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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47334
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have given £6k to a building company in March this yr,

Customer Question

Hi , I have given £6k to a building company in March this yr, after 5 months of completely messing up the planning, the company are keeping £800 for costs incurred so far and have agreed to a refund of £5200. I might fight the £800 later but I have asked them to release the £5200 but they have only agreed to do this if I agree to acceptance of the £5200 as a full and final settlement of the contract.
This seems wrong , I feel they have dishonest all the way and I don't see why I have to accept the their clause .
Best wishes
Mrs B
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. What costs have they actually incurred and have they completed any work for you?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hello Ben
We have a grade 2 listed building and wanted a garden room built , they took a deposit of £6k (10%) . The planning was refused but they had verbally said they would consult the local planning office so it was a shock when it was refused, we were then persuaded by their rep to continue with the rest of the application . The drew plan after plan which were incorrect , missed out windows ,doors, and stair case etc, it's been 5'onths now. Last week one of the directors agreed to refund the full amount, but today he emailed to say he was keeping back £800 due to their costs incurred so far. The final nail is his closing statement stating that I have to put into writing the I accept the £5200 as a full and final settlement . Do I have to accept this , does this mean I cannot fight to reclaim the £800 back?
Thank. You
Mrs B
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
They haven't completed any works , they have terminated the contract as they say they are within their rights to do so. BW
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The company is one that designs garden rooms and conservatories, they are called Julius bahn
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

ok thanks leave it with me please I will reply later on this eve on here

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Thanks for your patience. If you were to accept the amount in full and final settlement then yes, you would be prevented from taking this further as you would have basically accepted a formal offer so would be bound by its terms. If you wanted to pursue them for the full amount then you wold have to reject their offer and then either continue negotiating or start proceeding to recover the full amount. This is going to go to the small claim court as it is for below £10k so the risks are relatively low, in a sense that you won’t have to pay extortionate amounts to make the claim, you won’t need legal representation and even if you lost you would not be responsible for the other side’s legal fees. If you are adamant that you want the full amount then you reject their offer an state that you are simply going to pursue this down the legal route and as you are very likely to win (due to the fact that they have acted negligently and incompetently and not provided you with anything of value), their liabilities will increase because not only will you be claiming back for the deposit you paid but also for your court fees.

If you need to you can eventually proceed to making the claim, you have 6 years so there is certainly no rush.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should you decide 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 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Please can you outline steps if I was to take this further ie via a small claims court? If I reject their claim in order to pursue further is the most I lose the £800 , will I still be able to regain the £5200 if I were to lose the case? Many thanks for your help.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hi, no the risk (worst case of course) is you get nothing, for example if the court thinks you have no claim at all and they are due the full £6k but I think that is very unlikely. Of course I have to highlight that this is a risk though.

In terms of taking this further yourself, 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.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hello Ben I need further advice please, I have given the company an opportunity to refund me £5,200 but they insisted I sign a full and final settlement . I didn't want to do this because they haven't apologised at any point or acknowledged they were in the wrong at any stage. I had given them until 5pm before starting legal proceedings. They have simp,y chosen not to respond my deadline. I would now like to take them to a small claims court and recoup the whole £6000.
What is my next step ? Do I write them a formal letter listing all the steps where they were incorrect? Do I give them 14 days to repond before I apply to the small claims court. I need further guidance if you are able to assist.
BW Mrs B
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hi there, just to cover yourself I would suggest you go through these steps - it will not delay tings much and will show that you have acted reasonably in the process.