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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My 85 year old mother has just been charged £6000

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My 85 year old mother has just been charged £6000 for roof work - no price was quoted or written down - no schedule of work given - she is in the first stages of dementia - does she have to pay
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I clarify that there was no written agreement of any kind whatsoever please, rather than just nothing signed?
When was the agreement made and payment made?
Was the agreement made in her home?
Has she paid yet?
Finally do you have the name and address of the contractor involved?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello - there was no written agreement of any kind whatsoever.

The agreement was made on Friday 22 May - my mother thought it was going to cost £118 for the first part of the work this was her verbal understanding but she is very confused. Then on the Friday later in the day the contractor said the roof needed more work no price was quoted or written down. He came back today and finshed the work. My mother wrote him a cheque for £5750 she is astonished - shall we cancel the cheque?

Thanks. Was all this agreed at her house? I assume so from what you say?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes this was agreed at her house - thank you

Many thanks for the above. In the middle of last year, there was a radical overhaul in consumer protection legislation with the coming into force of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. These regulations replaced two sets of earlier regulations that have been in force since 2003. The old regulations required that your mother is given 7 days to cancel and agreement made at her home. The new 2013 regulations which were in force at the time she agreed the contract (unwritten though it is) requires a minimum period of 14 days to be given for her to cancel and requires a prescribed notice to be handed to her at the time she signed or agreed (where no signature is necessary) the contract setting out this and significant number of other rights she has under the regulationsFrom what you say it would appear that the tradesman with whom you are dealing has failed to comply with the regulations in failing to provide her with terms setting out her right to cancel nor the prescribed notice he must hand her setting out these rights. There is strict liability on the part of the tradesman to do so and it is a criminal offence not to comply with the 2013 regulations. Besides the criminal offence however, if the tradesman fails to comply with the regulations as appears to be the case here, your mothers right to cancel the contract is extended to the earlier of 14 days from the date the tradesman does give her a valid notice or 12 months and 14 days if he fails to give her a valid notice.Accordingly, based on what you say, your mother has an absolute right to change her mind and cancel the agreement. She does not have to give a reason but she must notify them of her cancellation in writing and keep a copy. Email is the simplest way to do this as a copy will be retained as evidence she has sent though if she prefers to use post, ensure that you keep a copy and proof of posting from the post office. She is entitled to a full refund of any monies paid to date under the regulations and the tradesman is not entitled to payment for any worked carried out to date.In terms of how you may decide to proceed in the specific circumstance, you may start with cancelling the cheque if it is not already cleared which would need to be done quickly and then contacting the tradesmen in the first instance without mentioning any of the above to ask him for a copy of the written agreement between him and your mother which from what you say, he will not be able to supply stating that until you have had had a chance to review the position payment cannot be made and that the cheque has been cancelled. If you are able to use email, this is a useful evidence trail of communications. In the assumption he is unable to produce a written agreement or he does cobble something together then you can consider going back to him advising that he has fail to comply with the above regulations and that your mother will be serving notice of cancellation upon him under the above regulations and she reserves the right to make a report to trading standards for criminal offence on his part in failing to comply with the regulations if he contact her again directly in person or harrasses her directly.It is important as above that cancellation is given in writing and ideally it would be given within 14 days of the date of the agreement though there is no particular urgency in this respect. The cancellation should be signed by your mother if sent by post. at that point, she will not over tradesmen any money and the tradesmen will not be entitled to be paid for the work carried out.I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much

A pleasure. One issue I would be concerned with in practice is his potentially harrassing your mother following the above. If you are also concerned about this you may wish to make a report to social services so they can log the issue and involve the police if there is any incident. Best wishes