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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48190
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We recently had a job done by a roofer to a dormer window

Customer Question

We recently had a job done by a roofer to a dormer window which turned out to be so badly executed (they hadn't even stuck the new felt down properly, simply nailing it down without torching the macadamised underside!) that we later had a leak into the room below. To make good the damage cost us over £1600. I have had phone conversations with the roofer about the matter but he denies any liability. I am now formally claiming our costs off him. I have recently sent him all the necessary evidence (including photographs taken by the second roofer who had to strip back the whole dormer and start again) with a covering letter claiming reimbursement. The documents were sent by Special Delivery to the address of the roofer as given on his quotes and invoices. I know the delivery reached its destination and was accepted as I have proof of a signature (by someone other than himself - a woman) through tracking the delivery. However, I have now received the documents back by registered post saying the addressee is not known at that address. I suspect this is not true and is merely a ploy, but what is the legal status of the delivery now and how should I proceed? In my letter I threatened that if I do not receive a response from him within ten days, then I shall report him to Trading Standards and start proceedings against him in the Small Claims court.
Best wishes,
***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did the roofer carry the work out?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In October 2015. I paid him for the job on 21 October, to be precise. It took until December/January for the leak into the room below to become obvious.We then had another roofer redo the dormer work in February 2016.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The second roofer confirmed that it was the first roofer's poor workmanship that had resulted in the leak.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Final remedial work was carried out in June 2016 when the room damaged by the leak was redecorated. I was then able to assess the total cost of the work.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. 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.

If there are problems with the standard of work, or any of the above, you will have certain rights:

1. The trader should either redo the parts of the service which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience.

2. If redoing the work is impossible or cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. The price reduction would depend on how severe the issues are and could be as much as the full cost of the work.

3. If the service has been performed so badly that it would be unreasonable to expect the consumer to give the trader a second chance, you may be entitled to claim the cost of remedial work by another trader.

You have attempted to deliver your reminder letter and what you expect but that has been returned. You do not have to go out of your way to ensure that is delivered. You could consider posting it personally at the address or giving it to the builder if you can find him but that is not a legal requirement. You are able to take the next steps you had planned to in the circumstances even if the letter was returned.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you want to take this further, 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please can you tell me what options are now open to me - assuming I get no further response from him.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that you follow these steps:

1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. estimate, contract, correspondence, etc.).

2. Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to return to fix the issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).

3. In the meantime find out if the trader is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve your complaint.

4. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses.

5. If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could potentially get a different trader to complete the work and consider suing the original trader for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is your last resort, however it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.

6. Finally, make sure that you send all correspondence by recorded delivery and keep copies.

If you wish to take the matter further and issue legal proceedings, assuming you will just be claiming financial compensation, you may issue your claim via the Court’s online portal at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been through all these steps already. I have also checked that he is not a member of any recognised trade organisation for either roofers or builders. I will of course report him to Trading Standards. Since he failed to carry out the obligations he himself put in his original quote for the job, surely that is fraud and should be notified to the police - is this a realistic step? If legal proceedings are my only recourse, what is the likely cost to me of such action and what is its likely success? Can one add interest to payments made in the small claims court?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Do not bother with the police – they will not get involved with this, it is a civil matter, not a criminal one. As to civil action, how much are you looking to claim?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would want to reclaim the total cost to me of redoing the job and making good the damage. As I mentioned earlier, it amounts to around £1600.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

If you wish to pursue them for this money, then whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. 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 party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably 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 pursue the compensation due. 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. 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 other side 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.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has now had two formal letters from me by registered post, the last giving him a 10-day deadline to respond. This was delivered (and signed for by the receiver) on 21 July 2016, so the 10-day deadline has already fallen due and I have heard nothing from him. So I think we have reached a point of last resort and I have little alternative but to start legal proceedings. Do you agree?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Yes I would agree, if you have done everything you said then you can proceed to issuing formal proceedings now, there is probably little point sending more letters

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. You didn't say if the courts award interest on late payment. I assume not on the initial amount claimed in court, but what if the verdict goes in favour of the claimant and payment is not forthcoming? And if he still refuses to pay as ordered by the court, what steps are open to me then?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Sorry yes they can but only on a debt so this may not necessarily qualify as i may not be seen as a debt which you had agreed to be repaid, instead it would be seen as a claim for compensation. However, if a court judgment is given in your favour and remains unpaid you could claim interest on that.

As to what you can do if the judgment remains unpaid see here:

https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/enforce-a-judgment

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. Michael
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome, good luck