Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
From what you say I note you first emailed the company five months after the work was completed. Could you tell me the total cost of the work in question please?
Thanks. As you will be aware. the position here is that you have two differing sets of rights. The first set of rights you have under any warranty from the manufacturer of the fan which are somewhat limited insofar as that they are limited to the terms of the warranty which are probably not overly generous and particularly as the warranty has now expired. I will leave this here though because of what follows.
You have a another set of rights by virtue of your contract with the contractor which carried out the work. This set of rights are much more extensive as terms are implied into your contract by virtue of the Supply of Goods and Services Act that the work carried out must be satisfactory and fit for purpose and as agreed and any materials supplied in the course of their work must be of satisfactory quality. During the first six months, any faults are automatically assumed to be inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage or otherwise under the provisions of the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. After the first six months, the burden of proof switches to you to show that any faults are inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage.
Thanks. So are you saying that as I made them aware of the issues within 6 months, I would have the protection of the act?
However, they're being somewhat disingenuous. They say because the fan isn't working, therefore it is reasonable that the plaster won't dry.
Under these rights you can insist upon a repair or replacement of any faulty workmanship or materials the contractor has supplied at the dealer's discretion. This right last for up to six years under the Limitation Act against the contractor though will be limited to what is reasonable given the life expectancy of the work carried out. You are required to give the contractor reasonable opportunity to repair or replace. There is no specific prescribed number of times that you must must not allow them the opportunity to do so however if they have failed to repair the same more than two-three times or refuse to repair the same this would usually be held to be satisfactory opportunity to do so and you would be within your rights to instruct an alternative contractor to quote to remedy the matter and look to the original contractor for the cost.
Thanks - so I would need to instruct another contractor before taking them to small claims court, as opposed to taking them there directly to make them refund or repair?
Because you have copies of the emails you refer to and you contacted them within the first 6 months you can rely on the above regulations for them to prove that the fan is not faulty rather than you haveing to show that it is. It is not relevant whether they claim not to have received the emails. This is not credible and the emails were sent to the correct email address and therefore deemed service will be presumed by the courts. Because they supplied the fan nor can they draw a distinction between the plaster and the fan being at fault. Whether it is the plaster and/or the fan, the buck stops with them because they supplied the materials
Thanks. XXXXX take them to court, and I lose, what might my liability be?
In terms of how you may consider proceeding. You may wish to write to the contractor by email and/or letter or fax referring them to your previous correspondence which you are disappointed has not been responded to and reminding them of their obgliations under the above legislation. and that as you have given them more than reasonable opportunity both verbally and in writing to attend to remedy the matter you propose to instruct a third party contractor to identify the faults and quote for the repair and look to them for the costs.
At that point they may become more cooperative and you may or may not allow them to attend to remedy at that stage. If not or you prefer not to give them any further chances consider a third aprty contractor for a quote (if you can obtain two and use the cheaper) and demand the sum from the original contractor company.
If they do not respond you can issue proceedings against them for breach of contract using www.moneclaim.gov.uk.
Sorry correction www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
The matter would be heard in the small claims court and whilst you would appear to have a good basis for a claim if yuo were to lose you would only be liable for court fees and if they attend any reasonable claim for loss of income in attending capped at £90.
You've answered my questions - thank you so much!!