Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
How long ago did you sign the contract?
OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.
Sorry just one more question - did the contract you had with them state anything about not being able to cancel for circumstances beyond their control?
Yes I agree. Unless this was a very specific piece of work where a particular skilled person was required to do it, the fact that they have eft should not result in such an unreasonable delay. If this s a generic piece of work that they do on a frequent basis and any of their fitters can do it, then they should try and fit you in sooner.
As far as the formal legal position is concerned, when you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:
· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);
· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and
· Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed).
In addition, any information said or written is binding where the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or about the results to be achieved.
Whilst you can advise them that you are cancelling and set out your reasons for doing so, you cannot force them accept such cancellation or to refund any deposit or payments you have paid. It means that you would have to consider taking this further in order to pursue a refund for that money and there are options available for you to do this.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can take if they refuse to agree to the cancellation and refund you the money, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Hi there, whilst there is nothing specific in law which says how long a delay can be before it becomes unreasonable, the fact that you have given them the opportunity to resolve this and they have failed to do so, means that you would have a better argument against them.
As to taking this matter further, 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:
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.
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.
3. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand
4. 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.
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.