Employment & Service

Recovery of Professional Fees

I'm a freelance professional in advertising. I had done a project in January 2016 and the company that hired me is not paying up despite repeated reminders and follow ups. There are no written contracts in our line of work but I have all the records of the communication regarding the job as well as emails discussing my fees.

Expert Advice

retain all the correspondence with the company as these are vital to prove your claim and the attitude of the company. As the claim arises out of an oral agreement you have to file an ordinary civil suit.try to convince them to issue cheque and also send perodical emails. i assume the correspondence with the company is by email and not letters, if only letters then get an email from them which admits their liability. then issue legal notice and go for civil suit if company fails to make payment

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I understand that you are a freelance professional, and hence, would not be considered as an employee. Therefore, the provisions of labour laws will not be applicable to you. Your engagement with the erring company will be on a principal to principal basis, and should ideally be governed by a contract, setting out the terms and conditions of your services to the company. As mentioned in your query, there is no written contract, however, there is evidence on email stating the work you have done and the fees agreed upon between the principals. As per the Information Technology Act, 2000, in my view, such communication on email will be considered as a valid understanding and agreement between the parties. As mentioned in your query, you have written to them on several occasions to clear your dues, which have not been honoured. In this scenario, you may proceed to send a formal legal notice to the Company seeking for your dues. If they fail to still clear your dues, then you can approach the civil court to take the dispute ahead. However, please be informed, that there are costs involved in taking the dispute to court, and all your documentation must be in order to show that there was a valid arrangement between you and the company for availing your services and a fee had been agreed to. Further, there are laws on limitation as to the time frame within which a person should institute a matter in the court of law. Based on the details of the nature of your arrangement with the company, I will be in a better position to determine the law of limitation for your case. As a precautionary measure for the future, please ensure that you have a formal agreement/ contract in place with the engaging company, to avoid disputes at a later stage with respect to payment and/or scope of work. Assumptions & Qualifications: 1. Please note that the aforesaid views are based solely on the limited facts provided to us. Further, I have not seen any documents pertaining to the validity of the issue raised. In case of any change in the facts and/or submission of documents, my views expressed above may be subject to modification. 2. The views set out above are preliminary in nature based on the summary query raised and on interpretation of applicable laws as on the date of this response. We express no view or opinion in relation to any other legal matter. 3. The views stated above are not binding on any regulatory authority or court and there can be no assurance that they will not take a contrary position. 4. I clarify that the views expressed herein above should be read as a whole and must not be read in parts and/or in isolation. 5. The aforesaid view is given solely for the benefit of the person raising the issue and in connection with the query raised, and may not, in whole or in part, be relied upon by or shown or distributed to any other person. 6. The aforesaid view is strictly limited to the summary query expressly addressed herein and is not to be read as a full fledged opinion with respect to this matter or any other matter, whether factual or legal.

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