Cancelling Domestic Cleaning Contract

Cancelling Domestic Cleaning Contract

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romeogolf

Original Poster:

1,687 posts

62 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
On 24th June we met with a local cleaning company to arrange regular cleaning at our home. We discussed our requirements and the options and the company would hire a local cleaner for us. She presented us with a digital contract which we could sign on her iPad.

We agreed on 24th June that we wanted a cleaner to start with us from August, and she explained that we could cancel within two weeks of the date of signing (so up until 8th July).

The format of this agreement is that we pay the cleaner themselves an hourly rate of around £10/hr (but this is agreed directly with the cleaner who visits) and we pay the agency £3.95/hr for sourcing and insuring the cleaner. Once sourced, the cleaner will visit us at home to meet us and discuss what we'd like them to do.

It is now 2nd August and, despite chasing the agency, we have not got a cleaner. The last response we had was last week saying:

Many thanks for your email. I am busy sourcing you a cleaner. I have noted that you require a cleaner in August and I am hoping to have some news for you. However, at this time of year my search has been more difficult because of the school holiday. A lot of the cleaners are going on holiday and some are not willing to take on more work until September when the kids are back to school. We are advertising on Facebook and Gum tree as well as other streams to attract new cleaners. As it is getting nearer your start date I will keep you posted on my progress.

I'm getting irritated. If I'm paying a £4/hr premium above what I could get by finding someone myself, I would have thought the agency might have had a list of local cleaners or some sort of more professional method of sourcing them. I've been recommended a cleaner by a friend who is significantly cheaper and free to start immediately. As such, I'd like to cancel the agreement.

Under termination and cancellation, this is what the contract says... (the 'right to cancel' part is just saying we can cancel within 2 weeks of signing) - Apologies for formatting. I've also tried to remove all references to the name of the company.

Contract said:
9. TERMINATION
9.1
[Cleaning Agency] may terminate the Agreement at any time by giving not less than one calendar month's notice in writing to the Householder. In such
circumstances, the balance (if any) of the Retainer for the period after expiry of the notice shall be refunded to the Householder. Clauses 9.5 - 9.7 shall
continue to apply.
9.2
The Householder may terminate the Agreement to take effect at any time after the initial 13 week period by giving not less than one calendar month's notice in
writing to [Cleaning Agency]. In such circumstances, the balance (if any) of the Retainer for the period after expiry of the notice shall be refunded to the
Householder unless expiry of the notice falls within the initial period in which case the Agreement shall terminate immediately after the initial period and without
refund. If for whatever reason the initial payment has not been made to [Cleaning Agency] at the time the Householder serves notice of termination, the
Householder shall remain liable to make such payment to [Cleaning Agency]. Clauses 9.5 - 9.7 shall continue to apply. (The provisions of this Clause 9.2 do not
affect the rights of the Householder in respect of cancellation as set out in Clause 10.)
9.3
Notwithstanding Clause 9.1, where the Householder has committed a serious breach of the terms of the Agreement, [Cleaning Agency] is entitled to terminate the
Agreement immediately on written notice to the Householder, and, where applicable, [Cleaning Agency] shall take further action in connection with the said serious
breach. Clauses 9.5 - 9.7 shall continue to apply.
9.4
Notwithstanding Clause 9.2, where [Cleaning Agency] has committed a serious breach of the terms of the Agreement, the Householder is entitled to terminate the
Agreement immediately on written notice to [Cleaning Agency]. In such circumstances, the balance of the Retainer for the remainder of the then current quarter
shall be refunded to the Householder. In these circumstances, the remainder of this Clause 9 shall not apply to the Householder.
9.5
For a period of twelve months following termination of the Agreement for any reason, the Householder shall not engage, directly or indirectly, as an employee,
contractor, agent or otherwise any Cleaner who has been introduced by [Cleaning Agency] to the Householder. If the Householder does so engage a Cleaner in
contravention of this Clause, then [Cleaning Agency] shall institute proceedings against the Householder to recover damages and costs.
9.6
Where the Householder cancels the standing order/direct debit mandate without giving one calendar month's notice to [Cleaning Agency] in writing, [Cleaning Agency]
reserves the right to charge the Householder for any reasonable expenses incurred in respect of that cancellation in addition to any outstanding fee that
remains due and payable plus interest.
9.7
It is the responsibility of the Householder to ensure that the standing order mandate paying the Retainer to [Cleaning Agency] is cancelled by the Householder's
bank upon termination of the Agreement. Payments received for any period after the Agreement has terminated shall incur an administration charge of up to a
maximum of £25, the actual amount to be the costs and expenses incurred by [Cleaning Agency] in returning any such payment.
10. CANCELLATION
10.1
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please refer to the Notice of the Right to Cancel which forms part of this Agreement. The following provisions of this Clause are in
addition to, and shall not affect, the statutory rights of the Householder as a consumer.
10.2
Under The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 the Householder has a right to cancel the contract within
14 days starting after the date the contract is entered into. The Householder may but is not obliged to give the cancellation in accordance with the attached Notice of the Right to Cancel. [Cleaning Agency] shall not be obliged to provide the services until the expiry of the 14 day cancellation period.
If the Householder has requested in writing that [Cleaning Agency] provide services prior to the expiry of the 14 day cancellation period [Cleaning Agency] shall be entitled to charge (or deduct from any retainer payment) a sum of £50 or any advance retainer set out in the contract (whichever is the greater) and the Householder shall lose their right to cancel within 14 days. If the Householder has not made any payment under the contract any charges pursuant to this clause shall be due and payable upon written request.
10.3 The provisions of Clauses 9.5 to 9.7 shall apply on cancellation of the Agreement under this Clause.
10.4 The provisions of Clause 10.2 shall not apply if the Householder terminates the Agreement in response to a serious breach by [Cleaning Agency].
Can I cancel this contract based on the fact that it's now 2nd August and we've not received clear communication of when services will start? Or is there any other way I can cancel? I'd be happy to pay a fee for their work so far in attempting to source a cleaner if that's generally considered the fairest way but wouldn't know how to work out what would be an appropriate figure. I don't want to end up stuck in a contract waiting for them to actually find someone to do the work for us being in a state of limbo where at any point they might find someone and start charging.

herewego

8,810 posts

156 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
There doesn't seem to be a minimum number of hours agreed so, if they find a cleaner for you, you can just give them zero hours and employ someone else to do the work.

romeogolf

Original Poster:

1,687 posts

62 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
herewego said:
There doesn't seem to be a minimum number of hours agreed so, if they find a cleaner for you, you can just give them zero hours and employ someone else to do the work.
The first page of the contract outlines the hours agreed. It says 2.5 hours per week as this is what we originally discussed, but a few days after signing the original agreement my other half and I decided 3 hours per fortnight would suit us better so we had this change confirmed by email (although there was no new contract sent).

mgv8

1,360 posts

214 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
If you do not have a cleaner then no service has been provided. Stop it now and find some one that can do the job.

Doofus

9,363 posts

116 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
romeogolf said:
The first page of the contract outlines the hours agreed. It says 2.5 hours per week as this is what we originally discussed, but a few days after signing the original agreement my other half and I decided 3 hours per fortnight would suit us better so we had this change confirmed by email (although there was no new contract sent).
So the worst case is that you pay the agency £77 before you can cancel? £3.95 x 3 x (13÷2)

I'd be tempted to tell them that their inability to meet their obligations thus far renders the contract null, and tell them to whistle for it.

They're not likely to spend a lot of time persuing you for eighty quid.
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romeogolf

Original Poster:

1,687 posts

62 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
Typically, as I'm writing the email to cancel the services they've called to say they've found a cleaner. Will have to see how it goes and if it's worth keeping the contract.

R8Steve

3,897 posts

118 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
So the company you've went to charges you an additional 40% of all future cleaning bills for simply putting an advert up on facebook/gumtree to find a cleaner?

Think i might have to look into that as a business idea myself. hehe

romeogolf

Original Poster:

1,687 posts

62 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
R8Steve said:
So the company you've went to charges you an additional 40% of all future cleaning bills for simply putting an advert up on facebook/gumtree to find a cleaner?

Think i might have to look into that as a business idea myself. hehe
I know, that's why I'm pretty irritated. I thought it was an agency that has a bank of staff and they allocate one to your home. No, they just put someone in touch with you and offer insurance in case they break anything. I think I've already made the decision to cancel at the end of the initial term.

SantaBarbara

3,244 posts

51 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
You could say that the contract is now void due to non performance

xxChrisxx

537 posts

64 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
R8Steve said:
So the company you've went to charges you an additional 40% of all future cleaning bills for simply putting an advert up on facebook/gumtree to find a cleaner?

Think i might have to look into that as a business idea myself. hehe
But it's not 40% for just an advert is it... It's a 40% premium for warranting and insuring the job.

So when they send a cleaner that lacks dexterity and smashes one's finest Ming Vase, one has recourse.

somejohn

43 posts

92 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
It's probably a little late for you now, but we hired a cleaner via hassle.com (now helpling.co.uk) and have received a really good service: we've literally never even had to contact Hassle/Helping, just use the website to book cleans (and now text the cleaner directly).

They process payment too so I've no-doubt that they take a portion before passing the money on to our cleaner, but the agency you're using sounds like a bit of a racket in comparison!

creampuff

6,471 posts

86 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
In the new world of zero hours contracts, casual employment, people working with no contracts, low pay, migrant labour etc.......

You don't need to agree to a fixed number of hours, you don't need to pay an agent and you don't need to pay if you are away for a week. Supply exceeds demand.

creampuff

6,471 posts

86 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
In the new world of zero hours contracts, casual employment, people working with no contracts, low pay, migrant labour etc.......

You don't need to agree to a fixed number of hours, you don't need to pay an agent and you don't need to pay if you are away for a week. Supply exceeds demand.

romeogolf

Original Poster:

1,687 posts

62 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
xxChrisxx said:
But it's not 40% for just an advert is it... It's a 40% premium for warranting and insuring the job.

So when they send a cleaner that lacks dexterity and smashes one's finest Ming Vase, one has recourse.
If I had anything quite so expensive I'd have accidental cover on my own home insurance and would make sure it's covered under that!

SantaBarbara

3,244 posts

51 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
I think that you should terminate the contract because they have been too slow

R8Steve

3,897 posts

118 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
xxChrisxx said:
R8Steve said:
So the company you've went to charges you an additional 40% of all future cleaning bills for simply putting an advert up on facebook/gumtree to find a cleaner?

Think i might have to look into that as a business idea myself. hehe
But it's not 40% for just an advert is it... It's a 40% premium for warranting and insuring the job.

So when they send a cleaner that lacks dexterity and smashes one's finest Ming Vase, one has recourse.
Warranting? They won't have a clue who they're sending by the sounds of it so will have no idea if they are good, bad or indifferent.

Public liability Insurance, about £100 per year

Still sounds like a good business model to me for circa 40% profit.

wibble cb

1,712 posts

150 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
Or 100% if you never 'find' a cleaner(maybe that was the intent??), then simply invoice for your 'fee' and see who is daft enough to cough up, then repeat ad nausuem, or am I too cynical?

So

15,823 posts

165 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
romeogolf said:
Can I cancel this contract based on the fact that it's now 2nd August and we've not received clear communication of when services will start? Or is there any other way I can cancel? I'd be happy to pay a fee for their work so far in attempting to source a cleaner if that's generally considered the fairest way but wouldn't know how to work out what would be an appropriate figure. I don't want to end up stuck in a contract waiting for them to actually find someone to do the work for us being in a state of limbo where at any point they might find someone and start charging.
romeogolf, tell them to foxtrotoscar and find your own cleaner. Nothing will happen.

Good luck with cleaners though, we've employed dozens and dozens over the years and, amongst some horrors, had some properly interesting ones. One quite attractive one had an apparent fetish about being a chamber maid and used to kneel in front of the fire in her tight skirt, arse in the air, mending the fire. Another one was caught pleasuring our dog.


R8Steve

3,897 posts

118 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
So said:
Another one was caught pleasuring our dog.
WTF?! eek

So

15,823 posts

165 months

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
quotequote all
R8Steve said:
So said:
Another one was caught pleasuring our dog.
WTF?! eek
Nutty Nicola. Bumped into her recently actually, now a cleaner at a local health spa.