Satvinder Gill has been trying to extricate himself from a contract and doing a lot of homework on the subject. I tried to help but, in all honesty, he got a lot further than I did.

Anyway, Sat consulted the legal team at the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and learned that if you have a hire agreement that is governed by the Credit Control Agreement 1974 then, after 18 months’ of a five-year contract, you can ask for an early settlement.

“You must return the hired equipment,” says Sat. “You must not have any outstanding payments you must be a sole trader or partnership with less than four partners, and the contract must be governed by the CCA (look at T&Cs or ask their legal department).”

He adds that the company should then calculate the amount due and the settlement fee must not be more than three months of the rental, plus any costs for returning the equipment and doing the admin.

“This is what I think is the early settlement for hire agreement,” concludes Sat. “For a hire purchase agreement you don’t have the 18-month wait, but you may have to pay a little more. I think the calculation for the fee is set in a formula by legislation.”

He also points out that if you don’t have a copy of your signed contract and T&Cs, you can ask your supplier for one and they cannot charge more than £1 to provide it. If they do not provide a contract or terms and conditions in 12 working days then the agreement becomes void.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to nag you again: think about what you want from that contract (no penalty fees? Very clear terms?) and go find it.