Farmer Freddy has contract problems

Freddy's special guest has travel problems.


Don't let frustration get the better of you

Early one Wednesday morning, Pebbles is sitting down having her breakfast when her phone rings. It's her Dad, Farmer Freddy.

"Hi Dad," says Pebbles. "What's up?"

"I've got a problem", explains Freddy. "A big problem!"

"Ok Dad," says Pebbles. "Just take a deep breath and tell me what's happened."

"Well Pebbles", explains Freddy, "you know I'm the president of the local farmers' club? Well, I've organised a special guest for tonight's meeting to give a cooking demonstration about cooking with dairy products. But I've just had a call to say that his international flight was delayed and he can't make it."

"That doesn't sound like the end of the world Dad", says Pebbles. "Can't you just re-arrange it?"

"The thing is Pebbles," replies Freddy, "I've signed a contract and I've already paid him the $15,000 fee. And his agent's told me I can't get my money back. What am I going to do?"

"Don't panic, Dad," says Pebbles. "The law has ways to deal with the situation where a contract can't be performed for reasons beyond the control of the parties. Lawyers talk about a contract being frustrated if something has happened that makes performance of the contract impossible, and which is unforeseen and significantly alters the relationship between the parties to the contract."

"Do you think this contract may have been frustrated then?" asks Freddy.

"Quite possibly, Dad, "says Pebbles. " Where a contract involves obligations of a personal nature, such as speaking at a meeting, the fact that the speaker cannot make it can amount to frustration."

"Does that mean I can get my money back, then?" asks Freddy, hopefully.

"That depends on the words of the contract itself," replies Pebbles. "But there's also a law called the Frustrated Contracts Act. Unless the contract provides otherwise, the Act should allow you to recover at some of the speaking fees."

"Why only some," exclaims Freddy, "I want all of it back!"

"It will depend on whether your guest chef has done any work or incurred any costs in relation to your contract. If so, he may be able to claim for those costs. For example, if he had already incurred some travel costs, and can't recover those from the airlines, he may be able to retain part of the fee to cover those costs."

"Thanks Pebbles," says Freddy, breathing a sigh of relief. "It looks like everything is not completely lost. I'll go check the agreement and come back to you."

"Good idea," replies Pebbles. "It looks like you were getting ‘frustrated' over nothing!"

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