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Hiring school hall for classes but lost money

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by timb111, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    I was hiring a school hall to run classes, and the school used a company called School Lettings Solutions to hire out their facilities and take payments from hirers like myself. SLS took payments monthly via my business visa debit card. In mid-March when schools were closed I had just paid for the upcoming month and SLS wasn't replying to any messages. Then a few weeks ago we were told it had gone into administration.

    Now that schools are open and they are hiring their facilities again I asked the school if they can give us a few free weeks to make up for the lost payments. They said that the financial loss is mine to bear, not the school's.

    Am I right in thinking that SLS was the school's chosen representative and was no different than if the school had hired the hall to my business directly, and I've paid the hire fee in good faith to their agent, and so the school should be liable for this?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #1
  2. Bob Morgan

    Bob Morgan UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,029 289
    Contract terms?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Bob Morgan Member since: Apr 15, 2018
    #2
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    24,928 3,039
    Who was your contract with? The school or the company?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #3
  4. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    991 256
    Its very likely that SLS didnt pay the school for the bookings either so you have both lost out.

    All part of the RISK of being in business... sorry... dust yourself on and move on: Unless there were some pretty plush facilities involved, the sums involved are probably not earth shattering?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Socio South West Member since: Mar 24, 2013
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  5. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    Originally when I started hiring from the school, I have a terms and conditions from the school. It says "Payment of invoices are to be made via the hirer’s online account by one of our preferred online payment
    methods."

    My understanding was that my contract was with the school but I had to make the payments online via SLS.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #5
  6. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    My understanding is that SLS didn't pay the school.

    It's a few hundred pounds. That's a lot for a very small business.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #6
  7. Alison Moore

    Alison Moore UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    662 128
    It really depends on who the contract was with. With the original paperwork from the school, does it quote the school or SLS for the terms? If the paperwork is from the school and the terms are an agreement between yourself and the school, then yes it seems reasonable that they honour what you have already paid. I'd find out exactly the original contract says and then speak to the head/deputy of the school.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Alison Moore Member since: Aug 4, 2016
    #7
  8. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    24,928 3,039
    However if the school has not received payment is that also an issue?

    A few hundred pounds to you makes a difference. As it does to the school.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  9. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,492 9,930
    Why should the school give you a freebie? They have no evidence you paid for the hall hire so for all they know you could be pulling a fast one. Your beef is with SLS not the school. Surely you have insurance or invoice financing to cover this sort of eventuality?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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  10. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,823 889
    It is entirely about the contract. There are all kinds of debates to be had about who should bear the loss here. Frankly, there is no right answer to that one. But someone has to. And that is why we have contracts.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
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  11. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    I don't have a separate contract. Just the school's terms & conditions. It quotes the school. There was no other paperwork. And I don't remember seeing any contract document on the SLS website, and I didn't search around for one and didn't check if they had a terms & conditions document. And now their website is down.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #11
  12. PugwashEQ

    PugwashEQ UKBF Contributor Full Member

    37 12
    OP really feel for you- my wife runs a micro business and the loss of a few hundred quid would be felt by her (she runs baby sensory classes).

    As others have said, it depends on what the contract says and who you were invoiced by. If you were invoiced and receipted by SLS and you had a contract with them then that's clearcut.

    If you were being invoiced by the school you may be able to aruge that de facto there was a contract between you and the school.

    Unfortunately businesses going bust are hard all round. Try and resign yourself to losing the money, and if you can get it back then you've done ok!
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: PugwashEQ Member since: Sep 8, 2020
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  13. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    They are aware that the payment was made, and I have a payment confirmation which I downloaded from the SLS website before it went offline. And it's clearly on my bank statement. That's not an issue.

    I made a payment to the school's chosen agent to hire the hall, and I made the payment as requested. I feel the school is equally responsible for the lost payments.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #13
  14. PugwashEQ

    PugwashEQ UKBF Contributor Full Member

    37 12
    Hey Timb, this post might sound harsh, but its not meant that way...

    Unfortunately you feeling that they should be liable and them ACTUALLY being liable are two very different things in law. As a business person you have almost none of the protections offered under consumer law and it is the contract in place that counts.

    You "might" (and i consider this very unlikely) convince the school to make good the funds to you on a goodwill basis but you probably wont in reality as schools have very few funds. You are then reliant on the letter of the contract and the circumstances around the formation of the contract.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: PugwashEQ Member since: Sep 8, 2020
    #14
  15. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    The only contract was the school's terms, which said "Payment of invoices are to be made via the hirer’s online account by one of our preferred online payment methods."

    Is that how it works, whoever invoices me is the one I have a contract with? But then it leaves my business vulnerable, forced to be in a contract with an outsourcing company like SLS that I have no choice over. In that case, is it always going to be a take it or leave it situation or do you think this is something that can be negotiated with schools?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #15
  16. timb111

    timb111 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    9 0
    The school has made it clear that there's no goodwill to be had as they didn't receive the payment. I do sympathise with that but annoyed that I lose hundreds of pounds through their choice of agent, and they don't want to make any concessions at all.

    So it seems that I just have to ask for a contract up front in future, see who it's with, and just choose to accept it and take the risk.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: timb111 Member since: Jul 2, 2008
    #16
  17. UKSBD

    UKSBD Not a real duck Staff Member

    10,236 2,012
    Depending on the contract.
    The school could still come after you for the payment they have not received from you.
    (very unlikely)
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: UKSBD Member since: Dec 30, 2005
    #17
  18. PugwashEQ

    PugwashEQ UKBF Contributor Full Member

    37 12
    I am not a lawyer (i;ve just worked with a lot of corporate and commercial lawyers).

    the law around agent-principal relationships and liability is tortuous. My instinct from you described is that to enforce the debt you would have to go to court to prove the debt first. You would never do this for £200.

    You're other option is to go through money claim online- but then you are taking the school to court which is going to burn all your bridges. They would have a very very simple defense asking you to prove the debt- which would put you back into your earlier state.

    unfortunately i fee this is one just to take on the chin of carrying a business risk!
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: PugwashEQ Member since: Sep 8, 2020
    #18
  19. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    24,928 3,039
    Then one or the other of you is out of pocket.
    The school prefers it to be you.

    If they give a concession it costs them. Odds currently are they will not have any spare cash - so you wanting free weeks that they pay for is going to look as bad for them as you losing the money paid out looks to you.
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #19
  20. pbdesigns

    pbdesigns UKBF Regular Free Member

    141 11
    Let's put this another way...

    Say the school asked for payment to be made via PayPal. If PayPal went bust after the payment was made, what's the deal then? Surely the payment was made at that point?

    I guess it's up to the school if they want a long term booking. Surely on the basis of the school getting a customer back hiring long term, it would be beneficial for them to accept the hit on the first few weeks, with the benefit being they get a long term booking again?
     
    Posted: Sep 18, 2020 By: pbdesigns Member since: Nov 23, 2011
    #20