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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70186
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I required remedial work to my house. A builder said I should

Customer Question

I required remedial work to my house. A builder said I should get his surveyor colleague to draw up a specification and supervise the works. On enquiring, the surveyor indicated that he would have to make a visit to see the house, but his usual charges were 15% of the contract sum. No charges were discussed in relation to that initial visit. Ten days later, after attending the property and just before leaving, he attempted to get me to sign a long and convoluted agreement stating that we had appointed him to do the specification and supervision of works- but did not say what works would be needed. He indicated he would return with a colleague.

A week later he would not respond to my calls -so I stated by email that I would sign the agreement and he could pick it up on his return visit but we needed answers to a few queries. The answers to the queries were unsatisfactory so we indicated we would find someone else. A week later I received a bill for £675 covering 5 hours work and travel expenses "as per the agreement I made to the Quality Plan by email". Fees for the visit wer enot pre-negotiated and I have never received what we wanted (supervision and specification of works) and did not actually send him a signed agreement. In any event it is stated "no works shall begin until signed agreement is received". They are suing me for breach of contract in Small claims ? What can I do
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.

What would you like to do about this?

Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Yes I am I suppose. Can I defend it ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Have they actually issued against you yet or is this just a threat?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C


 


They have issued and the hearing date is in December. Judge has allocated to small claims track.


 


Essentially the claim form says I am in breach of a verbal contract to pay for a site visit (which I did not say I would), - while the bill itself states that payment is due for a site visit as in the written agreement (which in any case I did not sign) The site visit was done and completed 10 days before I eventually emailed them - can they for work done in the past ?? Even their own agreement states that "no work shal commence until a signed agreement has been recevied". There certainly was no agreement when the guy visited - so I was not aware I would be paying for him to look around my house.


 


Inciddentally I never received a report or anything in writing from them

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok, Thanks.

This is a just a simple issue of whether you ever agreed to pay for his attendance. There's nothing complicated in it.

If you didn't agree then you do have a defence. Obviously you cannot prove that you didn't agree but then he cannot prove that you did and he has the burden of proof.

Generally speaking, agreements to pay for an initial visit would not be common. People do that type of thing for free by definition.

All you do is reply saying there was never an agreement that this visit would be paid for.

Can I clarify anything for you?