Closing a business is much harder than opening one. I have several service contracts that I signed for third party companies to supply me services for the company.
Now the business has run out of money, I have tried to negotiate a closure for these contracts. Some people have been reasonable and wished me luck and others have been very difficult and unreasonable.
The worst company is an SEO company who supplies news stories in the form of an XML feed to your website. This company is called Direct News, which is part of Adfero. I signed a contract with them last year with a 3 months notice period for termination in it. I wanted to delay the start of this contract by 6 months and so that contract was annulled and a new contract with a new start date was provided.
What I didn’t realise was they had changed the termination clause from 3 months to one year.
I admit this was my mistake not spotting this change, but I signed the new contract and now the business is going down I tried to cancel the contract they have refused to terminate in less than one year.
I even offered them 3 months payment for no service, but they have been really unreasonable and have demanded full payment.
I am seeking advice on how whether I can win a case against them for them misrepresenting the new contract by not highlighting the change. They say they pointed this out in the meeting but they did not, unfortunately there is no record of this either way, so it is their word against mine.
The total outstanding amount for all three remaining months is about £7500. What is really annoying is that the news has never really done anything for the company either!
A good lesson has been learnt here on my journey to being a successful businessman and that is ‘Trust no one’, ‘Read the contract’ and ‘cover the downside’.
Added Jun 2012:
I thought I’d just add what the outcome of this was. We paid Adfero nothing. Not a penny. As Richard Branson says in his autobiography, never be afraid of legal action. Also I have since persuaded three other companies not to use Adfero. It’s a small world and it does not pay to annoy people unnecessarily!