Tenet is to appeal a court judgement that the terms of its service agreement with network members were unreasonable under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
It had initially lost a case brought by financial adviser Paul Morris of Metro Financial Solutions. He had taken the network to court over a disputed bill of £2,657.30.
Morris argued that as he left the network in September 2016 – after 15 years of membership – he shouldn’t have been charged fees for the 2017/18 year.
The judge agreed and ruled that the terms were unreasonable. The judge awarded Morris the full sum plus 3 per cent interest and told Tenet to pay additional court fees.
Part of the dispute centred on whether a memo – issued in 2013 – amounted to a permanent change of his contract. This memo stated that anyone who was an appointed representative on September 30 would be liable to pay the next year’s fees.
The appeal will now be heard at Sheffield Country Court on November 10. Tenet is arguing that the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 does not apply to this clause of its terms of service.
It has argued the charging and payment structure was not “imbalanced” and Morris had the opportunity to contract with other regulated entities and seek legal advice.
In his witness statement at the time of his court case Morris said: “I had no problem with what they did in those years, since one way or another I would have had to pay my contribution to the FCA annual levy for the year I was part of the tenet network.
“Indeed Tenet have charged me the full year for 2016/17 but I have no problem with that since it was my decision to leave part way through the year.
“What I do have a problem with is that they are unilaterally attempting to make me contribute to their annual levy for 2017/18, being a period long after I have left their network and when I pay my own annual levy direct to the FCA.
“This is wholly wrong. The memo was not a permanent change to the terms of service.”