What to do if the customer delays the acceptance of work


In my practice, I have repeatedly encountered the consequences of incorrect actions when transmitting the result of work. The result was sad.

I want to share my experience in resolving the issue.

Typical example

Pre-design study for the implementation of 1C. Prepayment of 50 percent. The contractor completed the work and threw it by e-mail to the customer.

Miracles begin. Always promptly responding customer does not give feedback. An important meeting, summing up annual results, blockage of work, etc.

Week, second, month, two months. Silence. Finally, it is possible to make an appointment with management. In the office of the General Director, the contractor will find out amazing things: the work is not of high quality, all possible dates have passed, interest has been lost, there will be no payment for the second part. “If you want to sue, let’s do it, we will take the prepayment back from you.”

The sad performer resigns himself to the loss of money and the client.

A militant performer runs to the lawyers and finds out that his position is weak and unpromising.

What happened

Unfortunately, the contractor only looked at the contract when it was signed. And most likely on the page "signatures of the parties." The contract indicated that the result should not be transmitted by e-mail, but by courier on 4 CD - R discs in an iron box. Also, the text of the contract contains the condition that if the delay in transmitting the result lasts longer than one month, the customer can cancel the contract and demand that the advance payment be returned as “lost interest”. With a delay of 2 months and incorrectly transferred results, the contractor must say thank you that the customer did not demand the money back.

Who's guilty?

Yes, the customer is a radish. He deliberately took time not to pay for the second half of the work. Now he will find a new company and save, because part of the work has already been done for him at a 50% discount. But will this awareness help the performer?

Courts do not consider such arguments. When making decisions, they are guided by the documents exchanged between the parties.

The dialogue in the meeting will be short:

Court: Did you complete the work?
Artist: Yes.
S: Have you sent the result?
And: Yes.
S: Sent as written in the contract?
And: No, but you understand ...
S: Thank you, enough. The act is signed?
Performer: - No, but you understand ...
Court: - Thank you, you can sit down.

After half an hour, you get a decision to refuse the claim for debt collection.

What to do

If you see the first signs of tightening on the part of the customer, use the following algorithm:
1. Carefully study the contract as the result should be sent.
2. Carefully examine whether you have done EVERYTHING that is stipulated by the agreement, and did not agree on anything in words.
3. To forward the result of work together with 2 copies of the act of delivery - acceptance of work signed on its part.
4. If the result in accordance with the contract can be transmitted by e-mail - still be safe. Duplicate by courier or a valuable letter with a list.
5. Save the shipment receipt. Please note - couriers sometimes sin by the accuracy of filling out the form and you still have a copy in your hands from which you can not make out anything. Better take a pen and fill it all yourself.

Congratulations. Now you have in your hands a confirmation of the proper execution of the contract. You have a strong position both in the negotiation process and in court (if the work is really done well).

And if the act is not signed by the customer?

Existing court practice recognizes a unilateral act if:
• there is confirmation of the performance of work;
• the result of the work and the act were sent to the customer;
• the customer will not submit motivated claims.

For those interested, insert the legal text.
Clause 4 of Article 753 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation provides for the possibility of drawing up a unilateral act of acceptance of the result of work. The said norm protects the interests of the contractor if the customer unreasonably refused the proper execution of documents certifying acceptance. So, in accordance with the indicated rule of law, when one of the parties refuses to sign the act, it makes a note about it and the act is signed by the other party. Consequently, in case of an unreasonable refusal of the customer to sign the certificate of work performed by the contractor, the unilateral certificate of work performed can also be a proper confirmation of the actual performance of work for the amount specified in this act. The obligation to prove the validity of the motives for refusing to accept the work performed is assigned by law to the customer; if such evidence is not provided by the customer, the unilateral act of acceptance of the work performed is appropriate and sufficient evidence of the actual performance by the contractor of the work. (Resolution of the Eighth Arbitration Court of Appeal of 09.19.2014 N 08АП-7947/2014 in the case of N A46-15719 / 2013)

A couple more observations

• Errors with the transfer of the result of work arise when the Contractor had to work according to the template of the Customer. As a result, the Contractor’s employees work on business processes and do not suspect that sending the result by electronic means is not enough in this case.
• Sometimes a project simply ceases to be relevant to the customer. The leader “burned out”, top managers changed, another direction of development was chosen. Be alert after the first calls. They always exist.
• If the customer offers to “take a break for a couple of months” - this is a potentially dangerous situation. Offer to sign an additional agreement where the suspension will be officially agreed. If the customer refuses, direct the work performed to this moment and the act.
• Most often, the described situation occurs with large offline companies - builders, hypermarkets, banks, etc. Their legal departments are perfectly aware of the contract and dozens of times carried out such a feint.
• The more carefully you follow the procedure in the contract, the lower the risk of being thrown. If it is completely unrealistic to comply with the contract, it may be worth considering whether you need such an order.

Instead of a conclusion

So, if the customer disappears - look at the contract and check whether you sent the result of the work correctly. Submit the act. Then you can call, search, write, meet. The reverse sequence leads to a loss of money.

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