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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Some 3 or so weeks ago we asked some builders to come

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Some 3 or so weeks ago we asked some builders to come to our flat and replace the boiler, fit a new kitchen ordered from Wren's, replace the bath, sink and toilet and retile the bathroom. We had ordered and paid for the tiles but they needed collecting as they were not in stock in the shop in Hitchin. They gave us a quotation over the internet after surveying the job. We accepted the quotation and paid them a deposit of £2500, no contract was offered for signature. They said the work would take 2 weeks which was great as we were going on holiday for 19 days from the 6th May and the work would be much easier if we weren't in the way. We asked for pictures to be taken as they went along and emailed to us so we could see how the work was progressing.
We returned on Sunday to chaos, although we were not expecting to see the work finished as there had only been 5 photos sent and they did not fill us with confidence. We found that the boiler and the relevant plumbing had been fitted but was not completed until Tuesday morning. The plastering in the kitchen was amateurish to say the least and unfinished. Two wall units had been put up against this unfinished surface and most of the base units. The bathroom had been stripped out and a new bath (not metal as requested) and toilet unit fitted but not fixed to the floor as the tiles had only been put up on Friday last. The tiling had been done against uneven surfaces on the wall and floor and therefore were uneven and not level. We complained to the two sub- contractors who arrived to continue the work and they asked a manager to visit. We showed the manager what had and had not been done and told him that most of the tiles which would have finished the job in the bathroom were in the skip sitting outside. Since then we had been told that an expert kitchen fitter would be in to complete the contract but this fell through. They are now offering to send two men in to do what we consider is a week's work, without having ordered the new tiles which took 4 days to arrive last time, and finishing the job over this weekend! To what standard we dread to think. Our question to you, if you would be so kind, is what is our legal position if we pay them for what they have done so far, eg the £2500, for the boiler which we are happy with.
We have repeatedly asked them to put in writing the manager's offer of sorting this out and detail what work they are going to do so that we can at least have some confidence that the work will be finished.
We are pensioners and this is the first time we have encountered anything like this. The facilities we have been left with are laughable, one tap in the bath, uneven tiles and rubble in the bathroom. No kitchen facilities whatsoever. Our standard of living at the moment is absolutely unacceptable and we need advice urgently on which way to go because they keep passing us from one person to another and we have no answers.
We await your advice.
Joe and Lois Sweeting
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.

  1. For the avoidance of doubt do I understand that you have so far only paid the deposit you refer to and nothing else please?
  2. Have they given you a notice of any right to cancel the agreement with them?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We confirm we have only paid the deposit. No they have not given us any notice of right to cancel the agreement with them.

Many thanks. Lastly, at this stage is your preference to allow the current builders to continue or as I suspect may be the case, have a third party contractor complete the job?If the latter, do you believe a third party contractor would be able to finish the job for less than the original quote or do you think that it might cost more due to having to put right some of the faulty work to achieve a good finish?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

On the evidence so far, we have no confidence in this company. We feel it would be another rushed job and 3rd party contractor finishing the work. We want to pay them and move on even if it costs more to put right. How can we achieve this legally? Can we offer them what we think it is worth?

What is your advice please?

Thank you for the above. There are two approaches you can take to resolve the situation. The first is by reference to your agreement with the builders. The supply of goods and services act implies a number of conditions into your agreement, in particular that the work they carry out will be of reasonable quality and carried out with reasonable skill and care, and material supplied will be of reasonable quality and fit for purpose. These terms are implied into your agreement irrespective of whether there is anything expressly included in any terms and conditions and cannot be excluded. Based upon what you say, the breach of contract under one or more of these terms and accordingly, you can require them to put right the issues you identify giving them a reasonable opportunity to do so and if they fail to do so having given a reasonable opportunity, you can declare in breach of contract and employ a third party contractor to complete the work the original contractor the original quote price less the cost of any replacement contractor you employ to complete the work. However, if you prefer to use alternative company, and I fully understand why you would wish to do so at this stage, there may be a simpler approach. The rather long winded named Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 provides you with a 14 days cooling off period to change your mind about the service because the agreement was either entered into on the phone, online or in your house. Based on what you say it was probably by email but the same cooling off period applies in any of the above cases so it is somewhat immaterial.Unless you were given a notice informing you of your right to cancel the agreement and you asked to sign a specific waiver in relation to your cooling off period - this cannot be hidden in the small print - then you have 14 days from the date you entered into the contract to change your mind and cancel. If they did not supply you with the above notice, the 14 day period is extended until 14 days following the date they do give you the information they are required to give you.Accordingly, if you decide to cancel the service the only requirement is that you give them notice in writing and accordingly, you may wish to either email them or write to them in the post advising that you are giving them notice of your decision to cancel their service under the above regulations and that no money is due to them on the basis that they have failed to comply with the above regulations and in addition Though there is no need to provide a reason for cancelling, you are most unsatisfied with the quality of their work as you have previously advised them. You do not need to give a reason for your decision to cancel though and they are not entitled to charge any money once your cancellation notice takes effect. if they harass you in any way following your cancellation, you may also consider mentioning to them that it is a criminal offence on their part of failed to comply with the above regulations and if any further harassment or unwanted contact takes place, you will have little hesitation in referring the matter to trading standards with a view to prosecution.Keep a copy of your cancellation notice either in your sent items folder if sending by email or sending by post, keep a copy of the letter and the proof of sending receipt though there is no need to send by recorded delivery.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
I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Joshua and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We did drop you a message to say thanks for your advice but relayed more information in that their company have supplied us with bathroom goods to the tune of £709 for which they may want payment but have caused us to need to purchase more tiles at £400 so can we refuse to pay any more money for the goods supplied?

I'm very sorry that message did not come through. I apologise for any technical difficulties. I will report it to the site engineers.In respect of any goods they have supplied you would need to pay the market cost for these goods if you wish to keep them. You do not have to pay for any of the labour that the company has supplied to date and can deduct this from any amount you consider are due. If you believe that their work will incur further costs beyond your right to avoid paying for labour then you can also seek to claim breach of contract under the Supply of Goods and Services Act and deduct further costs you can show are a direct result of their breach of contract in failing to provide work with proper skill and care.