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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69545
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A plumber who began working on a new bathroom in June

Customer Question

A plumber who began working on a new bathroom for me in June delivered to my house a spa bath and a toilet. These came with no packaging, no paperwork, no fitting instructions, and were not chosen by me. He had previously told me that he had chosen items on my behalf, including a superior quality bath, and I had paid him £1000 for the bath in advance of seeing it. Now that I have seen these items, and the bath is a composite and plastic bath - not what I wanted - I have asked him to refund the money and remove the items. He has refused on both counts. He also refuses to tell me where he got them, so I cannot myself negotiate a return. I am at my wits' end. I have been without a bathroom since June, I have and items stored in my bedroom that I don't want, and I cannot afford to replace them myself and employ a different plumber. I have been helped by Citizen's Advice and sent him a letter using one of their templates. His response was a flat refusal to do anything to resolve the situation. I cannot afford legal action: I saved for two years for the bathroom. What do I do?

I had previously paid money for tiles into a different account, which it transpired was his savings account. I am happy with the tiles, if not the method of payment.

The man has also presented me with an invoice for £827 for work carried out to prepare the bathroom, removing tiles and sealing the floor. We agreed beforehand that this was beyond my budget and that he would tile over tile to save money. He carried out this work with no further negotiation, all the time saying he was 'doing this for nothing'. This includes the cost of materials at 150% of the retail price for which I could have procured them myself.

I also have a series of emails and texts from all hours of the day and night which are akin to sexual harassment.

I am willing to ignore all of the latter if the bath and toilet are removed and my money refunded.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
did you give him permission to choose the bath on your behalf?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He had permission to look at things and make suggestions, but not to purchase unseen. All he did was show me a picture on his ipad and ask 'Do you like this one?' I had no details of manufacturer, price, materials etc. I said yes, because it looked nice. It was never discussed again until it arrived.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Is it the same one?
Or a type of its kind?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't know, because I never had any details prior to purchase, and I still have no details as to what I have bought. The one on the screen was a picture only, no obvious webpage and no wording, and the one I have is without label or paperwork.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, but is it broadly the same?
You would be able to tell from a visual image.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Visually, yes, but I cannot answer for the material from which it is made.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
And when you said you liked it was it agreed that he would purchase it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Who did you agree would purchase?
It would be normal for a plumber to purchase?
Or did you make efforts to buy elsewhere?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

There was no agreement. I was still searching websites when he said he had bought one for £1000 and needed the money repaid immediately. This had never been discussed, but he had negotiated on the tiles on my behalf, while I was there, to get the price down.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok.
That is going to be a problem I'm afraid. This will come down to a dispute over that. He will undoubtedly say that you agreed to this particular model and point to the fact that you were shown a picture and accepted it. You can obviously make the points you have made above and it would be a for a court to decide.
In truth, a Judge might well be of the view that it would be normal for a plumber to purchase the suite. Whether or not he purchased this particular one without your agreement is another matter.
It depends whether you can convince a Judge that the materials were not what was agreed.
Either way, he is entitled to be paid the value of the work he has done so there is no prospect of a full refund I'm afraid. If you didn't agree a price in advance then it will be a matter of assessing the average for the industry. If you did agree a price in advance then you would argue that you are only liable for that sum.
Please forget the emails. They are a non issue and if you get the wrong Judge he will take the view you are trying to gain an advantage but making allegation of that nature. I'm afraid there are people who do and unfortunately courts are becoming increasingly discontent with it. I think some young ladies think they don't have to pay for anything at all if they claim somebody had a sexual interest in them. Judges don't like it.
In terms of affording legal action, this is only a small claims court sum so it would be cheap to sue.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69545
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It is unclear to me how to ask a follow up question without having to pay again.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
You just post back on here. You shouldn't have to pay again.
You don't post new questions. I think you have a reply button although I never use the site from your side.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

This is my fifth attempt.

The toilet and bath were delivered by my plumber with no idea of their provenance: everything was unpackaged, with no paperwork of any kind, no installation guides, no warranties, and no idea of their provenance.

Is this allowed? I have asked for the relevant documentation and it has been refused. It makes it very difficult for me to try to sell the items on to minimise my losses.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, there is no challenge in that.
Normally they would not hand over paperwork unless there were a specific agreement in advance that it would be.
The only question here is whether he had permission to purchase a suite and, if so, whether this one complies.

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