A customer ordered from me white marble 1800 x 600 x 20 mm polished (white being the spirit of the order), for her floor in living dining area.
I in turn ordered in good faith and paid extra to a Chinese quarry for pure white- the material took 13 weeks to arrive (which the client was aware about and accepted it was a special order).
The material finally arrived only 50 % was white the balance was white but had some peach marbling through it and some was spotted-the quarry state by any International standard it constitutes white and are not prepared to do anything.
The client is unhappy and to exasperate things their were a large number have chips on the marble face edges this we now understand happened in transport. ( I have the transport company bank to rights on this as the screwed up big time we had their agreement it would go on delivery with tailgate at 1200kg per crate.
A Jobsworth at the depot said it couldnt go on the tailgate as it only took 1000 kg so they had to outsource a Hyab lorry which chuntered down from their depot in Ipswich to client in surrey with the crates bouncing on the back( which the driver told her about !) which we think has cause the chipping so I might get my transport cost back as i paid them by Mastercard about £900.00 to ship from china.
The order was worth about £4,248.00 including vat.
The customer initially said if we installed the marble for her free of charge ( wow never part of the sell agreement - that's about 8 days work for 3 men including accommodation) and also gave her 3 K refund, and polished all the marble! And took responsibility for any breakage and shortage she would be happy ( yikes)
What I want to know is what I am legally as well as morally obliged to do.
Accept she has a genuine greivence and want to make good but feel she is laying it on a bit thick.
I could replace the order - which she is not keen on due to the wait and neither am I due to the cost as I would not use the same supplier.
She also mooted as her room in in two levels she uses the good ones to do this lower dining area whilst i order more for the other living area.
This seems a reasonable compromise but i am worried the next load will be problematic also, but could go for this option but I am concerned once the chips become a problem it will all get messy again and their is a shade batch risk.
I would be happy to refund around £2,000.00 and let her keep the marble and walk away.
Or I would consider reluctantly ( but only lay -not lay and refund) but perhaps would lay it if her husband and son labored to me- initially she was amenable to that but yesterday changed as her husbands a roofer and is now busy and he was initially going to lay this at weekends.
I wonder if reading you with your legal brain you can see a solution, I don't know what to do as I will struggle to refund her in full if that's what I have to do.
I am based in Edinburgh and she is not far from Luton in case that effects any thing.
I am trying to get recourse through Alibaba website where I sourced my Chinese contact but am not hopeful I got lulled in to a false sense of security as have got material from others in china and no problem.
Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Hi I got a message e-mail saying you have answered my question -when i come here all I find it what appears to be a holding message am I missing something or am i correct to assume you are still investigating and my answer is to follow so I should just await it?
I asked, what is it you want to be able to achieve with your problem please?
Do you want a refund or do you want the problem rectified?
Hi, You need to read my e-mail with me in mind as the vendor not the customer. I want to know what I am obliged by law to do given the circumstances from that I will evaluate the cost implication and decide if I want to extend that offer by adding a sum for goodwill.
Can't you make a claim against the shipping company or manufacturer?
Did you read my e-mail?
Yes marble was damaged and customer said that if you installed free that would be fine.
You also gave her £3k
Your legal obligations are this:
1) Either refund if full
2) Replace it
The customer has the choice
You have an obligation under the Sale of Goods Act to provide goods which are of suitable quality, fit for purpose and as described
But the only thing you leave yourself open to this this
If your quote was £5000 for the work and it actually costs the customer £6000 for a new one (if they ordered from someone else), you would be liable for the £1000 difference
Therefore you either need to make good, replace, refund or reach some other agreement
If the customer is happy with free install then get this in writing and your obligations end
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
The manufacturer says they are of suitable quality, fit for purpose and as described. What now
Well whatever loss you suffer from the customer you would have to issue proceedings against your supplier.
Make sure you have evidence of the damage, quality
You need to write to your supplier and set out your losses and request a payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce
If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation
If I offer to replace and the customer is unwilling to wait 13 weeks or for any other reason must i then refund her.
I have to run to a meeting but thank you i will mull over the options and return later with any last question.
Can I clarify anything else for you about this? If not, please remember to leave feedback before you go today