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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49789
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a decorator and have just finished a job in a house local

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i am a decorator and have just finished a job in a house local to me.Whilst i was doing the work the home owners went on holiday and left no contact numbers and as they were in scotland there mobiles wernt in service.when i looked at the work i asked all the relevant questions ,were the walls true and straight and had any one had problems wallpapering before, the customer said no and handed me a key and they left the next day.the quote i had given had asked for 8-10 days to complete the work and i was informed that i only had 7 to finish the work.i pushed on and had stripped all the walls and prepared for wallpapering which i started and after 3 pieces of paper started noticing that the walls were out of plumb. This caused the work to take twice as long as the paper supplied was not appropriate for the state of the walls.Ihad tried to ring them but got the message that the phone was out of service so i carried on.When the client came back 4 days later they noticed a few joints had separated by 1mm and a few stretch marks were i had been fighting to get it straight,i went to the house were i was told by the customer that he knew the walls were all over the place because he had decorated it before and had problems,now had he mentioned this before i would not have hung the paper because the paper they bought was not suitable for walls like them.Any way ther was a heated discussion and i agreed that i would come back to rectify all i could but was told to pack my tools and he didnt want me to finish the job.I had paid a labouror for 2 days work to help strip the walls and had purchased all the paint and got nothing back out of the£230 that i spent.the labour was £785 which i got none of .I feel that the customer ,knowing his own home should have told me of the problems and bought appropriate materials for the problems he knew of that exist in his house and the errors were made because of his reluctance to do this....where do i stand and what can i do to recover my monies.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Wasn't it apparent to you that there were problems with the walls?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

not visually it only became obvious when i was wallpapering, it wasnt lumps and bumps it was the walls being out from top to bottom and being a staircase its not obvious to the eye. you would only know if you had decorated yourself which the customer said he had done, knowing this why would he not have informed me and asked if the paper was appropriate for the walls?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

is that what i have paid £38 for

Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law.
You can only realistically claim against the customer if you can show that they had misled you when they knew the state of the property and gave you false information. If they did not have any knowledge of this and it would not have been reasonably expected of them to know then it may be difficult to pursue them. In the circumstances you would have been expected to stop the work until you had managed to contact them and obtain further instructions, even if it meant going past the originally set deadline.
If you can show that they knew about the potential issues but failed to advise you, then you could take the matter further.
As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:
1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.
3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.
Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The day i went to talk to the house holder i mentioned the state of the walls and he responded "you dont have to tell me about the walls mate ive decorated it myself".

the reason i didnt stop was that the wife is having an operation today and said she didnt want me there while she was recovering at home, so i think i would have got as bad a reaction by leaving the work unfinished.

As a decorator of 30 years i think the job done was as good as they would have got from anyone under the circumstances and only by standing inches away can you see any of the faults caused by the bent walls, so my opinion is that the customer just doesnt want to pay. He admitted that they had used the same decorator for years when they couldnt do the work themselves and i am amased they didnt use him again as if anyone had known the problems that i came across then he was the man for the job.

I agree that they are just probably trying not to pay and using this as an excuse. The issue is you cannot force them to pay at this stage and if they are unwilling to cooperate then you will have no other option but to go for the steps outlined in my initial response above.
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49789
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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