Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.
Alex Hughes : Have you filed a defence?
Alex Hughes : You are not wrong to withhold payment but it should only be a reasonable sum and only as much as necessary to compensate you for your loss or cover the cost of remedial work.
During the installation process I had to seal everything with high grade silicone, I would have to hire specialist equipment again to lift the 200kg of glass off the frame (not even sure this is possible as the glass is now bonded to the frame). so in essence the entire structure including the glass would have to be replaced. this will cost way more than the amount I am witholding.
How should I respond to the county court claim?
Alex Hughes : Understood. You will need evidence of that so I suggest you instruct a couple of reputable companies to give you estimates for the remedial work or better still employ a surveyor to calculate the cost and report on the issue. This help you to justify holding the payment.
Alex Hughes : If you are defending the claim then you must either a) complete the acknowledgment of service and return it within 14 days and then serve your defence 14 days thereafter or b) lodge a defence immediately. It seems to me that you will be claiming breach of contract on the basis that the contractor failed to exercise reasonable care and skill as required by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
yes but that requires time...I have been locked into a process to respond to the claim within 14 days. Is it enough justification to argue that what they supplied me is not what is depicted in the images shown on their website?? what about the verbal explanations they provided me, does that count for anything...I do not want to deal with this by myself, how can I escalate to a court where a solicitor can represent me? I understand, in a small claims court my legal costs are not covered by the other party if they lose the case, so I would want them to cover all costs incurred, how do i go about doing this?
Alex Hughes : Neither party will recover legal costs. This is a small claim and costs will only be ordered against the losing party if they have acted unreasonably in the proceedings; there is no evidence of that so far as the claim is still in the early stages. If you instruct lawyers you fees will probably outweigh the value of the claim.
Alex Hughes : You can lodge your defence and instruct a surveyor and serve his report on a later date.
I suppose I will have to cover the costs of the surveyor and then all remedial works to have the installation corrected? If that ends up costing more than I am witholding, who pays?
what is the likelyhood of winning my case based on what I have described thus far?
Alex Hughes : If your losses/expenses exceed the amount you are holding then you can claim the extra money from the contractor.
Alex Hughes : Based on the information you have given thus far it seems to me that you have a good defence. I suggest you should also submit a counterclaim for any additional sums that you think you may have to pay.
Alex Hughes : Furthermore, if you draft a defence and would like me to review it then please post another question marked for my attention. I cannot draft the defence for you but I am happy to proof read and give you tips.
Alex Hughes : Can I assist any further?
Sounds good, only problem is there is no way for me to attach photographic evidence to my defence and that is pivotal to my argument
Alex Hughes : There's no need to attach photographs at this stage. You can make a statement later or just produce them at the court hearing. Small claims are quite informal and you can take the photos along to show the judge if you wish.
Alex, Thanks for your help, is there any way you could provide your email address so I can send you a draft of my defence...Promise I won't bother you any further than that!