What to do if I am a virtual assistant and have a client overseas in Ireland who completely stopped paying me for my services?

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What to do if I am a virtual assistant and have a client overseas in Ireland who completely stopped paying me for my services?

The client signed a contract to pay me $400/week for 25 hours of work and if they ever wanted to cancel my services, I would need 30 days written notice. I have continued to send emails to the client and let him know that he is in violation of his contract and I will seek legal action in several emails. He states that I am threatening him by sending him these emails and that he is actually going to seek legal action against me. When I ask him how I have threatened him, he states it’s basically because I keep saying I will seek legal action since he has failed to pay or uphold the terms of his contract. Does he have a case?

Asked on July 6, 2015 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In U.S. law he would not have a case: it is not an illegal or actionable threat to tell someone against whom you would reasonably seem to have a valid case that you will take legal action. You are permitted to tell people that you will do something which you have the right to do, and if someone breached their contract with you, you have the right to sue. Irish law is not U.S. law, but it is similar--U.S. law is derived from UK (British) law, after all; that's where we got our common law, the basis of our contemporary law, from. It is therefore very unlikely that he would have a case against you under Irish law.

Bear in mind that you don't have a good case, either: legally, you are in the right, but suing someone in a different country--and collecting from them if you do win--is very difficult and can be very expensive. It is unlikely that you can sue, win, and collect on a cost-effective, financially worthwhile basis.


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