Where do I stand legally?


New Member
Hi Guy's

New to the site but am in need of some good sound legal advise.
I have been freelancing for 2 years now but have no legal forms. I do some work for an agency and their clients. There has been an error on a logo on a job which was checked by the client and the agency. If the client spots the mistake this may be costly. The agency is holding back paying any of my invoices until the end of the month. If nothing has been picked up by then they will pay me.

Who is legally responsible? Could I be sued by the agency? We don't have a written contract. There are just T&S's which accompany every PO when the job is complete.


I would say it's up to them to check anything that's sent off to the client. The client probably isn't even aware that their work has been outsourced and the agency is likely passing it off as their own work.

Without a contract it's messy, but in your defence, you never agreed to accept responsibility for mistakes. EVERYTHING should be checked by the agency first before it goes off to the client.
I do believe the client thinks this is all done in-house and not freelanced out, so you may have a valid point there. However, are they within there rights to withhold paying invoices, even on jobs for their other clients which are complete and correct? Started to panic a bit when they asked if I had Business Insurance...
I'd recommend seeking legal advice from someone who will be able to tell you directly where you stand in this situation. It sounds to me like they're planning on putting the blame all on you, when I think it's fair to say that both parties have an equal responsibility to check for errors before going to print, especially as they're acting as a go-between.

The agency is holding back paying any of my invoices until the end of the month. If nothing has been picked up by then they will pay me.

Are the invoices all related to this job, or are they for different projects?
There was a slight mistake on the logo, once this was flagged, all future jobs were updated with the correct logo, so all invoices after the event were different jobs and a others were for a different client completely. I wonder if there is some ruling that if a mistake isn't picked up within so many day's, then it can't be claimed against, which may be why they are holding off payment until the end of the month!?

Thanks for your help. Think I'll hold my breath until the end of April, and then seek legal advice if needs be.
In this situation the most they can do is give you a telling off and/or choose not to use you again. They have NO right to withhold/suspend your wages, unless something far more serious is going on? It's your responsibility to get things right and it's their responsibility to check that you have got things right. You have every right to demand to be paid on time for your time and service. They are bang out of order. Unless i'm missing the bigger picture here?
The agency probably are viewing this as them potentially having to pay quite a lot to have the whole job reprinted/refunded if it get's picked up. (even though in the grand scheme of things, it wont have affected the outcome of the mailing in the least). The worry is that if that happened they may refuse to pay me and not use me in the future, even though I have worked with them for quite a while without any issues and on other jobs not related to this one.

Does anyone know where I can get hold of some good legal forms to use going forward just to cover myself in future? and do I just need the basics - 'final checking of artwork is down to the client and I won't be held responsible for any errors picked up after printing'?... or the likes...
They could have the decency to at least pay you half your wages now and half at an agreed date. You, like everyone else, have to pay bills, keep food in the fridge, keep a roof over your head and live - no matter if they pay £100 p/w or £1000 p/w its the principle. No matter what happens if they refuse to pay you, you should look to work for another agency, as if they pull this stunt once, they'll do it again. Before you know it, you'll be working for free. If you are keen to continue to work for them, in the mean time you can draw yourself up a simple contract and if necessary, negotiate certain terms for both parties to sign. But to be honest it shouldn't need to come to that, as they should do what's right.
It sounds like your freelancing career with this agency is over! If they're trying to play c**ts tricks like this then you wont be seeing any more work from them and tbh, would you really want to?

I would write them a letter stating that all outstanding invoices (list each one) must be paid in full within X days. Until payment is received you, as the creator of the artwork assume legal ownership to all copyright relating to those invoices and will take legal action to recover costs and damages incurred due to the illegal reproduction, distribution and sale of your artwork.
Thanks for all your comments. I will see what happens by the 30th April, when they said they would pay pending the mistake being spotted by client. Then it may be legal advise if needed. Thanks!
This whole thing sounds v. fishy to me, the fishiest aspect being that people are keeping their head down and hoping that the client pays up before they notice that they've been stiffed with inferior work. What kind of a mistake are we talking about? Is it something that might irritate the client a little bit or is there the potential for it to land them in trouble or otherwise create actual difficulties?

Generally, if the agency were contracted for the work, they must surely take full responsibility for messing up. It's muddied a little bit by your relationship with the agency (do you have a contract with them which requires liability insurance? - that would be the usual arrangement) and their sign-off arrangements with the client but I'd guess that they're the ones with direct responsibility. It depends on the values and practices of the organisations involved, but many standard contracts also prohibit the use of sub contractors for the completion of work.

Get paid, get out, and let us know how you get on.
Legally you are in a good position. You have supplied the artwork and they have accepted it and also your invoices so they are obliged to pay. They could only sue for negligence or malice which they would have to prove. I had a problem getting payment from an agency once so threatened to tell their client they had outsourced the job to us and wow did we get paid quick by the agency. Last job we did for them though :icon_biggrin:
Where did the mistake originate?

Were you asked to do something and then did it, but made an error?

Were you asked to do something and did as specified, but then they realised they made the error in the spec to you?

Did you send proofing forms with all your work which specified you were not responsible for any errors and it's up to the client to ensure that all changes are thoroughly checked before proceeding to press?

A contract isn't a legal document drafted by a lawyer - you don't have a legal document when you go shopping - you enter a legal agreement at a shop by identifying the items you want to purchase and you exchange those goods for the marked monetary price. In essence, you make a legal contracts everyday doing everyday transactions.

What will make a huge difference is keeping a hold of any and all emails identifying what payments were agreed on and the fact they signed off on these proofs and technically agreed to honour their end of the deal with a monetary exchange for that good.

If they have decided that there is a mistake and it's too late to change it - then it's wholly upon them as their error.

If you supplied what you were asked to for the agreed exchange then they should pay up.

*not a lawyer
The sad news is that if it's a paltry amount of cash you will have to take them to the small claims court to receive your payment. And this could take years.

You could ask a solicitor to send a letter on your behalf - but the price of a solicitor vs the amount your owed comes into play.

If it's worth it - then the solicitor will outline their legal requirement to pay you for services or further legal action may be taken etc.

You could contact the company to whom which you worked on the logo and explain the situation to them about how you freelanced to create the logo on their behalf and you're willing to correct the errors in the logo in return for the payment directly.