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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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We have had problems with a gardening contractor who we have

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We have had problems with a gardening contractor who we have let go because of poor quality work. He gave us an initial quote of £8,700 (£4,600 materials and £4,100 labour) for installing decking, improving the fencing by the decking and laying 2 areas of slabbing, a gravel garden (including aggregates) and some planting. The quote also included some basic lighting. We paid a deposit of £4,600 by 20th February which was required to secure an early March start and to purchase materials. The contractor did not begin work until 23rd March and nothing had been delivered to us by that date. It was clear from the beginning that both work rate and quality of work were very poor. We questioned the slabs laid as we thought there was too much of a slope and some felt loose but let it go as that area had not been completed and would hopefully be corrected. The real problem was the decking - a large area that we wanted carried out in hardwood. We had checked with the contractor that he had worked with hardwood before hiring him as it is more difficult to work with than the usual softwood decks - he said he had completed about 30 decks of which at least 6 were hardwood ones. He began work on the decking area but did not level the ground beneath the decking area. We queried this and he said that was not a problem and that the decking would be supported by pillars. The framework was erected but after the first area of decking planks went up it was clear that he was struggling. He did not countersink the screws (as we had asked and the product website advised) and the screws ended up splitting the wood, being sheared off etc. He used splintered planks and some of the wood was marked with black scrapes where he had struggled with screws. The quality of carpentry overall was shoddy. This man worked when he felt like it, usually turning up at around 11am and finishing before 4pm taking a lunchbreak too and spending long periods on his phone and consulting instructions for the new cheap tools he had bought. As such we were not able to catch him before he left after putting up the area of bad decking so we contacted him by text on the Tuesday evening (7th April) before we went away for 2 days. We sent pictures of the bad workmanship and told him we found it unacceptable. He replied that he felt undervalued and that all the faults would be easily corrected and we should let him do his job - we would see good results on our return. When we did return we were far from pleased. He had not completed much more of the decking area but is was totally unacceptable (we have photos) and we felt we couldn't let him carry on ruining the rest of the project so advised him we would have to let him go - this was by email and text on Sunday 12th April and my partner met with him on Monday 13th April where it was agreed, broadly, that if he (the contractor) produced invoices proving expenditure neither party would pursue the other. We had also paid him an additional £846 for returfing costs though none of this work was done or goods received. We calculate that we have not received at least £1500 of materials that have been paid for - probably more but they weren't itemised (including turf, skip, plants, planters, wood treatments, aggregates, lighting to name but some items) and he has ruined wood which we have had to pay to replace to the value of £800 plus wasted cement and sand of a further £300 value. We have had to have all the work he did on the slabbing taken up and re-done and the decking frame and decking taken down completely so that the area could be properly prepared. We have had to do this work ourselves and through hiring contractors when they can fit work in at the weekends and evenings as they are all booked up now. We should have had the work finished by now but are only just a little past the point where we had to let this contractor go. We don't regret letting him go and know that we will eventually get a much better job in the end. He is chasing us however for a further £545 which he says we owe him for the balance of labour we hadn't paid for (we counted a maximum of nine days work and he was calculating that at £200 per day).
We are refusing to pay him any more money because of what he has already had from us as well as the wastage he has cost us. Any advice would be gratefully received.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
What is the cost to put right please, do you know?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


We have paid approximately £1100 in materials and £900 in labour costs so far. The cost to redo the decking to the point where it was left will be around £1000.

Do you owe any £ to the current builder?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If you mean the one we let go - he is claiming that we owe him money for labour but he owes us money for materials. If you mean the one we are working with currently then no - we pay him on a day rate.

Yes what is the old builder saying is owing and what is owing to you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He is asking us for £545. We have not received approximately £1000 of materials in the original quote that we have already paid for and have spent as above in putting right his work and replacing materials he damaged.

Thanks for that. What is it you want to achieve or what would you like to know as I understand the background now?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We want to know that he has no basis to ask for more money and if we are entitled to any money back from him

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We want to know that he has no basis to ask for more money and also if we are entitled to a refund from him,

I don't think you are liable to pay. If did he a poor job and indeed has not provided materials which you have paid for then:
1) He has no basis to ask you for more money
2) You are entitled to money back for materials paid/work done
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you

I am just following up on this. Is there anything else I can help with? If so, please let me know.