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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71137
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello I have a problem with commercial furniture that I

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I have a problem with commercial furniture that I have been supplied and wonder if you can help.
I sent a photograph of a call centre type table to a furniture company and asked if they could supply ten tables in a similar style for a school.
I had to pay 100% upfront. They supplied the tables but the quality was dreadful. The tops were damaged and the tables very unstable.
They have been out to site three times.
Once to replace the tops, once to add an extra leg and once to replace damaged divider screens.
However, though the tables are only 4 months old they are very unstable. Legs are falling off, one table collapsed injuring a student and they are generally not fit for purpose.
The supplier has now told me they take no further responsibilty as the table was made to my design.
I don't accept this. If I sent a photograph of a house to a builder I would expect the builder to create suitable foundations and use bricks and other material that would be effective and fit for purpose. As furniture makers they should surely have made tables that are fit for purpose and advised me of this accordingly.
How do you think I stand and how should I proceed please?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
It depends really. This comes down to whether they are at fault or not which is going to be in minutia.
To use your example, if you sent a photograph of a house to a builder then he should create stable foundations. However, if you insist upon a design that cannot be done safely and he advises you of that before proceeding then he is not liable.
As with all disputes of this kind, they are required to discharge their duties with reasonable care and skill. That does not mean perfect but it does mean of a reasonable standard.
If the photographs you sent revealed a design that could not be done safely then they should really have advised you of that. I am not really sure there is much in that point anyway. The construction of tables and stools should be simple enough. If they are unstable then that would tend to suggest their work is faulty.
But if they won't agree then your only option is to sue. There is no other way of enforcing the law.
If it is under £10k then you can claim at the small claims court cheaply enough. It is probably a good idea to write to them first warning of your intention to sue if they do not settle. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not but it only costs a stamp to try that.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo

Thanks for your answer. I didn't insist on that design and would have have happily listened to advice.

The cost was £9.8k for manufacture and £700 for installation. Can I go through the small claims court?

You are just within the small claims court remit so it would be cheap to issue against them.
I would try a letter before action first though.