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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3519
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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, My name is ***** ***** a ltd Co - property

Resolved Question:

Hi, My name is***** run a ltd Co - property refurbishment - all operatives are sub contractors. Have received a letter from a client via their legal reps claiming poor standard of works in a report done by one of their consultants. Some of the items we have not done or started to do but have no less been documented as poor. The client ceased the works without warnng and asked us to leave site. The works were in progress and at the stage of cesation, non were complete. The client signed a letter of instruction detailing the works and the agreed price. They now are demanding some of the payment back following their calucation of works done. I have never been subject of this before and beleive this to be a malicious and fiscal claim as they are only looking at works in progress. They paid around £8.5k of a total price of just under £15k, to date, labour and materials have cost me around £7k, they are demanding I return circa £6.5k. I dont have the captial to return and obviosly want to deal with this the most economic way, but realise they are on a path which will now incurr me cost to disprove their allegations.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
To clarify are they claiming repayment for work that you have not actually started or completed?
The £8.5k paid to date does this relate to completed works?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

AJ,

They are claiming that of the £8.5k already paid, only £1600 is of a standard they believe is correct/acceptable and that the balance needs to be returned.

Their payments were made of an intial deposit to secure our time, then 2 interim payments for works in progress, each invoice presented for their payment if satisfied as per the agreed terms. The works consisted of refurb of front living room and hallway - incorporating a lot of prep work, - eg strip all wallpaper, plaster all walls, ceilings, supply & hang new doors/ furniture build new media units, strip floorbaords, insulate under floor.... so quite labour intensive in the prep with the finishing left to do, to create the completed article.

Numerous delays from client over deliberations and alterations once started - all documented with further letters of instructuon being drafted by me incorporating their revised choices.

Their experts report documents items we were yet to do, (hang wallpaper, decorate, fit client supplied electrical sockets) but all documented as a poor standard?.

The payments to date cover all my epxenses for: the front end liaison, labour for the prepartion of all works, purchase of all materials, (including paint and wallpaper adhesive), plant, trades and VAT.

Their breakdown of the £1600 is totaly spurious and is their take on costs.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I have to leave my computer briefly but will be back later this evening.
I will prepare a response and post it this evening.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok, thanks AJ

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Thank you.
I am back at my computer and typing up a response now.
I will post if by 9am at the latest.
Kind regards
AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I have considered this carefully.
If they are going to bring a county court claim against you they will have to prove that the work done was not done with reasonable care and skill under S.13 of Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
Whether you can rebut this is a matter of fact. Your defence is essentially that you did act with reasonable care and skill. This leaves you with the following options:
1. As a starting point you have to respond to the expert report and openly (in writing) the items of work that have been criticised that you did not actually complete or do - criticise you for work you have not done or completely cannot subject to claim, any county court would agree;
2. You then have a choice:
- If you want to bring this to a close quickly write to them, offer them a return of some of the monies (not as much as they are asking) in attempt to settle - you will have to come up with figure that you are comfortable with;
- You dispute their version events and give full explanation as to why the report is inaccurate. Say that if they want to bring a claim against you, you will vigorously defend the claim and will seek to recover from the cost of doing so, including having your own expert opinion produced
At this stage have they said when they will issue a county court claim?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

apologies for delay, only today had opprotunity to be in offcie for admin.

no, they have not yet issued any claim but have asked to meet at a solicitord to discuss resloving.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
No problem. I would have thought the easiest way to resolve the dispute is to look into obtaining an opinion from an independent third party. For example another builder.
Ultimately your options are:
(i) Try and reach a settlement at the meeting to make this go away quickly;
(ii) Steadfastly defend the claim - the issue with this is it is their prerogative if they want to commence a county court claim or not and there you would have to defend any claim.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3519
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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