Thank you. 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.
In the circumstances you will be looking at some compensation for what has happened. 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.