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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69367
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I gave an estimate with a fellow soul trader to do a house

Customer Question

Hi, I gave an estimate with a fellow soul trader to do a house refurb. It was agreed he would get paid directly from the client and in return he would pay everyone else. Of course two contractors messed up and I'm being asked, forced to pay to rectify their works or be sued as I introduced them but I never paid them. Where do I stand please, I'm going crazy trying to do whats right but not be taken for a ride.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Did they do the deal with the trader directly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo,


 


They paid the other Soul trader directly yes. Even though we gave a joint estimate of works intially.


 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C.


They paid the other Soul trader directly yes. Even though we gave a joint estimate of works intially. I was the first point of contact.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the information.

This is a difficult one really. It could go either way in court.

The fact that the deal was done directly with the other trader really helps you. You can use that to argue that you were not privy to that contract and therefore not liable for his misconduct. You are not his subcontracted employer and so not vicariously liable for his actions. They could still argue that you were negligent in your recommendation of him but that is going nowhere fast.

They may rely on the fact there was a joint estimate. I'm not sure thats the best argument but sometimes people are unreasonable. If they can suggest that you were subcontracting to him then you become liable for his work.

If that does happen then you can recover by suing him. You could also add him to the claim as a third party defendant which would allow the court to make him liable.

Its quite unlikely that it would come to that though. Its very easy to threaten legal action and a lot harder to take it.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.


Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo C,


 


I don't know if this helps. I worked on the house up till the middle of May 2013. I went to do a contract of my own which was agreed with the other Soul trader at another property. I then went on holiday when I returned I was told by the soul trader the clients did'nt want me back on site as I was apparently rude to her. Basically I di'nt agree with her on a situation. My work has been pulled apart by other trades men and I have been told to pay to rectify it. Even though I was told not to come back to site. I have been given an opportunity to fix any of my own works.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

That probably would help you.

A consumer can refuse to allow a tradesmen back on the property but they have to show that they 'lost faith' in their ability to complete. That is a high test. She would literally have to show that she had reasonable grounds to think that you were not capable of putting this right which doesn't happen often.

She won't get away with claiming inflated prices in those circumstances.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Jo C.


 


So even though I did'nt receive direct payments from the Client I am still liable for my own works considering they have been interfered with by other trades and I have to pay to have them rectified or be sued as they keep threathning. I have still outstanding invoices they refuse to pay. So if I have all the work rectified and to their satisfaction if that can be achieved! Can they still sue me? can I still invoice them for all work then? They have also said they would be seeking compensation also?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You are only liable for the cost of putting right any faults and then she would have to satisfy a court that she had lost faith in you.

If you have rectified the work to the standard of the SGA then you could invoice but obviously she has to let you back onto the property to do that.

You could try to argue that you are entitled to the value of the work that you have done but then you need to satisfy a court that it does not contain faults which might be possible but thats the test.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Jo C.


 


The clients have made it quite clear I am not allowed to work at their home but they do allow me to come and look at what other trade men have done to my work or unearthing issues I was never aware of. But they still have the original soul trader I gave the estimate with still there and are paying for extra works. He has said he is putting in his time instead of cash but has still to give me invoices for the amounts demanded. I have now asked for them formerly and I await his response. I'm at my wits end. If I'm wrong I'll raise my hand but I'm been made out to be some cowboy, fraud. And that all the faults are down to me?? Which is not the case.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I can see this is frustrating for you.

You have the options I mentioned above.

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