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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48208
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I employed an ex work colleague to decorate a house I was refurbishing.

Resolved Question:

I employed an ex work colleague to decorate a house I was refurbishing. He was paid upfront 5 months later he as not completed the work. And wasn't answering his phone I contacted his partner and stated the only options I had was to get a solicitor or report him for tax evasion as he was paid cash in hand. She responded by saying I was threatening her. He eventually contacted me again stating I was threatening him. I've asked for him to return the keys to the property. In his text messages to me are actually quite threatening. (a) can I recoup some of what he as been paid and (b) do I report his threats to the police?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has he done any of the promised work? Also what is the nature of the threats?
Customer:

Hi Ben Thought it would be easier to copy you all the messages sent first the one sent to his partnerPauline , didn't want to involve you in this but as Sabi as not been in contact for over 10 days and stated he would let me know when he would be continuing the decorating and he as not been to the house to do any decorating in nearly 20 day and as ignored all my attempts to contact him I am absolutely threaders he started work over 5 months ago in March we agreed to include the £100 he owed me from November last year and initially to a £450 payment about a third of the agreed price upfront over the course of the next three weeks there was various reasons for him requiring the rest of the money, your car needing fixing, his ex not paying bills and debt collector turning up at your house, I'm quite chilled out and let him have the money as I thought I knew him and he had done a quality job tiling and literally begged me for the job. I know he was ill and as had an holiday but the first estimated time was five weeks that as been and gone, I needed the keys back in July as I had other work men in at that time he stated he would contact me after his holiday - it was me that contacted him. Trying to get an estimate of when the work would be completed as been impossible and he's now cost me deposits that I'd paid for work that was unable to be done because he as not completed the decorating which is now the only thing holding me up moving in to the house. Option wise I'm limited to getting a solicitor to write a letter - using his work address and if I was vindictive probably telephoning the tax man informing him how much he's been paid cash in hand: but the easier option would just be for Sabi to speak with me and sort this mess out?That will be the electrician plumber aswell then . You have involved me and now and its threatening. If I remember you took the key of him so he couldn't finish the work.. involve a tax man you dont know the law. Ive ran a buisness for 8yrs but go ahead if thats what you want to do. To me you have just gone the wrong way of getting the job finished. I know for a fact he has gone over and beyond for you in that house its a pitty your other people you got in didn't.Pauline All I want is for Sabi to actually talk to me over this but when he doesn't answer his phone and hasn't finished what he's been paid for what am I suppose to do?Stop bothering me.

Customer:

Hi Ben

Let’s try that again:- Firstly my text message to him on 25/8/14

Sobi as of today the decorating is the only thing holding up the completion of the house. You started work in March and have been paid in full I understand you was ill and went on holiday but it as now been 5 months so either tell me what the issue is or we need to discuss how much money you are refunding me if your not going to complete I needed to be in the house by September because I can't stay at my Dad's if I end up in hotels It will cost me money and that shouldn't happen!

No response a further txt sent 27/8/14

Sabi as you are not answering your phone and it will not let me leave a message - if I have not heard from you by tomorrow you are running the risk of this being

Again No response so I sent a message to his partner on facebook 28/8/14

Pauline , didn't want to involve you in this but as Sabi as not been in contact for over 10 days and stated he would let me know when he would be continuing the decorating and he as not been to the house to do any decorating in nearly 20 day and as ignored all my attempts to contact him I am absolutely threaders he started work over 5 months ago in March we agreed to include the £100 he owed me from November last year and initially to a £450 payment about a third of the agreed price upfront over the course of the next three weeks there was various reasons for him requiring the rest of the money, your car needing fixing, his ex not paying bills and debt collector turning up at your house, I'm quite chilled out and let him have the money as I thought I knew him and he had done a quality job tiling and literally begged me for the job. I know he was ill and as had an holiday but the first estimated time was five weeks that as been and gone, I needed the keys back in July as I had other work men in at that time he stated he would contact me after his holiday - it was me that contacted him. Trying to get an estimate of when the work would be completed as been impossible and he's now cost me deposits that I'd paid for work that was unable to be done because he as not completed the decorating which is now the only thing holding me up moving in to the house. Option wise I'm limited to getting a solicitor to write a letter - using his work address and if I was vindictive probably telephoning the tax man informing him how much he's been paid cash in hand: but the easier option would just be for Sabi to speak with me and sort this mess out?

Her response

That will be the electrician plumber aswell then . You have involved me and now and its threatening. If I remember you took the key of him so he couldn't finish the work.. involve a tax man you dont know the law. Ive ran a buisness for 8yrs but go ahead if thats what you want to do. To me you have just gone the wrong way of getting the job finished. I know for a fact he has gone over and beyond for you in that house its a pitty your other people you got in didn't.

My response and her reply

Pauline All I want is for Sabi to actually talk to me over this but when he doesn't answer his phone and hasn't finished what he's been paid for what am I suppose to do?

Stop bothering me.

This caused him to respond via text

Hi Roger just top up my phone that was a reason i did not contact you. You sould not thretening Pauline se got nothing to do with this. This was a realy bad move if ANY ONE try theretening my family that person is in trouble in big time. I am off saturday i will see you at yours . Dont call me just text what time you want to have chat .

My reply after we failed to meet up sent 1/9/14:-

Right I had a long think about this situation, you have been paid in full several months ago , and funnily lost interest in finishing the job when no more money was due. I could say a lot but I think I would be wasting my breath, as you have not done anything in nearly a month I think it would be a good idea for you to return the keys.

His reply

When.i start a job i finish it. How dare you accuse me of ripping you OFF. I was ready to come sat but you saud you had just finished nights. I have worked bloody hard on your house and was there every weekend and after work then your so called pluber was coming so the key was handed bac. Then the txt to pauline started out of order and threats. So if you want your key back how the hell am i going to finish the job. So stop thretening me

Further text sent 3/9/14

It is now 3 days since I asked you to return the keys?

No response from him

Further text sent 4/9/14

I've changed the alarm code at the house - once again I'm asking you to return the keys just post them through the letter box painting will not be completed by you!

And his response

Yeah right so this is what you want ? I can drop in tomorow no problem. Just one advice boy don't ever try to thretening me or Pauline in any wey again If you do thats gonna be a big mistake as i said ill drop the key off tomorow after work .

Ben Jones : Hi, this is not really a criminal matter that the police should be involved in and they will also most likely say that it is a civil issue that needs to be resolved between you. Some unnecessary words have been exchanged but the crux of the matter is that money is owed for work not completed and this is something that is a civil issue which you can take further if necessary.
Ben Jones : Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:
Ben Jones : 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.
Ben Jones : 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.
Ben Jones : 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.
Ben Jones : Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far. Hope this clarifies your position?
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