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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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In March I signed an agreement with a double-glazing firm to

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In March I signed an agreement with a double-glazing firm to replace our
wooden porch with a brick based construction. The salesman inspected the
existing porch and said it would cost £5500 to replace but he would accept
£4600 if I signed up then and there. Very foolishly I handed over a cheque
for £400 deposit.They sent a surveyor a week later who said the specification
was inadequate and that a variation would be required. I went through what
was needed with the surveyor; this is what I thought the salesman had offered
but not what he had written dowm. I think the idea was for a second visit to
bump up the price but over the phone I said we were not prepared to move on
price. Several weeks later we got a letter to say the job was scheduled for
June 8. Over the phone I was given a verbal assurance that the job would be
done as agreed with the surveyor and they sent a photocopy of the sign-off
from the sales department.
On the Saturday before the installation someone phoned to say the job might
not start as arranged on the Monday because a builder might not be available
owing to sickness. They did not ring as promised on the Monday and nobody
turned up. When I phoned they said they would ring when they found someone to
do the work. I sent a letter to cancel the agreement and to ask for the
return of my deposit.
The following Saturday they phoned asking to reschedule the work and two
weeks later repeated the offer in writing, mentioning that otherwise I would
be liable to a 70% cancellation fee.
I was taken in by the sales pitch initially but now I do not trust them to do
the work properly - they have repeatedly failed to send details of the work
to be done despite promising to email.
When I read the contract again, it does state a cancellation fee of 70%. But
their outlay so far would be much less than that. The salesman explained
originally that much of the cost would be labour.
I don't suppose there is any prospect of getting back the deposit, but am I
liable for a cancellation fee? And if so, how much?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do they mean that the cancellation is fee is 70% of the remaining amount?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I believe it is 70% of the full amount (£4600). I have the document scanned in pdf (6Mb)

Are you able to upload it on here please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No - it is a large pdf document - 6 Mb. I could email it if there is an address.

unfortunately we cannot communicate with customers via email. Here is a other solution - can you please go to and upload the document on there, giving me the link - it is a free document storage website
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is the agreement (two files)


Letter asking for details


Cancellation letter



Thanks for sending the files, which I have reviewed. When you signed up to have this work undertaken you would entered into a legally binding contract, subject to the terms and conditions agreed between you. Whilst you may have agreed a specific start date, there are circumstances beyond the company’s control which may result in this being postponed. For example, if there was genuine sickness with one of the builders and they could not get a replacement, they may have to move the date and it does not mean you can just cancel as a result. Obviously if the work was urgent and it was imperative that it had to be done ASAP then you could have sought to cancel and gone elsewhere but in the circumstances hat does not appear to be the case. Therefore, if you wanted to cancel you would be liable as per the terms of the agreement you had in place. Saying that, it is only a reference and may not necessarily be binding. The law operates in a way which makes clauses which can amount to being a penalty clause, to be illegal. This means that if one party is charging unreasonable costs for breach of contract or early termination by the other party, they may not necessarily be able to do so, even if there is a contractual term allowing for that. In essence, the builders cannot penalise you for you cancelling, they can only hold you liable for any genuine losses they have incurred as a result of this cancellation. For example, the surveyor costs, any labour or materials already used, or any bespoke materials which they have purchased and cannot return, re-sell or re-use. They cannot just pluck a figure of 70% of the total costs without being able to justify that this reflects the losses they have suffered from this. So whilst you may be liable to some extent for some of the things I mentioned above, you have the right to ask the company to justify their losses and how they believe they equal 70% of the total. If they cannot justify these you do not have to pay and it is for the company to decide on how to proceed. They can go to court but they may not, especially if they do not believe they have a great case or good evidence to justify these expenses. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the answer, which is very helpful.

This is the first time I have used Just Answer and I did not realize that the correspondence would be public. I have removed the files from MediaFire but the links still seem to work. Would you see if you can remove the links please. Thank you.

Also I have an additional question - the salesman did not provide any advice about a cooling off period (the sale was conducted at our house). I have been told this may give me the right to cancel and I wonder if you can confirm this?

Hello, sorry I have been offline for a few days so did not see your follow up query until now.
I see that the moderators have removed the links from this question so they should no longer be visible.
As to your query, a consumer’s rights in this situation are mainly determined by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. These Regulations apply to contracts for sales conducted on the trader’s business premises, off the trader’s premises (e.g. at the consumer’s home) and at a distance (e.g. online).
All types of transactions are subject to the requirement by the trader to issue the consumer with specific pre-contractual information, as long as it is not a contract entered off the trader’s remises for a value of less than £42. If this information is not provided then the consumer would not be bound by the contract and it can also be a fineable offence for the trader. Details of the required information can be found here:
• Contracts entered on the trader’s premises -
• Contracts entered off the trader’s premises or at a distance -
In terms of cancellation rights, these only apply to off-premises and distance contracts, subject to some limited exceptions (such as personalised goods). The statutory cancellation periods are as follows:
• Services – 14 days after the day the contract was entered into
• Goods – 14 days after the day the goods came into the physical possession of the consumer
The above cancellation periods may be extended by up to 12 months if the trader has failed to issue the consumer with notice of their right to cancel. Once that information has been provided within the initial 12 month period, the cancellation rights of 14 days start to run from the date after the consumer receives that information.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your further answer. I am very pleased that the moderator removed the links as I requested.

Actually the agreement includes most of the information required by the regulations, including information about cancellation. There is a small form for this and instructions at the bottom of the last page. But the salesman did not draw my attention to this and by the time I read it the period allowed had expired. This is an extract:

"If you wish to cancel the contract, you MUST DO SO IN WRITING within 7 days of signing this contract and deliver personally or send (by email if preferred) to the contact Department named below. You may use this form if you wish. Complete, detach and return this form. ONLY IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THIS CONTRACT.
The following costs will be incurred on cancellation:
After survey 15% costs, after manfucturing - 70% costs" (sic)

The period is 7 days. Am I correct in thinking that this is in breach of the regulations? And even if not, that they should have done more to bring the information to my attention?

Thanks for your help.

There is no requirement on them to draw your attention to the cancellation clause – it is sufficient to supply you with the written information containing this, that is all the law requires. The cancellation period is 14 days so by stating it is just 7 days you could argue they have not fulfilled the requirements of the consumer regulations so that the start of the cancellation period is postponed until the required information is provided.