Hello. About a year ago my fiancee, soon to be wife, and I started our own photography business. We were contacted by YP(Valley Yellow Pages) and they offered us an advertising service. We agreed to their cheapest contract which gave us some search coverage and an online ad. About a week into it, we got calls but for services we didn't provide. I immediately contact our agent and he said they would take care of it, which they never did. We weren't getting any business from the investment and weren't able to pay them because we would only get clients when we were able to go out and find them ourselves. We got endless calls from people about services we couldn;t provide and they never once tried to fix it. I sent many emails and made many phone calls and nothing was ever resolved. They made a promise of at least one job a month and they got us none. We ended up closing our business and had to dig ourselves out of a considerable hole. They continue to send us collection notices and recently(with about the last month or so) called us to find out what happened. When I explained the situation they said they were going to call back with a possible reduced amount but never did.
You can sue them for breach of contract and maybe fraud. Fraud is a stretch because you would need to show they went into it knowing they were not going to or could not perform. Maybe you have a breach of contract or negligence case. Marketing malpractice? Probably better to stand firm on your dispute and let them try to sue you. Then you can raise the issues as an offset or defense. The time limit on a written contract will be four years for them to try to sue you.
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You can sue them for breach of contract but you need to review the emails and other letters you sent complaining about their service to ensure you have a case. You will also have to explain why you didn't cancel the contract for breach of contract.
You could sue them for breach of contract, and maybe fraud - but I think that is a stretch. The written terms of your agreement would be the place to start. But, suing may not, even if you win, do more than get you out of the balance of the contract. It is unlikely that a judge or jury would hold them responsible for the failure of your business. Depending on the amount involved and other debts you have, it may be a better strategy to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. That is usually faster and cheaper than litigation.
Interesting. There may be a cause of action beyond breach of contract and fraud - there may be a cause of action under the unfair competition law and maybe the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. It could form the basis of a class action. I would contact a class action attorney and have them go over your case with you.
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