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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50206
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We are a limited company selling building materials. Back

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Hi, we are a limited company selling building materials. Back in 2014 we had this customer lets call him Bob, ordering the windows. We geve him detailed quotation for goods only and he paid 50% of the deposit of 1200 pounds. We have then offered him free installation by friend, who owed us a favour. Bob's very good friend is a building inspector and he was on site daily controlling of what the friend was doing, adding up works and materials. Once the windows has been exchanged, Bob decides that he will get someone else to finish them off (around the windows). At this point, he still held remaining of 1200 pounds. We have agreed, that he will cover finishing off from the remaining 1200 and pay the rest to us once it has been done (we calculated ruffly 200 - 300 pounds to be taken off). After six month, we have sent him a payment request. He came to visit us to say he didnt find anyone to finish it. When he then said ok, we have provided goods and you didnt allow us to finish the works, we will take you to the court - he was faster and took us to the court. He first claimed 1800 as per some contractor quote (who propably was recommended by his old time friend - builiding inspector), to raise the quote to 5500 over the fact that he took (not mutally agreed surveyor) who said, if the works carried by the new contractor will not be to builidng inspector standards, it may cost 5500 total to fix it. Bob didnt allow us to finish the job, he didnt pay us the full amount contracted (that for goods only, as fitting was free of charge), didnt make any formal complaint either oral or in writing - we just agreed for him to find someone to finish it off and cover from the money he owes us. He then drops 5500 bomb on us! How can we defend ourselves?
Hello at what stage of the court proceedings are you now?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Bob has raised a claim to 5500 and we now have to file a defence, because the original claim was for 1800 and he was out of the country, it was stroke out. He then applied to reinstate and claims for 5500 - which we have to file a defence for.
So what is the 5500 exactly for - is he claiming that the work completed by your fitter was not up to standard and it would cost that much to fix?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
but please note, we have only invoiced him for goods supplied, as the fitter is not connected with the company in terms of employment
Has he made a claim against the fitter?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
no, he made a claim agaisnt us, as he feels we are responsible as we sent the fitter over. Please also note, fitting was free of charge, as he owed us a favour and we wanted to help the old Bob out :(
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Thanks for your patience. Your arguments here would centre around the fact that you did not supply the fitter as part of the transaction with the customer but you only put them in touch with someone who was able to help. You have no legal control over that person and as such would not be responsible for their actions. The fitter would be legally responsible for their own work and if there were issues with the standard of workmanship then they would need to be pursued personally. As such if the customer wanted to challenge the fitting work, they should have made the claim against the fitter directly, not you. If they had any issues with the goods you had supplied then of course the liability would fall on you but the issues here are not with the goods, they are with the fitting work, which was separate to the goods.
Therefore, in your defence you would mention the above factors and ask that the court strikes out the claim, or removes you as a defendant because it is made against the wrong party and you would have no legal liability in the circumstances.
I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks a lot, the very last one. As I said the building inspector is an old friend of Bob. I assume the surveyor you appointed was trough him. Can we request both their opinions to be taken off the files on those grounds and in the worst case scenario, can we request mutually agreed building inspector to sign off the goods and surveyor to sign off the works and window quality?
If you think there will be bias in opinion then you may indeed try and ask for their evidence not to be taken into account, or if allowed to be included - for limited weight to be attached to it when considering it. Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules emphasises the necessity that experts remain independent and use their expertise to help the court decide the case and should not tailor their views to support the case of any one party. The rules on small claims cases state that no expert evidence of any kind can be used at a small claims trial unless the court has been asked for permission in advance. Although many of the general rules on evidence do not apply to the small claims court some of the rules, relating specifically to the use of expert evidence, do:Only expert evidence which is reasonably required to resolve the case can be used;The expert’s overriding duty is to assist the court on issues that come within his field of expertise. This duty takes precedence to any duty or obligation he may have to the party or parties who instructed or paid him.If a single joint expert is used, he must be instructed in accordance with Part 35 of the CPR. Hope this clarifies
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes thanks! briliant!
You are welcome, all the best