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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71129
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We recently ordered a bespoke fitted bathroom and an ensuite

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We recently ordered a bespoke fitted bathroom and an ensuite bathroom. The bathroom was fitted and paid for, but for the en suite we paid a deposit and a further amount at the start of the works. However, on the last day of fitting they brought the washbasin and unit that they had ordered and it was far too big for the ensuite. The sink was about the size of a baby bath, which meant that you would have been able to sit on the toilet and wash your feet at the same time. We said that this was totally unacceptable and the salesman became very aggressive and said that he had not realised the size of the basin, but that because this was specially ordered we would have to pay for it. In the end they took the basin and unit back and we paid them the balance outstanding minus the cost of the basin and unit. We subsequently employed another company to finish the work. We have now received a letter from the original company asking for 50% of the value of the basin and unit, which is £672. They have said that it we do not pay this they will pursue recovery of the full cost of £1344. Where do we stand?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I am

Was it specifically ordered?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They suggested this when they designed the ensuite and placed the order which they have since said was specifically ordered as they do not keep any items in stock

Yes, but did you agree to this particular size?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We were not told the size and it was not on their original quotation - just the name and model number

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No - they designed the ensuite and we left the sizing to them as the "experts"

Do they accept that you weren't told the size?
Or do you just not know?
Is it in any small print?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They have made no mention of the size in their recent letter, nor when they were designing the ensuite in their office. There is no small print on their quotation just the name of the basin and unit.

There are a variety of issues here really.
This is a bespoke product so you cannot just cancel under the distance selling regulations which is the point they are making.
However, they are under a duty to mitigate their loss. They still have the sink to sell to another customer. If they don't hold stock then that might not be useful to them but the manufacturer would probably take it back and a court would expect them to have checked to see whether that was an option. If they have suffered no loss then there is no claim.
Proceed though on the basis that they have suffered a loss as that is worst case scenario. Then it comes down to whether or not you can argue that they were not reasonably skilled in their advice to you that this particular sink was a suitable size. It would appear that they didn't tell you the size of the sink and, in fairness, it is reasonable to rely on the advice of a tradesmen. If they didn't give you specifications then it wasn't really a decision that you could make.
they may sue. It may be just an attempt to frighten you into paying. Letters before action are often in that category. If they do sue then you would have to defend it. There is always a risk that you could lose but overall I think you would probably succeed.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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