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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have had several emails with a person who was recommended

Customer Question

I have had several emails with a person who was recommended to me to be the architectural surveyor for my building project. I saw him for an initial meeting to discuss what I wanted. I said I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do a loft extension, a side extension or a wraparound extension, or how I wanted to use the garage. That it all came down to costs and that I wanted a detailed set of drawings so that I could see what my best option was.
The man, Mr Wallis, sent me costings / prices for doing a side extension and a wraparound extension only. I asked a few questions in emails and I said his charges were fine. I realised that he had misunderstood the brief but I decided to discuss what I wanted again in person when we met. I thought he did not want to go through every possibility with me and that I could use his fee scale to give me a general idea.
A few days later he came around with a blunt pencil and scruffy notebook and proceeded make a few jotted notes and to take a few measurements using a gadget. I reiterated that what I wanted was to have detailed drawings of the house and garden. And that I had not made up my mind about how to expand the house. ( He mentions I am undecided in his costing email.)
He kept ignoring what I said and at the end of about 40 minutes he had done a small, messy freehand sketch, like one done by a child, and he had a few measurements.
I was unhappy about this. He seemed rude and unprofessional and to not take instructions from me or change what he was doing in accordance with what I wanted. He did not bring a ladder, had not intended to look at the loft, he wouldn't take measurements of the garden, even though some of the extension ideas affected the garden, he didn't write down anything about the gradients on which the house stands which is important because at present the garage has a steeply sloping concrete floor and the house stands on a hill.
When he had gone I looked at his card and he didn't seem to have any of the qualifications for the job you would expect, so I got even more worried. I decided to extricate myself before things got worse. So I offered to give him a 'without prejudice' payment of £60. He wrote back saying as a gesture of good will he would charge me for 50% of the total job of £950 and that I needed to pay him £475. I wrote back saying there were two sides to this, so I would give him a 'without prejudice payment of 50% of what he asked, which was £237.5. He wrote back saying the following:
From: Michael Wallis
Sent: 01 November 2016 17:33
To: ***** *****
Subject: RE: 1 Hyde Close, Barnet - quote
Hilary
I thank you've your email, as mentioned most of the work is now complete I only have two or three hours more work to complete your drawings including elevations drawings, at which time my fee was agreed at £950, there was also an additional fee agreed if I was to provide two or three different schemes.
My fee for architectural works is £90/hour, as you know I spent three hours at your property +1 hour travel and I spent three hours in transferring measurements taken on-site onto a cad system, total 7 hours @ £ 90 = £ 630, so as I mentioned my offer of £475 was trying to be fair and reasonable.
I would hope you are not dissatisfied, as mentioned the majority of my work is now complete so these drawings could be used at a future date if necessary
I trust this is satisfactory.
Regards
Michael
I didn't respond as I thought his version didn't correspond with how I saw things and I didn't know what my rights were or what I was and wasn't liable for. He is now writing 'demand by emails' for £400 or he will take me to court.
I feel he has sent me the wrong costings, not listened to my brief, not done what I wanted and now he is demanding money for completely worthless work. I actually already have a simple set of house plans done by an architectural surveyor for a planning application which could be adapted. I wouldn't have asked for this twice.
What are my rights? Do I have to pay him what he is asking? Or can I write to him and say that he misunderstood my brief, his work was not as I wanted, that I will pay only pay him the £237.5, take it or leave it. Would it go to court? What are my rights as a householder in this matter?
Thank you very much,
Hilary
Submitted: 24 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 24 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 24 days ago.

Had you specified your brief in writing to him at any point?

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Hi Ben,
I have written my question in some detail. Do you have the text?And, I do not want to have a subscription! I said I wanted to spend £56 for and answer. That is it! If I can't have this I want my money back,
Hilary
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 24 days ago.

Hi Hilary, Please could you clarify whether you had specified your brief in writing to him as I understand that he had initially misunderstood your requirements and you then arranged to meet him in person to discuss this. Thank you

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Hi Ben,
thank you for responding.No. made the initial contact by phone and I told him the brief in a meeting in person. There were no records.
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Can we pleas do this on the phone? My number is *****?
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
This isn't quite how it was.
I did not specify the brief in writing. We discussed what I wanted at a meeting.He then wrote an itemised changes list for doing drawings etc. I can cut and past the correspondence if that helps?
Customer: replied 24 days ago.
I mean 'charges'
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 24 days ago.

Thank you for your response. I am unable to talk at the moment but leave it with me and I will review the relevant information and laws 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. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 24 days ago.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 23 days ago.

Hi there, sorry for some reason my full response did not register last night so I will try again below:

Thanks for your patience. You do not have to pay him what he is asking for but at the same time he does not have to accept that and can proceed with a court claim. You both have the right to challenge the other and whilst you can refuse to pay he can take you to court.

Whilst there is no guarantee he would do so, he is legally entitled to do this, even if you can show that what he is asking for is unreasonable and hat everything else you say happened did actually happen and shows he has not acted as expected. However, he still has the right to prove you wrong.

One slight issue here is that a lot of the issues that have given rise to this were discussed verbally so in essence it could end up being your word against his. In these circumstances it could come down to who the court believes more, even if it is not the correct outcome.

One positive for you though, if this was to go to court, is that this will end up in the small claims court. Therefore the risks are relatively low, meaning that even if you were to lose the claim, you would not have to pay his legal fees. You would have to pay the court costs but these would not be more than £150, on top of what he is claiming. So that would be the worst case scenario really and considering that you could take your chances and refuse to pay and let him take this as far as he wants to.

Alternatively what you have proposed is also an option, where you offer further without prejudice offers. What you can also try is send him a cheque for the amount you are willing to pay and mark it as full and final settlement for this issue and if he cashes it then he would be accepting your offer that this is the final and only payment and he would not be able to pursue you further – It is a trick you can give a go and it may work.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 22 days ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 21 days ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

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