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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70528
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am looking for legal advice as a sole trader. A job was handed

Resolved Question:

I am looking for legal advice as a sole trader. A job was handed to myself from another trader who was completing other work for the customer. My work was completed and invoiced under my trade name. Invoice was paid directly to myself. Customer later decided the work needed improvement but went through the other tradesman. I contacted the customer to offer my services to improve the work. Customer believes it is the other tradesman responsibility. I have since been contacted by the other tradesman asking for a sum for him to change the work.
Does the other tradesman have a right to rectify my work without inviting myself to have a look at the problem first? and if he does, how do I know the sum to correct the work is fair?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
The other tradesmen is free to act upon the customers' instructions. What he cannot do is claim from you. His contract is with the customer. The customer should have paid him and sued you if he believes there is a claim.
In terms of your liability to the customer, Courts do generally prefer the original tradesmen to be asked to put right any faults. The only way the customer will escape an obligation to do that is to argue that the original work was so appalling that they had no faith in your capacity to complete the work properly which is a high test.
However, the other tradesmen has no contract with you or claim against you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your advice. The customer is intent that the other tradesman should deal with the situation as my work was organized by him. I don't wish for there to be a huge delay between the customer expressing he is un happy and the work being resolved, but the other tradesman is intent on it being his responsibility to set it straight.

Is there anything I can do to convince the customer that relying on the other tradesman is likely to delay the amendment of my work? The work was completed safely and is of a good standard (it falls short in a very small way)

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Did the other tradesmen instruct you or the customer ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

can you clarify what you mean by instruct?

the work was passed to me by the other tradesman. Apart from that he had no other involvement with myself. My work was invoiced separately.

The other tradesman contacted me about the work I had done for the customer. As a result I contacted the customer to explain that I would be willing to improve upon it for him, but he refused and stated that the other tradesman was handling the situation.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, but originally when you first did the job, how did that come to you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The other tradesman called myself and asked if I wanted to do the work.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.
What was agreed then about how you would be paid?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was agreed that our work would be considered separate and that the customer would pay me in the same manner. It was explained to the customer on the first day of work that I was nothing to do with the other trader. All of us (myself the customer and the other trader seemed very aware of that) but the other trader is insisting to the customer that it is his responsibility and that he will deal with the situation which is delaying me from re-visiting the job. In addition he is asking for money for work that hasn't been carried out yet (in order for him to correct my work) that I don't see as a realistic figure.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
What this will be is a badly negotiated contract basically.
If the other tradesmen instructed you then he is liable to the customer for your faults and I suppose he may have a claim against you in negligence but he doesn't have a contract with you upon which he can collect this money.
Also, you seem to be saying that he did not instruct you directly and that it was agreed that the entire contract would be passed to you which is supported by the fact that the customer paid you. If so, the other tradesmen has no contract or claim in negligence against you. his claim is against the customer and the customer can pursue you.
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