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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71032
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I wanted a new fitted bathroom installing and a new bath in

Customer Question

I wanted a new fitted bathroom installing and a new bath in my second bathroom. I went to Wickes and chose to buy my bathroom there and pay for their installation service as I was attracted by their 2 year guarantee, and project mangement service. I am in poor health and didn't feel up to finding suitable tradesmen I thought it would be stress free.
I was assured that I would have one bathroom in full working order at all times, this was a very important issue for me. I went ahead and paid £5,346.62 which included £2,141.00 for installation but was advised that there would be additional specialist works that the installer would have to price for but they estimated £546.00 give or take a couple of hundred pounds.
When the installer came to survey he said the addional works would be £1,596.00 which was over a thousand pounds more than the estimate. I went back to Wickes and they went back to the installer to query why it was so much higher and it was discovered he was overcharging for the tiling. They came back to me and said the actual cost would be £1,248.00. I agreed to pay this as I already committed to having my bathrooms done.
The agreed start date was Monday 22nd July but the Friday before the work was due to the installer rang to say he couldn't start till the 29th July. It was obvious when he did come that he was not happy about me querying costs. I asked him if he could start work on the downstairs bathroom first as this was the priority as it's the bathroom my disabled mother uses but he said no he was starting work first as this was the smallest job. He pulled the shower out and then discovered that the Bath taps were faulty an he couldn't fit the bath so he proceeded to go downstairs an rip the entire bathroom out leaving us with no bathing or showering facilities for 2 days, we were reduced to strip washing at the sink.
From the very start I emphasised how important the downstairs shower and toilet were because my mother is disabled an struggles with the stairs, we were left with no showering facilities for 9 days and no downstairs toilet for 10 days as my mum was in too much pain to manage the stairs after a couple of days she was reduced to using a bucket as a toilet she was also forced to strip wash for 9 days as neither shower was working and she cannot get in or out of a bath.
I wasn't happy with the standard of some of the work that was being done and when raised it with the installer he became belligerent, I took photos to Wickes and they told him to redo it but he was not happy. The installer asked for more money for extra works an when I said I didn't agree he walked off the job. He became very aggressive an raised his voice to me I felt intimidated and frighten in my own home. I queried the alleged extra charges with Wickes and they said they weren't justified. I've been left with a really badly installed bathroom, Wickes have sent another fitter to look at the work an I've now been told the downstairs toilet, basin and units will have to be taken out an refitted as they have been fitted so badly and other cosmetic works will need to be done to bring it up to an acceptable standard. I am still waiting for this work to be done. The installer in the meantime has rung Wickes demanding that I pay £1,328.00 which I'm not happy about.
Do I have to pay him when he walked off the job?
I don't agree with his charges.
Can I ask for compensation for the inconvenience an distress he caused, how would I calculate this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
So, in short, Wickes accept this was badly done work?
And the installer wants more money?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes Wickes have agreed the work is poor and they have apologised on numerous occasions. They are not using the installer again they said they have sacked him but I'm not sure how they've done that as he's self employed.
They have promised to put everything right but they have said they will pay another installer to do this and I won't have to pay them any money for this but the original fitter is still asking for £ 1348.00.
I feel like I'm been pressured to pay this by Wickes to get the original installer off their back so to speak.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Did you ask him to do additional work over and above the installation?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes but under duress. I agreed to pay £30 for a new pull switch for the shower because the existing one was found to be faulty during the electrical safety check. I told him I would contact British Gas as I have a repair contract with them for my electrics an there would have been no charge for this but he said if I didn't agree to it there and then while his electrian was here he would condem the shower and render it unusable. My mum had already gone 9 days without been able to shower, she's 72 and was getting very distressed by the situation.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Was that the only additional work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Why does he say he is owed this money?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I haven't spoken to him since he walked off the job, he frightened me so I asked Wickes to deal with him on my behalf. They were appalled that he'd raised his voice to me. Whilst he was working at my house the police came to see him and I was obviously concerned when they were outside my house so I asked him why they were here and he said he was cautioned for racially abusing a boy at a football match and he was making a counter allegation. He told me that he gets mad easily so you can see why I've not wanted to deal with him anymore. Do I need to ask Wickes to get him to clarify why he thinks he is due the money. I'm worrying he might sue me because he said he was going to sue Wickes on the day he left my house.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, he may do that.
It is difficult to tell on this information. If he is a sub contractor then his contract is with Wickes and he should be suing them.
He would only be able to sue you if he is arguing that you asked for additional work to be done and he agreed.
Ultimately though, you can only really avoid that for certain in one way and that is to pay in full. If you are not prepared to do that then you bear the risk of being sued.
If you are sued then you just go to court and defend it. It really comes down to whether he can prove this anyway. It is only a small claims court sum so it is not expensive to sue or defend.
Can I clarify anything for you?