Q: I need help with a verbal agreement matter: A friend and I were recently contacted to do a shoot with a firm that does advertising for various brands. We were told that we are going to be doing a three month campaign. We were sent emails with dates scheduled and we had agreed on an amount we were going to be paid. We were also given the terms of what to do for the three months once we signed the contract.
We were later told that dates have been moved around and the theme for the shoot we were meant to do was either given to or they chose other people to do it. We have emails showing the communication between the two parties.
We need advice on what to do from this point forward because other things were placed on hold because we were told everything is full steam ahead please help.
A: "We all enter into a wide variety of contracts each day of our lives, whether we are purchasing a loaf of bread, buying a bus ticket or taking our TV in for repairs. And each time we enter one of these contracts, we are entitled to a variety of rights and obligations. This applies to both parties to the contract.
It should also be said that a verbal contract is as binding on the parties as a contract which has been reduced to writing, but it should be said that a verbal contract is more difficult to prove.
You have mentioned that you and your friend entered into a verbal contract, but what makes this situation different is that the terms and conditions were later put into writing through the e-mail correspondence that you entered into with, what I presume was an agency.
What you have described as happening after that clearly shows that there was a breach of contract on the part of the agency. And this has the effect that you are entitled to be put into the situation that you would have found yourself if the terms of the contract had been carried out as originally agreed between you. You are then entitled to sue for damages for the monetary loss that you suffered as a result of the breach of contract.
But, this is then the crunch – you will need to approach the courts and for this I would strongly suggest you approach an attorney to assist you and your friend in this matter. The attorney will be able to obtain all the details of the situation, peruse the documentation which have to hand and then advise as to the various options that you need to consider in this matter."
- Human resources and law expert, Karel van der Molen