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Breach of Contract

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 4 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Breach Of Contract

Breach of contract basically means that one or more of the terms and conditions laid out in a contract has been broken. Breaching a contract may lead to the contract breaking down completely and can easily lead to legal action and claims for damages in a law court.

Common Breaches of Contract

When any contract is made an agreement is formed between parties to carry out a service and payment for that service. 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. Breach of contract can also occur if work carried out is defective or if one party makes the other aware that they will not be carrying out the agreed work.

Breaches of contract can also include non payment for a service or not paying on time, failure to deliver services or goods, and being late with services without a reasonable excuse. Terms and conditions are a fundamental part of a legally binding contract and any broken terms can lead to breach of contract.

Types of Breach of Contract

The main types of breach of contract will be minor, material, fundamental, and anticipatory. Minor breaches can be, for example, a builder who substitutes his own type of materials for specified materials. The substituted materials may work just as well as the specified but it can still be seen as a minor breach of contract.

A material breach can be a breach that has serious consequences on the outcome of the contract. A fundamental breach would be one so serious that the contract has to be terminated. An anticipatory breach is one where one of the parties makes it known that they will not be carrying out agreed work, and the consequences can be termination of the contract and damages being sought in court.

Damages for Breach of Contract

Damages can be awarded to an innocent party if a law court upholds that a contract has been breached. Damages will be used to compensate the innocent party for their loss due to the breach. These damages are usually a remuneration that will reflect the loss. For example, if an employer dismissed an employee unfairly then the employee could claim damages for loss of earnings under breach of contract. Damages can be awarded even if there has been no actual loss, the innocent party will then usually be awarded nominal damages.

Proof of Breach

If a dispute does occur due to breach of contract then the judge will need to decide that a legally binding contract does exist and that it has been breached. In some cases the contract may only be a verbal contract and there may be no actual written evidence that a contract was formed. In such cases a judge will need to go over the terms and conditions of the contract and clarify what actually took place in practice.

Entitlement to damages may be awarded if the innocent party can prove that a breach of contract took place. The innocent party must prove that there was a loss due to the breach and that the nature of the loss would lead to compensation. Remoteness of loss will also be taken into consideration by the courts and may include future loss that could reasonably occur from the contract being broken.

Other Damages due to Breach of Contract

Other losses can include loss of profits, the cost of rectifying the breach and wasted expenditure. If disputes do end up in the law courts then the amount awarded may come down to how much documented proof the claimant has regarding financial loss. This can include actual records and document proof of financial loss due to the breach. However, if there is little proof, damages can still be awarded, this will be down to the judge ascertaining all of the facts of the case and not relying solely on documented proof.

Breaching a contract can be a serious offence and is a very common reason for lawsuits. Anyone considering court action due to breach of contract should seek expert legal advice before proceeding. Court disputes are a lengthy and costly procedure and the legal costs should be weighed up against the likely damages awarded.

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Mike- Your Question:
I decided to use a copywriter to uplift my business , they had two options of prices I decided to go for the higher price , I read contract and signed it giving half the money in cash the other half paid on completion. Two weeks later I received work , as I read one heading with 2 paragraphs I remembered I’d read this before , the 2 paragraphs I’d paid for were already on my contract which was just copied and pasted with a different heading name. the rest of the work was substandard , I complained and all I got was “I’ve always had good response from other clients “ I was told I couldn’t use the work as it was under copyright as I refused to pay the balance, I wrote back saying I was using some of the work as I’ve paid for it , she relented and said yes I could use the work , now the contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on , as I can’t use the work as it’s substandard. is the contract now worthless and can I get my money back?

Our Response:
You would have to speak to the copywriter directly, if you have no response then a letter such as the template letter here may help. If you have no response then you would have to take the matter to the small claims court for consideration, please see link here.
ContractsAndAgreements - 5-Apr-18 @ 10:21 AM
I decided to use a copywriter to uplift my business , they had two options of prices I decided to go for the higher price , I read contract and signed it giving half the money in cash the other half paid on completion. Two weeks later I received work , as I read one heading with 2 paragraphs I remembered I’d read this before , the 2 paragraphs I’d paid for were already on my contract which was just copied and pasted with a different heading name .. the rest of the work was substandard , I complained and all I got was “I’ve always had good response from other clients “ I was told I couldn’t use the work as it was under copyright as I refused to pay the balance, I wrote back saying I was using some of the work as I’ve paid for it , she relented and said yes I could use the work , now the contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on ,as I can’t use the work as it’s substandard.. is the contract now worthless and can I get my money back?
Mike - 4-Apr-18 @ 8:58 AM
neo - Your Question:
I gave ownership of a horse that I bred to what I thought was a "friend" with a contract stating that should the "friends" circumstances change then the horse is to be given back to me. We both signed copies of this agreement. 2 years on the "friend" has sold the horse without my permission. I would say this is a breach of contract? where do I stand?

Our Response:
You would have to approach the courts regarding this, as only a court can decide.
ContractsAndAgreements - 22-Mar-18 @ 12:08 PM
I gave ownership of a horse that I bred to what I thought was a "friend" with a contract stating that should the "friends" circumstances change then the horse is to be given back to me. We both signed copies of this agreement. 2 years on the "friend" has sold the horse without my permission. I would say this is a breach of contract? where do I stand?
neo - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:18 PM
Turbo - Your Question:
Hi, We did not give a full terms notice when taking our child out of a private school at the end of the summer term. The dchool are chasing us for the full terms fees for the autumn term even though they have filled the space and our child didn't attend after July. Can they sue for breach of contract even if there has been no financial loss on their part?Thanks, T

Our Response:
Yes, if the terms and conditions of your own contract state that you have to give a term's notice, the school can pursue you for this. The fact the school has filled the place is not relevant to this matter.
ContractsAndAgreements - 23-Feb-18 @ 10:35 AM
Hi, We did not give a full terms notice when taking our child out of a private school at the end of the summer term.The dchool are chasing us for the full terms fees for the autumn term even though they have filled the space and our child didn't attend after July. Can they sue for breach of contract even if there has been no financial loss on their part? Thanks, T
Turbo - 22-Feb-18 @ 2:42 PM
Nina - Your Question:
I seek advice please. I bought 20 hours of dance lessons to be paid off monthly over 13months at a dance school. I started competing at the SA dance board half way through my contract and my instructor is not familiar with the dance steps needed to compete. I have to show him the steps in order for him to help me. I decided to cancel my contract as the dance school is not helping me to progress. My lessons stopped with immediate effect half way through the month even though I paid in advance and was told I am in breach of contract and must pay for the following month a 30 notice without lessons and a 30% penalty fee of my remaining hours which added up to over R4000. How am I in breach of contract if they are unable to help me?

Our Response:
We can only answer questions regarding UK-based contracts and agreements, as we are a UK-based site. You would have to take your complaint up directly with the dance school.
ContractsAndAgreements - 22-Feb-18 @ 2:19 PM
I seek advice please .I bought 20 hours of dance lessons to be paid off monthly over 13months at a dance school. I started competing at the SA dance board half way throughmy contract and my instructor is not familiar with the dance steps needed to compete. I have to show him the steps in order for him to help me. I decided to cancel my contract as the dance school is not helping me to progress. My lessons stopped with immediate effect half way through the month even though I paid in advanceand was told I am in breach of contract andmust pay for the following month a 30 notice without lessons and a30% penalty fee of my remaininghours which added up to over R4000. How am I in breach of contract if they are unable to help me?
Nina - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:51 AM
Entered into a contract for internal work in my property, namely a completley new, bathroom, consisting of of low level shower tray, shower, hand basin, toilet, marble effect wall boards. Contract was for approx 5 days, accordingto any possible unforseen problems. Commenced on Aug 8th, 2017, completed Jan 2018!!!!!!!!!!! Is this a definite breach of contract
woody - 16-Feb-18 @ 4:32 PM
We hired a lighted backdrop and was damaged by wine being spilt on fabric not known by who maybe venue I’m now being threatened with county court. At wedding fayre we signed a agreement form stating only what we were having and how much on date and venue. They never mentioned damages etc I assumed they are covered by their insurance only document I have is a receipt to say I paid cash in full they are trying to make me pay for replacement of whole thing and loss of future weddings how do I stand
Tina - 31-Dec-17 @ 3:16 PM
@Veljibhai - do you have to pay for the terminal? You'd have to ring them and ask for their complaints procedure first and put in a complaint. This will allow them to try to resolve the issue.
HN - 19-Dec-17 @ 10:11 AM
I got a credit card terminal for 48 month term the agent told me that a new upgraded terminal shall be sent. However after 5-6 months later and despite chasing them up there was no new terminal. Would this be a breach of contract? They state as i was able to use their old terminal it is not? But if you signed up for a new iPhone and did not receive one can the supplier say you still had the old one so it is not a breach?
Veljibhai - 18-Dec-17 @ 1:30 PM
I recently signed a new 24 month phone plan with a mobile metwork, the contract specifically states that it is for a limited edition mobile phone. In store I was told that they were not 100% certain that it is the correct device they have in stock and I cannot check it until I have paid the upfront cost and the monthly fee. I was reassured by other staff members of the store that they were 100% certain that it was the correct device before I signed the contract. After signing and paying the fee I was allowed to check the device which turns out to be different to the device specified in the contract, although they are similar in functionality they are different. The manager has verbally agreed to rectify the issue and provide me with the correct phone, however the device is now sold out and will not be restocked as the manufacturer has stated that there are limited numbers of them so they will not be making any more and I have already paid the costs. I have already informed their company’s customer services but I have yet to receive a reply and the manager has only replied that he will contact me if they do get the device. What can I do? The new contract and device was intended to replace my current plan and phone, but now I’m having to pay for 2 phone contacts even though I cannot use one of them.
Lee - 29-Nov-17 @ 7:36 PM
I bought a PS4 in the Black Friday sales with a game bundle.I received a PS4 missing the game bundle.Game bundle is worth over £120 if games are purchased afterwards, however console retail price is selling at £299 regardless of whether or not it comes with the game bundle they have now sold out of the console with the games bundle (along with other stores too) and prices are going to rise if I don't get it sorted by today due to it being a Black Friday weekend deal. Obviously I'd prefer the games instead of the refund because if I got a refund then that would mean I'd have to then chase round trying to get another bundle with the games in before the end of Black Friday, or pay more for the console.As my receipt clearly states the games should be in there, if they are unable to supply the games could I purchase the games independently and then send them the bill for breach of contract for the cost of the games, as this is extra costs that I've incurred due to them not fulfilling their end of the contract which included the games, or if I got a refund and ended up having to spend more on the console due to missing the Black Friday deal could I claim that from them as I would have bought the console with the games at £299 if they had completed their end of the contract?Also if I need to take the console back could I also claim mileage from them as due to us being rural we live 60 miles from their nearest store?
darren - 26-Nov-17 @ 6:26 AM
Hi I opened an online casino account and I have never been able to withdraw from my account. This is a breach of the terms and conditions of the contract. The casino seem to be constantly claiming they can't understand why payment is not being made to me. As this was one way traffic and a breach of contract. Could I make a claim for the funds I deposited or at the very least the funds I attempted to withdraw. Please advise me before I take potentially expensive legal action. Thank you
Georgy - 24-Nov-17 @ 4:58 AM
Sur - Your Question:
Having agreed the place, time and date, and having a contract signed by both parties and paid in full, the wedding photographer failed to turn up at the correct location, at the correct time. He had to beg a lift from a hotel manager to drive him to the correct location after the wedding had taken place, he has no working fones connected to the business, although three separate numbers are listed for him, so we could not contact him. He has admitted that he was at fault, and it was his errors that caused the problems. He promised a full refund, then told us he had a cash flow problem and would be paying his own bills before refunding us. We have been polite in our dealings (although very hard) and nearly three months after the wedding we still haven’t had a refund. The money paid to him in full was over five months ago. He can only be contacted via messenger on his Facebook page. He has a studio but we are so angry, that a confrontation, however hard we will try, will end in an argument that we don’t need at this time due to stress from a medical emergency with a family member. Please help? Is the legal route the only way to go now?

Our Response:
Yes, a letter advising that if he does not pay by a specific date, then you will refer the matter to court. If you have evidence where the photographer says he is at fault and a refund has been offered, then in theory you will have no trouble getting a refund through the small claims court.
ContractsAndAgreements - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:08 PM
Having agreed the place, time and date, and having a contract signed by both parties and paid in full, the wedding photographer failed to turn up at the correct location, at the correct time. He had to beg a lift from a hotel manager to drive him to the correct location after the wedding had taken place, he has no working fones connected to the business, although three separate numbers are listed for him, so we could not contact him. He has admitted that he was at fault, and it was his errors that caused the problems. He promised a full refund, then told us he had a cash flow problem and would be paying his own bills before refunding us. We have been polite in our dealings (although very hard) and nearly three months after the wedding we still haven’t had a refund. The money paid to him in full was over five months ago. He can only be contacted via messenger on his Facebook page. He has a studio but we are so angry, that a confrontation, however hard we will try, will end in an argument that we don’t need at this time due to stress from a medical emergency with a family member. Please help? Is the legal route the only way to go now?
Sur - 6-Nov-17 @ 11:48 PM
Hi, I am a limited company and a customer has brought their van to me and asked me to convert it into a motorhome. The initial verbal agreement was for 50% upfront to start the work and the final 50% of the invoice on completion. The customer has paid 50% of the invoice for me to start the work and the van is halfway through being converted. The customer has now verbally informed me that they are unable to pay for any more work to be done and would not be able to settle the balance. I have subsequently informed the customer that I am not going to do any more work until I receive further payment based on the fact that he has told me he is unable to settle the balance. The vehicle is currently not drivable as it is part way through the conversion. QUESTION If I do not receive further payment am I entitled to assume that the contract is null and void/breached? How many days am I required to give the customer to make further payment before I can claim breach of contract?
Jimnibob - 5-Nov-17 @ 6:03 PM
Hi, I am a limited company and a customer has brought their van to me and asked me to convert it into a motorhome. The initial verbal agreement was for 50% upfront to start the work and the final 50% of the invoice on completion. The customer has paid 50% of the invoice for me to start the work and the van is halfway through being converted. The customer has now verbally informed me that they are unable to pay for any more work to be done and would not be able to settle the balance. I have subsequently informed the customer that I am not going to do any more work until I receive further payment based on the fact that he has told me he is unable to settle the balance. The vehicle is currently not drivable as it is part way through the conversion. QUESTION If I do not receive further payment am I entitled to assume that the contract is null and void/breached? How many days am I required to give the customer to make further payment before I can claim breach of contract?
Jimnibob - 5-Nov-17 @ 5:25 PM
I have a limited company, myself and one other. We were both directors and 50% shareholders but the company only generated enough income for one person. So we agreed that he should buy me out for £5,000 and I would retain 5% and the company would continue paying my mobile phone as it was contracted until Jan 2019 and the number was mine before the company started. I was to resign as director and hand over control to him, which I have done. After 2 weeks he contacted me and said he had spoken to the company accountant and they had agreed the company was not worth much and he did'nt want to give me £5,000, he started to say "how about £2,500" which I then reminded him of our agreement I have E mails sent to the accountant laying out the agreement (not the mobile phone part) and amount. I do have e mails where he agrees to send me a PAC code for the phone. I refused the offer of a lower amount and ended the call, 2 days later he sent an e mail saying "I have spoken with EE today regards your mobile phone number ending 599.As you are aware we are in contract with this phone, you have two options: Pay me £255.99 and I will end your mobile phone contract this will free up the number Call EE on ************** and take over the ownership of this mobile ending 599 , you will need to use the temporary password of ********* If I have not heard from you within 14 days I will assume you no longer wish to retain the mobile number ending 599 and report the phone as missing. But within 24 hours he had reported the phone stolen and the phone now does not work........ Any advice would be warmly welcomed.
Madhatta1 - 29-Sep-17 @ 9:26 PM
Charlie bucket - Your Question:
My neighbours and I had a boundary dispute which was about a year ago. We finally came to an agreement to share use of a small piece of land between our properties. This agreement was reached and filmed on police body camera. I have a copy of the detailed civil agreement video which I had to apply for and pay a small fee. During our agreement I was granted responsibly to maintain the land which we would share. Fast forward a year later my neighbours have constructed a pack of lies, false witness statements, a surveyor report which is mathematically impossible. Question, does this agreement constitute breach of contract or another description?

Our Response:
Unless the agreement was reached in court, then there is no real agreement, or let's say; it is open to challenge. However, if you both cannot agree and the matter has to go to court, then the agreement can be used as evidence that an agreement was made. The court will then decide on your behalf how the land should be divided. If your neighbours have produced false witness statements, these will be questioned by the courts.
ContractsAndAgreements - 29-Sep-17 @ 10:39 AM
My neighbours and I had a boundary dispute which was about a year ago. We finally came to an agreement to share use of a small piece of land between our properties. This agreement was reached and filmed on police body camera. I have a copy of the detailed civil agreement video which I had to apply for and pay a small fee. During our agreement I was granted responsibly to maintain the land which we would share. Fast forward a year later my neighbours have constructed a pack of lies, false witness statements, a surveyor report which is mathematically impossible. Question, does this agreement constitute breach of contract or another description?
Charlie bucket - 28-Sep-17 @ 4:41 PM
I bought a horse with a 14 day warranty the horse was not suitable for my needs , I contacted seller and was told they didn't have the money but would exchange it or resell it on my behalf . I was not told this I expected my money back .
Terri - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:08 PM
I bought a horse with a 14 day warranty, the horse is not suitable for my requirements, I contacted seller and they have said they will exchange it or resell it on my behalf. I just want my money back
Terri - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:05 PM
Hi...virgin media shared my sensitive information with a 3rd party NOT agreed to...they sent an email with my account details bank details etc to another person..the person that lived at my address before me..i had never given them her email address etc and so ended my contract with them cos its a clear breach...but..am i entitled to my money back that ive paid?!! Or anything else
Bob90 - 16-Sep-17 @ 6:49 AM
@None - if you gave the home-owner a price to do the job, then you have to honour that price, even if it puts you out of pocket.
RogerU - 24-Aug-17 @ 12:36 PM
I done some work in a house price the work for the hole plastering and the painter cam at the last thing done sone rooms up stairs and took 900pounds and left but I had a contract with the home owner now there's no money left for painting what shall I do
None - 23-Aug-17 @ 7:11 PM
Jeremy Smith is a keen football player. Jeremy is 16 years old and a Year 10 student at Xavier College in Ba. The Ba Football Association (BFA) approached Jeremy’s dad, Doctor Andrew Smith to request his permission to allow Jeremy to play for the MEN IN BLACK Ba Soccer Team. Dr Andrew agreed and signed the consent form under two conditions. The conditions are that Jeremy’s training and games will not disturb his school work and secondly that Jeremy will only play home games. Dr Andrew was busy in his practice when Mr. Taito the Human Resource Manager for BFA approached him with the contract.He did not fully read the contract before signing it that he was not aware that the contract also includes away games. In Dr Andrew’s conversation with Mr. Taito before signing the contract, the later reassured that Jeremy will not be playing on tour games. Jeremy executed the contract with the BFA which embodied the conditions set by his father. The contract was for a period of three years with a remuneration of FJD$500 per game. The clause on Termination stated that, One month Notice in writing by both parties. The BFA reassured Dr Andrew that Jeremy’s studies will be their priority. Jeremy’s performance increases every game and the team and management are all very fond of him. In the second year of Jeremy’s contract, the Team Management approached Jeremy if he could play away games. Jeremy accepted the proposal made by the Team Management and started playing away games without his father’s knowledge. One day, Dr Andrew was watching Fiji One Sports programme when it shows Jeremy playing in Lautoka the previous Saturday. Dr. Andrew got angry that he forbids Jeremy from attending any more training or games with the Ba Soccer Team. Jeremy failed to turn up for training or games. Two weeks later Dr Andrew received a “Demand Letter” (the Letter) from Mr. Kishore of KISHORE LAW, BFA’s Solicitor which claimed for damages in the total sum of FJD$30,000.00 (Thirty Thousand Dollars) for breach of contract. The Letter clearly stated that “according to the contract, Dr Andrew does not have the power to stop Jeremy for performing his contractual duties.” Dr Andrew was not aware that this was part of the contract he signed. If Dr Andrew fail to adhere to this demand within 21 days; Mr. Kishore will institute a claim in court. Dr Andrew approached you for Representation. Your Instruction is to draft a Reply to the Demand Letter to Mr. Kishore defending your client’s rights.
Jay - 16-Aug-17 @ 9:27 AM
I entered into an agreement with my finance company to pay aredused rate for three months ...half payment I paid 2 instalments half .but managed a full on the third time .but without worningthey turned my car off so I couldn't drive it .even after I paid and before it was due again ..i lost my job as a result of not being able to contact them in time.As I was a courier... can I have them for breach of contract...as im an able to pay now
Leon - 14-Aug-17 @ 9:21 PM
Thank you for your reply about my issue with the caravan which was dirty on arrival. Before I go to the small claims court. he wanted me to wAit in Butlins whilst he arranged the cleaners to clean it,but I just went home due to the state of the caravan. I have contacted him again and totally refused my money back saying that the cleaners would give me a £20 in compensation due to not cleaning my caravan before I got there. Could you please let me know if I still have s case of getting my money back. Thank you
Mm - 13-Aug-17 @ 4:02 PM
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