Unbelievable. When my so-called lawyer said he'd be sending through an invoice for his work so far, I assumed that he was joking. When I got up this morning and saw the letter sitting waiting for me, I assumed it would be an apology.
Assume nothing, dear readers. It makes an ass of you and me.
Firstly, there was some legal mumbo-jumbo (why can't lawyers write in plain English?), then a short paragraph outlining the nature of our agreement. Which included regular nominal administration fees to cover the retainer and also additional consultation charges. The contract was to run over 12 months, but could be terminated by either party with a three month's notice.
That bloodsucking scumbag is trying to charge me £1500 for the next three months' retainer fee, plus £250 call handling fee from Sky, £250 for the telephone conversation and legal 'advice' I received yesterday and a further £175 for sending the letter that included this invoice.
That's a total of £2175.
I was too gobsmacked to do anything but stare open mouthed at the letter on my table. I felt sick initially, but then I thought 'no, you don't have to take this Barry!'
I called the bastard up. He said that he was contractually obliged to take the call since I still had the best part of three month's worth of retainer available. However, he did need to inform me that the standard consultation fee of £250 would stand and, indeed, that I would receive a further invoice, including an additional £175 administration fee.
It was as though I was an unwilling passenger sitting in the back of a taxi whose meter was on fast forward. Not only that, the taxi I was sitting in was taking me to the wrong place.
"You are joking?" I asked, incredulous.
"Do I sound like I'm joking?"
I was forced to concede that if this were a joke, I was unable to see the funny side. Ergo, he must not be joking.
"So I now owe you £2500?" I asked.
"No sir, not at all," he said, "you owe us £2600."
"But that's ridiculous," I said.
"Do you know how much Sky could have sued you for had your article made it into the newspapers?"
"But it was true, it was a true story."
My legal council merely repeated the question. I was forced to concede that I didn't know, although had assumed that since it was a true story, they wouldn't be able to sue me at all. It was at this point that my lawyer used some fairly colourful language and suggested that I draw a line under things, to "quit while you're still not too far behind" he said.
I put the phone down in the end. But this thing is not over. I swear.