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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6339
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I've recently had a kitchen fitted. It was supplied by Wren

Customer Question

I've recently had a kitchen fitted. It was supplied by Wren but fitted by an independent builder. Before he started I obtained a quote from him. I also wanted some additional electrical work doing, some down lights fitting, a new consumer unit and some external lights fitted. He said his electrician could do that but it would be extra to the kitchen fitting which I was happy with. The work was completed bar the fitting of the cookers that have arrived late. The electrician has invoiced me for £1500 which I feel is excessive. Prior to commencing work, the electrician never provided a quote or estimate. Is he right to demand this amount and should he be paid in full? He also informed me his terms were 7 days, I told him I hadn't seen or signed his terms and conditions and have yet to pay him. Could you tell me where I stand legally?
Regards, ***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Were you provided any information on the costs of these lights by the builder?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I supplied the lights but the electrician supplied the other fittings. The builder never mentioned any costs in connection with the electrical work.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Ok do you have a view as to how much the value of the work should have been?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The electrician I usually use had completed a similar job at the house opposite and he said he'd charged £1100 but admitted he'd only broke even on the job. When the builder quoted for the job he quoted to remove old kitchen and refit kitchen supplied by customer. I assumed that the electrics were included as a gas fitter was required to remove the old cooker and this wasn't quoted for separately. The builder charged £2100 for the job, my view for the additional work, lights, consumer unit etc., would be around £800.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Ok it is a pity you did not receive a quote and I would advise that as a matter of course you do this in the future so that there can be no dispute. The Supply of Goods and Services Act states that in the circumstances that there is no agreed price the price must be 'reasonable'. In order to ascertain whether this is reasonable or not your best bet is to ask a few other electricians to quote you for the same job. If after that process you feel that you have been over charged then pay the amount you feel is reasonable within 7 days and say that if he tries to reclaim the outstanding sum you will defend any claim he makes on the basis that the amount he is charging is unreasonable. Hopefully that will assist you to resolve the matter. If you have any further questions please do ask.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this ? If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would please rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for my time. Thank you.
Jenny and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jenny
After more consideration and research, could you confirm the following. As I received no quote or estimate from the electrician or had any dealings or communications with him prior to the invoice, I feel that he should be classed as a sub contractor to the builder. Is this the case? The builder was not qualified to under take the electrical work so had to sub contract it, this was also the case for the gas cooker that had to be removed too, I haven't received an invoice from the gas contractor. Also, with not receiving any estimate from the electrician, what was to stop him say invoicing me for £2000 or even more. He seems to be in a blank cheque situation, surely I should be under some form of consumer protection? I am happy to pay for the additional work that I requested and have asked the electrician for an itemised bill on two separate occasions so I can identify what I owe him, but he has declined. On Friday, I received a letter from the electrician's solicitor saying I have 14 days to pay.
I look forward to your reply.
Regards, ***** *****
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hi Giles, you will see that I referred to consumer protection laws in my original answer. The supply of Goods and Services Act governs the position and say the amount charged on the invoice should be reasonable when there is no quotation.
This will boil down to whether the amount you are being charged is reasonable for the work done.
You need to ascertain what other electricians with the same experience would charge for the same work.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jenny, OK, I'm happy with that, but I'm still curious about his position as a sub contractor seeing as how he never gave us a quote or estimate or had any communication with us. I don't even know what he looks like!
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
I don't think he could be deemed to be a subcontractor unless the original quote for work included the electrics.
If this were the case then he would obviously have to charge your builder not you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, we never sourced the electrician, he was the electrician that the builder sourced.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Yes but are you saying that you thought the builder had included the electrics in his original quotation? I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, as when we spoke to the builder he said that any additional electrical work would have to be paid directly to the electrician. The builder's quote said "remove old kitchen and fit new kitchen supplied by customer" I never had any dealings with the electrician, I couldn't even tell you what he looks like.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Ok this is not subcontracting. Subcontracting occurs where the original contract includes this work.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So it boils down to the fact that I will have to pay the electrician in full even though I was led to believe by the builder that the kitchen electrics were included and that the electrician never produced a quote or estimate, says he wants paid in 7 days as per his terms that I've never seen or signed?
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Ok I'm confused earlier I asked you if you were told if the electrics were included in your quote and you said 'the builder said that any additional work would have to be paid directly by the electician'.
so why were you led to believe that the electrics were included?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I wanted some outside lights fitting and while the kitchen was being refurbished I thought it wise to replace the old fuse box with the new type rcd consumer unit. I asked the builder if this could be done during the kitchen fit and he said he could get his electrician to do this but it would be in addition to the quote for the kitchen. This is why I believed the electrical work for the kitchen was included in the builder's quote.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Ok well in that case you can argue the cost should be met by the builder. Unless that is what the parties intended clearly it is unlikely to hold much merit.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have copied and pasted his quote onto here although at the end he refers to it as an estimate:Michael Simms
Building and joinery
Extensions, renovations, plastering and general building work *********** **** Harrogate, HG1 4BY***@******.***
Estimate
Giles Spencer
To Rip out old kitchen and fit new kitchen (supplied by client)-£1200
Knock old wall down dividing kitchen and dining room-£400
To plaster kitchen, dining room and hall ceilings-£350
Total cost-£1950
Any queries please contact me.
Many thanks
Michael Simms
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hi there is no mention of electrics in that quote. I think you are going to struggle with this argument.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I see your point but you're not going to fit a new kitchen without them, nor does he mention the removal of the gas cooker by a gas safe registered contractor, but that happened.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hi I can't really add anything further I don't think. You need to speak to the builder and let him know that you thought that the quote included the electrics for the lighting. Good luck with it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks Jenny, older, and much wiser!!
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
No problem all the best