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Client/Contractor obligations

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1 Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:26 pm

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Hello Lawyers,

I hope you could help me sort out this predicament.

I was an independent contractor for a digital marketing agency in Alabang. We have a digital contract signed through Hellosign.

Our agreement was to have a pay-per-production scheme, which would be sent out every month on the 15th and 30th.

I manage my invoice sheet, and my client has access to it. The last changes on my invoice sheet had the following changes to the terms:

Terms:
All content that is submitted AND approved by 5pm/mst on the 10th will be paid on the 15th
All content that is submitted AND approved by 5pm/mst on the 25th will be paid on the last day of month
5% discount on every Php 10k within a pay period
Maximum of 3 revisions

We had talks about a discount, on 9/21, but we have not agreed on a discount. The discount was retrospectively applied to my invoice sheet, which led to a significant deduction on my pay. I felt that this was an unfair business practice, which led me to inform my client that I would no longer be producing content for his company.

Prior to this arrangement, I had referred several people to the business, with my own personal guarantee that the business was good. After experiencing the unfair treatment I had with my client, I warned my referrals to watch out for signs of non-pay, which is what happened to me.

NOW, my client and I had private conversations over email discussing how we could resolve this issue. I explained how the "discount" was not agreed on, and therefore should not be applied. My client responded by REQUIRING me to send an apology email to all my colleagues before issuing the discrepancy of the discount that should have not been applied in the first place..

Is there merit to my complaint if ever I pursue legal action?

P.S. I have copies of the email exchange and the digitally-signed contract between me and my client.

Thank you all!.

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2 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:14 am

thepoetsedge


Reclusion Perpetua
There is indeed merit in your legal action, in my opinion.

This is simply a case of a contract being modified without approval from the affected party. Since our Civil code states that further modifications from the terms and conditions of a contract must include the approval of all parties involved, their action should be considered as null and void.

However, please do review the contract you have signed with them since it might contain a stipulation that allows them to alter discount rates retroactively within a specific range. Read all the stipulations and fine print, since it may further contain terms that are vague and suspicious.

At this point, you may want to secure the services of a lawyer so that all the steps you will take will have legal basis. If you are financially constrained, please go to the nearest Public Attorney's Office (City or Municipal Hall located, usually) for you to obtain free legal advice.

Good luck in your situation.

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3 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:57 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Thank you for your reply!

Another question would be -

would it be worth it to pursue legal action regarding this matter since the amount in question is below 10k php?

thanks!

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4 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:18 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Can i put excerpts of our conversation here or would it be better for me to keep these hidden until I meet with a lawyer? Arrow

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5 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:26 pm

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Bumping po mga sir. Salamat!

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6 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:27 pm

thepoetsedge


Reclusion Perpetua
It is fine to quote our conversation, but please take note that I am not a lawyer yet. I am still a law student and my take on the matter may vary from an actual lawyer's perspective.

The PAO will give you legal advice if your situation is worth pursuing into. There are other options that they can offer you that does not entail going into court, since the PAO usually handles a lot of cases in a daily basis. Maybe a simple letter that has their authorization containing your demand against the other party who made underhanded modifications on the contract will do the trick, and the other party will accede to your demands. These are just mere speculations on my part, however, and take them with a grain of salt.

Good luck once more in your situation.

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7 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:21 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Hello Lawyers,

My predicament with my former client has turned a little bit more interesting.

I have an email from my client stating that the final payment would be sent on Oct 29. No payment has been sent. I sent him several reminders, to no avail.

I have a copy of an email stating the ff:

I will agree to pay you for the 5% discount that was deducted if you: 1) Send an email to **** ,**** ,**** cc'ing me stating the following: Hi all, I just wanted to send you an email to apologize about anything negative that I said about ********** and/or it's management team. My response was a knee jerk and emotional reaction that resulted in saying things that were unfounded. Despite separating and moving on, I always want to keep a positive relationship with everyone that I meet and this is no different. I wish no one harm and encourage you to continue on your journey with *****. Thanks for accepting my apology. 2) Sign a Memo of Understanding that you will: a. Not slander ******* or any of it's management team b. Not discuss any ****** Business with anyone c. And that you will uphold the NDA and Non-compete that your originally signed wrote:

I have copies of conversations with his actual employees saying that I was not the only one with payment issues, and that this is my former clients' typical behavior.

According to their employees, benefits and OT are unpaid.

-------------------

Should I pursue legal action? I'm really sorry if I keep putting off an actual meeting with a lawyer. It's fairly easy to find a lawyer, but as you well know, lawyers' fees are expensive. I would really like to know if hiring a private lawyer would be worth it for this situation seeing as the total disputed amount is less than 10k.

I seriously want to pursue legal action because I believe that my former clients' actions go unchallenged because no one dares to complain, but I would like to know if it would be worth my time to spend money for something that is basically less than a week's worth of work.

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8 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:05 am

ador


Prision Mayor
Talk to a lawyer. Any fees including damages, penalties/interest arising from pursuing payment shall be charged to the subject party.

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9 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:29 am

lukekyle


Reclusion Perpetua
you dont need a lawyer for small claims court (under 200k). If your goal talaga dito is the compensation i would advise you to just move on and chalk it up to experience. The hassle is not worth it.

A halfway decent lawyer will not touch this case unless you have personal ties with him.

But if prinsipyo ang pinaglalaban mo then have it.

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10 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:41 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Actually, the way I see it is that I can pursue this for as long as I can, if I really wanted to, since I am quite convinced that I have my former client on the ropes.

Can I sue for damages regarding this matter?


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11 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:30 am

lukekyle


Reclusion Perpetua
yes but its all relative to the 10k.

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12 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
the final pay is just one of my problems. A huge part of my dispute has something to do with breach of contract.

1. He claims that I have resigned - I didn't.
2. He made changes in my pay scheme without my consent.
3. He is withholding my final pay.
4. He is using the withheld amount as leverage to force an apology


on the other hand..

He claims that I have violated my NDA when I contacted several of the people I invited to work for him, and I have mentioned that I am no longer being paid by the company.

---------------------------------------------

The real question is, for the bunch of my problems with him, the 10k back pay is the least of my priorities. I am more concerned about the grave disregard for my contract, which led to the eventual demise of our professional relationship. I just don't know if there's a legal basis for my complaints other than the back pay, and if it would not be relative to the amount in question, but for the trouble that his breach of contract caused.

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13 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:34 am

lukekyle


Reclusion Perpetua
Since you are a contractor, you don't need to resign.

He has a valid point as well. Anyways the merits will be threshed out by the small claims court. Just fill out the form and put in whatever perceived damages/money you feel owed to you. You can consult a lawyer, although for the amount (anything less than 200k) no decent one will entertain you. Remember only you or a relative can represent you at small claims court

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14 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:31 am

towiasks


Arresto Menor
Hello All!

I've exhausted all means to collect from my client, and now I plan to move the matter to the small claims court.

A couple of questions po if I may -

1. Is it possible to sue for damages arising from the breach of contract?
2. Can I file the case in my hometown? (I live in tagaytay, the company is in Alabang)
3. Is it time for me to send a formal demand letter?
4. Should I include details of my future plans e.g. taking the case to the small claims court in my demand letter?

thank you all!

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15 Re: Client/Contractor obligations on Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:14 am

lukekyle


Reclusion Perpetua
1. yes (although keep it reasonable)
2. Don't know (be careful, don't want to be accused of forum shopping)
3. You can't say you've exhausted all means if you haven't sent them a formal demand letter
4. Yes, you may. That decision is up to you

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