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Contract Law


JWheeler

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Well, it's been a long time coming......I am striking out on my own, and will be contracting with a new firm providing me logistics services. I have everything set to go, except for an office. It is something for the time being that I can do out of my house fairly simply, however, I find it much more conducive of being productive to be in an office environment.

I have been contracting with a company for the past 5 years. As an independent contractor my book of business is just that, MINE! Last Thursday I left the office as usual to pickup my daughter from school. Upon the commute home I had a few e mails come in. When I arrived at my home I planned on logging on to return the mail and shoot clients a few simple rates. Well, I was unable to log in to e mail or the TMS (transportation management system). I texted one of the owners of the company I contracted with. My phone rang within seconds. The two of them had me on speaker phone when one of them broke the news to me that they were exercising their right to terminate the contract effective immediately. I was in complete shock, yet at the same time, I couldn't put a move like this past these 2 guys, as we have been unable to see eye to eye for an extended period of time.

So, to add insult to injury, they informed me that they were going to with hold my commissions until my clients are paid in full. They claimed responsibility for more $ than what they're actually responsible for. Completely disappointed with these two knuckleheads. It's a good thing that I've been smart and put some money away, they're holding onto $6000 of commissions that I'm entitled to. That is, if they decide to pay it.

I had been putting my feelers out to find services from a competing company for some time, and had actually found a good fit for me. Contract is on my desk, going to sign it and send it in, and hope to be up and running by the beginning of next week.

I don't know much in the ways of contract law. I left a voice mail at the attorney general's office today, in hopes of a return call shedding some light on my legal rights, and the obligations of the company I was contracting with.

What I am looking for is the following:

Does anyone on this site have any knowledge of my rights to payment of services provided and profits earned in a timely manner?

Or, is this something that I will just need to wait to happen?

My fear is that they too will be moving to another provider of services, under a new business name, which would leave me without any recourse for the monies earned mentioned previous.

I have a fantastic wife, who has been on board since the 1st time I told her I am looking to go out on my own. 3 wonderful children that are the reason I am so driven in my business to succeed, and the reason for EVERYTHING!

The 2 business owners and I were friends before we were doing business together. The one fella said that this was just business, I beg to differ, it most definitely is personal as well. I'm keeping a cool head about this. My intent is to get in touch with people that know the law, I don't want to make any threats. What I want to do is let them know what the law is, and let them know that if they don't do what they should I will take it as far as I need.

Good people are fewer and further between. Keep the good ones close, and the others...well......who has time for BULL$hit? I know I sure don't. This little situation will set me back for a brief period of time, but in the end with all my hard work I will come out on top

If anyone here has any insight, or experience, or even if you're interested in talking a little more about this I am happy to talk about it, and just as happy to listen to any input that you good folks may have

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Jason,

A lot will depend on the wording/details of the contract you have with your previous company. If the issues you are dealing with now are not spelled out in your contract, the outcome might be a bit cloudy. If I were in your shoes, I'd contact and review it with a competent attorney. An initial consultation will not break the bank but if you have to pursure legal action to recover $6000, you won't have much left when done. Sometimes a letter from an attorney with a threat of legal action may get things moving without having to go to court. I hope this works out for you.

If you are about to sign another contract with another company, might be a good idea to have a lawyer review that before you sign it. You can always negotiate terms of a contract. Make sure there is wording in it to protect you from a repeat of this situation with a new company. Maybe you will want to insert a line or two or delete a line or two to protect your long term interests.

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Thanks Edb! I submitted my contract with another company this morning, will be operating tomorrow under a new vendor of services. I did have a lawyer look over the contract, everything is on the up and up!

Regarding the issue of delayed payment from the previous contract, my lawyer indicated that the company is in breach of contract. I am going to do what I can to facilitate being paid promptly as spelled out in the initial contract. Worst case, I will have a need to litigate for settlement/payment of monies owed!

This is not what I want to do, but I can't just sit back and let these guys try and pull this crap.

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Years ago I think this likely would have been my approach. Unfortunately these days (older and wiser...maybe?), it would likely only cause more complications in the matter.

What goes around comes around is what I'm hoping. Treatment that I am receiving is as low as it gets!

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Jason, I've been there. I feel for you my friend.

I had Thompson Boats out of St. Charles MI hang me out for 26 Gs. It took several months and legal action to get it. There was no profit on that job after paying the Lawyer. They had the local politicians dancing to their tune, while they screwed over most of the local businesses.

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