. This confers that a contract can be oral or written.
An online contract, written or verbal, involving buyers of goods or services is covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 aims to protect consumers against bad workmanship or the poor provision of services. It covers contracts for work and materials, as well as contracts for pure services, including where you have no physical contract at all. To read more about this Act, please go to: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/29.
How You Can Be Protected
Online contracts, which are easily made, are usually valid short-term. With writing companies, a contract is binding from the moment both parties’ terms and conditions are accepted by the other. For clients to be protected, you must first read your rights before engaging their services. You should make sure that the terms and conditions of the contract don’t put you at a disadvantage.
The Sale of Goods and Services legislation contains statutory rights, which don’t have to be specifically mentioned in any contract, but cannot be excluded. These are:
- That the supplier will carry out the service with reasonable care and skill;
- That the work will be carried out in reasonable time; and,
- That the work will be carried out at reasonable cost.
Also, the Unfair Contract Terms Act provides the terms which can and cannot be excluded from your contracts. For further information, see: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/50
Remedies in Case of Breach of Contract
This section will cover the remedies of clients who have already paid writers who failed to render the services agreed upon. Clients may:
- Recover an advance payment. This is called the quasi-contractual remedy. It should be remembered that this remedy is only available if there has been total failure of the contract, such as when the contracted writer did not deliver any draft at all.
- Enter into extra-judicial settlement. This includes compromise, arbitration and mediation. Normally, most service providers online encourage their client to enter into compromise and avoid litigation. As a matter of fact, a process of dispute resolution is one of the clauses included in the Terms and Conditions page of these online service providers. In case of dissatisfaction of the goods or services supplied, they require you to bring your claims first to their attention within a reasonable period of time. If your claim is proved to be meritorious, the contractor will be required to carry out the services you paid with reasonable degree and skill without additional payment.
If your writer would not be willing do this, you are entitled to ask another writer to put the work right and then claim the cost from the original writer. However, this does not preclude you from filing your action directly to the court.
- Equitable remedy: specific performance and injunctions. Whether the services failed to be performed or be fulfilled by the party in breach, the discretion remains solely with the court hearing the case. Choosing any of these remedies precludes you from recovering whatever amount you previously paid. However, if the court finds that the party alleged to be in breach is liable, the judge may award damages depending on the severity of the loss you incurred due to the breach of contract.
- Claim for damages. Damages which can either be liquidated or un-liquidated are the sum of money which the law awards or imposes as pecuniary compensation, recompense, or satisfaction for an injury or wrong sustained as a consequence of the breach of some duty or the violation of some right.
Liquidated damages, or that agreed upon by the parties to a contract, are to be paid in case of breach thereof. Un-liquidated damages are those amounts assessed by the court in case the actual loss cannot be proved with reasonable certainty.
- Right of Action for Tort. This arises where there has been a violation of a right given by law. Courts have established that all contracts contain an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The imposition of tort liability in contract suits enables courts to award all damages proximately caused by breach of contract, as well as punitive damages. Although right of action for tort and action for breach of contract differ, these two remedies do overlap. The same action may constitute breach of contract and also tort. In such cases, you must elect which remedy to pursue. You may sue either in tort or contract. The election of one remedy forfeits the other. You cannot pursue both remedies at the same time. When tort claims duplicate contract claims, one action will be dismissed depending on priority in time of filing or appropriateness of action. However, if the court finds you pursuing both actions in bad faith, both pending remedies will be dismissed outright.
If you think the contractor is in breach of contract, it is advised that you file an action for breach of contract and claim for whatever damages you may have suffered in the form of relief in your complaint. This way, you can avoid multiplicity of suit or dismissal of duplicated action.
The Limitation Act 1980
When deciding which remedy best works for you, always consider the prescriptive period within which you bring your claim to the court. Your inaction, despite occurrence of cause of action, may result in the extinction of a real or personal right.
- For oral contracts: Action upon oral contract prescribes in 6 years.
- For written contracts: Action upon written contract prescribes in 10 years.
- For tort actions: The period prescribed for the commencement of an action upon tort is 3 years.
Your right to file a claim to the court commences from the time the cause of action arises. As in this case, your cause of action arises from the moment you are aware of the non-performance or non-fulfilment of the services you paid for.
The prescription of actions is interrupted when:
- they are filed before the court;
- there is a written extra-judicial demand by the innocent party to the party in breach; and,
- there is any written acknowledgment of the demand to fulfil an obligation by the party in breach.
To learn more about the Limitation Act 1980, see: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/58.
Where you can Seek Help
Breaching a contract can easily lead to legal action and claims for damages in court. Anyone considering court action due to breach of contract should seek expert legal advice before proceeding. Here are some recommended resources to assist you.
- Learn about the legal and strategic policy advice and support provided by the Attorney’s General Office: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/Pages/default.aspx
- Claiming for compensation for faulty services provided by writers paid online can be considered for the small claim track. If the value of a case is £5,000 or less, it will generally be allocated to the small claims track. Small claims prescribe in 6 years. Please visit the following resource for a full discussion of the coverage of small claim tracks and to seek online help from citizens advice: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/legal_system_index_ew/small_claims.htm#Types_of_case_dealt_with_in_the_small_cl.
- Make an online court claim for money. If you consider making an online court claim, the following requisites must be met:
- Claims must be for a fixed amount less than £100,000;
- Claims must be against no more than two people or organisations; and,
- Claims must be sent to an address in England or Wales with a valid postcode.
To find out how you can use the system to make a court claim for money, please visit: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/Makingacourtclaimformoney/DG_195688.
Court disputes are a lengthy and costly procedure. It is suggested that before considering bringing any action before the court, the legal costs should be weighed up against the likely damages awarded.
- Access to your own personal tutor between 10 and 10pm UK time 7 days a week, although I do leave the house every now and then!
- Trust in the knowledge that a PhD holder is assisting you.
- I’m a registered quality controller with the Information Commissioners Office, which means the confidentiality of your work is protected by UK Law (anyone handling your work should be registered with the ICO, but few are).
- All work comes with 2 plagiarism reports.
- There are no hidden extras – references and plagiarism reports are included in the quoted price.
- Amendments are free of charge, as long as they are in-line with the original instructions.
- As you deal with me directly I can offer my services at 30% less than the larger UK companies.
Dr Nicola Davies.