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DTMark

Free Legal Advice Needed :)

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Here's the scenario:

When a new client comes along I get them to complete a couple of forms. One has the particulars of the company and the other specifies the primary contact and if applicable a secondary contact.

That form makes it clear that in effect "word from him is as good as word from me". In other words, I will not mediate between two contacts on the account and verify requests from one with the other. It also explains that it's generally best to only have one contact per account who can make requests for work but a secondary might be helpful if e.g. the primary is on holiday.

Now imagine a scenario where I get a call from someone who is neither and asks for something to be done, or for something like a report or extract of company data. Clearly I don't just say "OK then, I believe you are Stephen from Company X Ltd and I'll do that for you". I'll say "You need to speak to (primary contact name) and ask him or her to request that". This protects both parties and is pretty basic stuff.

If Stephen from Company X then declares himself to be a Director of that company and insists on the information..

From a legal standpoint, I'm not providing services to (primary contact). I am supplying services to the entity called Company X. And a Director of said company representing it insists on whatever it was.

From my point of view, Stephen should speak to (primary contact) and the entity called Company X ought to organise itself, agree internally (some of you may have guessed the scenario by now) and present a unified view.

Am I legally safe and correct to refuse the request until such time as I get an Authorised Contact form from the company to add Stephen?

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Am I legally safe and correct to refuse the request until such time as I get an Authorised Contact form from the company to add Stephen?

If that's what the contract between the two legal entities (your company and Stephen's) says, then yes, unless there is a statute or precedent to override it. For example, there may be laws which say that in certain circumstances, law enforcement agencies can require you to disclose information regardless of whether you are allowed to do so under the terms of a private contract. But I can't think of any law that would override a provision in a contract such as you describe.

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It's the same when a Ltd company opens a bank account, the company authorises officers to control it.

Just walking in and saying you are another director wont get the bank to hand the cash over.

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Is there a reason you don't want to call your primary contact to confirm the work?

Winding up one of the directors for the sake of it doesn't sound like a smart move.

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I always determine who places the orders...if another person asks, I tell them my position, which they should at least sympathise with as I am on the persons budget, or I verbally take the instruction, treat it as a quote and get my authorised contact to agree.

If you initial form states you are taking orders from the named people, then that is it.

Otherwise, any person in the company can give orders...which the company has to honour...course, the person unauthorised to authorise your work will be subject to disciplinary.

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I think impressing them with your management controls would be a good thing.

I think I'd rather impress them with my ability to respond to my customer's needs.

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I think I'd rather impress them with my ability to respond to my customer's needs.

You need to read between the lines of the original post viz. "agree internally" ;)

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Thanks for the feedback - appears to be as I had hoped/expected.

Plus don't forget disgruntled employees and fraudsters both will try to break systems like yours via social engineering or bluffs of authority. You are doing the right thing.

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Plus don't forget disgruntled employees and fraudsters both will try to break systems like yours via social engineering or bluffs of authority. You are doing the right thing.

I have had this scenario before with a client which was a partnership. Both were wrestling to control the logins, email etc. after having shall we say a "difference of opinion".

So as soon as administrative access (one mailbox was the "administrator" login which could control the other ones in the domain) was provided to both (I did it simultaneously) the first one to get there would lock the other one out.

One of those scenarios where both would rather see the company go to the wall than allow the other to get the upper hand.

I recall one of them saying that the mail account had been hacked and the password changed. After delving through the raw mail server log files I could see that the password was entered correctly at the second attempt.

So I then had to tell that person that the other had not "hacked" it and it only took them two tries. Which rather implied that either he'd picked one that was easy for the other to guess, or more probably, someone else in the company had told him what it was.

That was the only time I had to actually visit a Solicitor to find out what to do so as to protect myself.

That account got closed.

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Yes.

Otherwise you'll have the teagirl ringing up and asking you to add pink sparkly glitter to things.

It would more than likely be the board that would make such requests IME!

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Making multiple contradictory changes from multiple internal clients will not win you any friends whatsoever.

It is not as though he has to tell this other chap to 'f8ck off and sort your act out' or anything is it. There are very easy ways to explain why what he is suggesting is a good idea - such as citing examples where this sort of thing has occurred in the past and the delays, costs that have resulted - not least of which is friction within the client company.

Fair enough, it seemed a reasonable question based on the OP.

Not rocket science Goat. Sometimes I think you just take the opposing side for the sake of it.

What's the point of being on here if we all agree? I guess I'm more likely to post if I see something I disagree with.

The alternative is just repeating a point someone else has already made (is that how to get to 20,000+ posts?)

Indeed I know your very avatar is a joke to this effect....the Devil's Advocate.

Nope, I just thought it was cool.

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it's 30 years since I studied contract law, but my recollection is that as long as one acts in good faith and in the reasonable belief that the person you are dealing with is the contract principal or an agent acting on their behalf then you should be ok.

Clearly if you were committing yourself/company to work where with a significant invoice value or of a sensitive nature, you might be more circumspect than if it were answering a simple query.

If the person says he's a director of the company and you believe that in good faith then you're probably perfectly ok. It would be sensible to ensure his request was in writing and you clarified the future contract arrangements though at some point.

Bear in mind this reply is worth precisely what you paid for it.

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