QLD Breach of Contract - Claim Loss of Income?

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Auroch

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31 July 2017
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Hello team,

I am a painting contractor and entered into a QBCC contract to paint the external of a Queenslander style home. All contract conditions were followed before the client signed. Client paid deposit and work was started.

After a week working there, the client would not let us access the property on bogus claims our work was substandard and would not pay the first progress payment ($2,300.00). Since I am Dulux Accredited, Dulux rep inspected the work and found it well above industry standards.
I received email from the client terminating the contract.

QBCC was notified but since she has terminated the contract, dispute resolution is useless. Contacted QCAT (small claims) but they don't deal with Breach of Contracts. My only option is Court.

My question is, can I claim the amount on contract ($20,800.00) as loss of income through the courts? Would it be worth doing regarding legal costs?

Many thanks.
 

Rod

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My question is, can I claim the amount on contract ($20,800.00) as loss of income through the courts?

Yes.

Would it be worth doing regarding legal costs?

Talk to some local lawyers and ask them the question. Keep in mind if successful and you get 'costs', the costs generally don't cover all costs. Discuss this with the lawyers. I'm still to get my head around how an award of costs does not cover all legal costs.
 
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Rob Legat - SBPL

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QCAT is an option for you if you want to sue as a minor debt (ie for a liquidated sum of money). Their jurisdiction is up to $25,000.
 
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Auroch

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31 July 2017
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Thank you for your answers.

Rob, QCAT rep told me on the phone they would not deal with breach of contract? Is this not correct?
QCAT is an option for you if you want to sue as a minor debt (ie for a liquidated sum of money). Their jurisdiction is up to $25,000.
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

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Registry staff won't give legal advice, and nor should they. If you wanted to sue for specific performance of the contract, then QCAT isn't going to be your venue. However, if you want to sue them for a sum of money (a debt dispute) then you can.

Taken from QCAT's website:

"Debt disputes involve disagreements with another person, business or company about a fixed or agreed sum of money, valued up to and including $25,000. Examples of a debt dispute include:

  • unpaid invoice or account
  • work done and/or goods supplied with the cost having been agreed beforehand"
 
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Auroch

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31 July 2017
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Registry staff won't give legal advice, and nor should they. If you wanted to sue for specific performance of the contract, then QCAT isn't going to be your venue. However, if you want to sue them for a sum of money (a debt dispute) then you can.

Taken from QCAT's website:

"Debt disputes involve disagreements with another person, business or company about a fixed or agreed sum of money, valued up to and including $25,000. Examples of a debt dispute include:

  • unpaid invoice or account
  • work done and/or goods supplied with the cost having been agreed beforehand"
Thanks Rob. What I understand is this....I could go through QCAT and try get my progress payment $2,300. However, we only worked there a week when she terminated contract. I had $20,800 and 50 days secured income, or so I thought, contract signed. Would I just fill form 3 of 'unpaid debt for full amount minus deposit?
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

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You won't be able to sue them for the whole amount of the contract - I don't think any court will give you that. You can go to court and try to get an order for the contract to be completed according to its terms, meaning you do the work and they pay the money (called: specific performance). I'm not a litigator, but I don't think you'd be successful in getting such an order because the customer has already expressed dissatisfaction with the product to date; and the the resulting hassles for you and the court would be best avoided.

Instead, you can claim a liquidated sum for the work already undertaken and the costs incurred. This would probably be your progress payment, and other expenditure incurred which isn't otherwise recoverable. For example, you may have bought a specific paint that can't be returned or easily reused because it's already tinted a certain colour. To do that, you would be looking at using a Form 3.
 
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Rod

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And you can claim for lost profits.
 
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