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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have recently had a kitchen fitted by a man who advertises

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I have recently had a kitchen fitted by a man who advertises himself as a kitchen fitter/joiner. The workmanship is poor and I have already written to him about this. He disagrees with me. He asked for his money when he finished the job - I wrote a cheque - no invoice as yet...but when I noticed some of the mess he has made and given his attitude I stopped the cheque. He told me he was a good tiler too, then after tiling my kitchen said it was the first time he had done the brick effect. Sadly, this man has gone onto a forum for kitchen fitters and though I haven't been mentioned in name has had a real go at me on there, other fitters have joined in and I had a real character assignation on there. How do I know it was me? Though he has a user name, he has published (without my permission) photographs of my kitchen. I was so upset when I came across this last Thursday that I phoned the police, it made me feel so vulnerable. I am a woman alone and he advertised this too, telling them I had been widowed he thought about 2 years. The thing is, I don't feel I can have him back in my home to rectify the work. I know what he has done regarding the publishing of photographs of my home on the internet is not right either. What I would like to do is ask him to come and look at the problems (I would have someone with me, I couldn't do it otherwise) and say that I have a price for putting it right (I have had someone in today who has said it will cost just over a £1000 to put things right) ...I would like to have them to do the work and him have what is left of the money and so as to avoid mediation and courts, I would deduct this money from his bill and no more to be said. Where do I stand with this please?
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.


thank you

Ben Jones :

When you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the law says that the work must be:

  • Carried out with reasonable care and skill – i.e. to a proper standard of workmanship;

  • Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and

  • Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed).

In addition, any materials provided as part of the work must:

  • Match their description

  • Be of satisfactory quality

If there are problems with the standard of work, or the materials used, you will have certain rights.

If work has already started, and there has been some breach of contract by the other side, you would usually be expected to give them the opportunity to rectify the problem. However, if you can justify why they should not be given such an opportunity, for example, if work has been left in a dangerous condition or their work is obviously below-par, you could refuse to do so.

In terms of potential compensation, you may be entitled to that in the following circumstances:

  • The work was not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or finished within a reasonable time;

  • The tradesman has been negligent in their work;

  • You have accepted a repair, which turns out to be unsatisfactory;

  • The services are unsafe and someone has suffered injury

  • You have incurred additional expenses or suffered inconvenience because of the tradesman’s breach of contract.

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

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

  2. Contact the tradesman and explain your problem. Ask for a refund, a repair, or compensation and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).

  3. In the meantime find out if the tradesman is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve your complaint. If they are not, you may wish to obtain an expert opinion from an independent tradesman specialising in this field to back up your position.

  4. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the tradesman repeating your complaint and how you would like them to fix this. Say you are giving them a final 7 day time limit to resolve the problem or you will ask another tradesman to carry out the work and you intend to recover their costs from them. Advise them that you will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings to seek compensation.

  5. If the tradesman makes an alternative offer, you can either accept or continue to negotiate. Be reasonable and realistic in what you will accept. You may not get an improved outcome by going to court.

  6. If the tradesman fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you can get a different tradesman to complete the work and consider suing the original tradesman for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is your last resort and you will need sufficient evidence to prove your claim. Nevertheless, 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.

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

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you


ok, in my letter I gave him 14 days to respond. I told him that he had broken his contract with me by doing such a poor job. I have already had another person in who said it will cost more than £1000 to rectify to a reasonable standard. The original tradesman is not a member of a trade association. I think my idea of asking him to come and at least look (he has refused so far) with a third party there (I have been left in a vulnerable position with the blog on the internet) and then suggest because of the situation we are in due to him voicing his opinions of me online and showing photographs of my home which I had no idea he had, that I do not wish him to do put the kitchen right. I will then not seek any compensation if we can sort it out amicably between ourselves, however, should he not want this I will then seek compensation for the internet photographs too. Thank you very much for your help, it has been very useful :-)

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, hope you get to resolve this


so do I! nightmare times... I am a widow and this was bantered all over the internet too, asking other tradesmen if they wanted a date with me :-( I hope this can be sorted soon, this man is a neighbour too :-( thank you

Ben Jones :

makes it that bit more awkward but does not change your legal rights at least


thank you

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