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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I negotiated a price with a bathroom company back in December

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I negotiated a price with a bathroom company back in December for cash - the price agreed was £4300 in cash and I paid £2000 in cash to them on the 11th December and didnt get a receipt - the company was VAT registered but because the other firms I had chosen were cheaper I asked if the company could do anything for cash and they agreed the price - this was all done verbally - my son and his girlfriend are witness to this conversation - works started on the 7th December and didnt finish until the 5th February despite them saying they would take 7-10 days - they also sent their terms and conditions after the job was finished
The works were an absolute carnage - involving 3 baths (they kept chipping them) , leaks, the flooring wasnt fitted properly, uneven tiles, leaking taps and shower - plug not working on basin and plug leaking on bath, grout is miscoloured, tiles uneven - shower uneven - flooring cracking - plastering extremely poor finish and much more - it was a catalogue of disasters and there are still outstanding issues plus they damaged my kitchen ceiling with all the banging and crashing and say this is not their ressponsibility - they spoke to me in a really bad way and said it was me damaging the baths
They have also said they will consider a claim against me for slander if I speak to anybody about them in a derogatory way
They have also said that I am committing VAT fraud by asking them to accept cash - when I spoke to a solicitor recently thwy said it is not against the law to ask for a discount for cash - cash is king in any business and helps cashflow
Because I have said I want a reduction as they dont seem to be able to finish to a satisfactory standard they have now said that they didnt agree the cash price and their price was always about VAT being added on which would make them the most expensive company by about £1200 and I would never have gone ahead with them if that was the case
I spoke to trading standards and they said I am perfectly within my rights to ask for a reduction if they havent finished it to a satisfactory standard
I asked for their complaints procedure and this says to contact the financial ombudsman which I did but they are not interested as its not a financial matter - i then went back to the company to say this but they ignored my email
They have dated the invoice the 1st february but the works didnt finish until the 5th february
They agreed a reduction of £500 for the faults and I have sent numerous emails asking for them to accept the £1800 in cash that I originally agreed with them but they have ignored my emails
They sent a 7 day payment demand from Thomas Higgins which I tried to respond to but they just direct you back to the Company
I responded again to the company but again all emails were ignored
I then asked if they agreed the job was in deadlock but they didnt reply
Then I received the Claim Form for County Court Business Centre
This is where I am and I dont know how to respond - I feel I should counter claim for the time it took them - the stress it has brought to me and the inconveneince of being without a fully functional bathrooom over xmas plus the disruption to my business that i run from home.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Is the work now complete or is there work outstanding?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The work was completed on the 5th February but the job is not to my standard plus there are new issues since they left
Have you had an independent person review the work and assess the cost of repair?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not yet no - I had a quote for the plastering element of it but all the other bits no. - I have received the claim form from the court now so I have limited time
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was trying to avoid it going to court but they are ignoring them all
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have tried to get bathroom people in to look at the work but they are not interested in touching someones elses work
it is essential that you do this to properly defend the claim. If you are arguing that you should not pay the full cost of the invoice due to defective work then it is important that you assess the cost of putting the work right. you can then say they are in breach of contract and in breach of the Consumer Contract Act for failing to carry out the work with reasonable care and skill. In the event that the cost of the repair is more than you have paid then you can counter claim. You cannot claim for stress unfortunately. If you can show lost earnings then potentially these can be claimed. If the deadline for filing the defence is imminent you can file an acknowledgement of service form to give you an additional 2 weeks to respond.
As a tactic you could send them a cheque for £1800 in full and final settlement. If they cash this cheque they will have accepted the price. You should send it recorded delivery.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay I will get some quotes first and foremostHow long should my defence document be because I have detailed the entire job and its currently 18 pages of problems and copy emails so will this be read in its entireity?Also what are your thoughts on the VAT fraud issue ? They are saying I committed VAT fraud by asking them to accept cash and they quoted me a price with VAT added onCan I clain for the fact they said it would take 7-10 days but actually took 37 days
No if you pay in cash then it is for them to pay VAT on that amount. It is them who are fraudulently failing to declare VAT not you. Your defence can be as long as you like, the more detail the better. If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any way of showing a video in my defence to show the problems with the shower etc ?
you can present video evidence to the court if necessary. This would not be on the defence form but at an actual hearing.
Hello is there anything else you would like to know as I can see you have not yet rated my answer which is an important part of the process?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think you missed my question - Can I claim for the fact they said it would take 7-10 days but actually took 37 days
not unless you made 'time of the essence' an essential part of the contract. The fact that they said it would be done verbally within a certain period is not enough to allow you to claim for the additional time taken.
Jenny and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay thank you so much for your help - what do you think my chances of being successful at the hearing with the history I have given you
i think if you can prove the work was not of adequate standard then you have a very good chance. This is why you need to try to get evidence from other builders. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer before leaving the site as I am not otherwise credited for the time I have spent working on your question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Jenny - you have been very helpful
no problem all the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The form I have received is a Claim Form for the Business Centre asking me to accept or disagree with the form - do I have to send back my full defence with this or will it need to be submitted at a later date?
You should say you disagree. There should be an acknowledgement of service option giving you an extra 14 days if it is not there phone the business centre and ask for assistance and say you would like to defend but need extra time to get your evidence.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A colleague of mine said the reaction to this should be short and sweet and either an agree or disagree and a short explanation why - it will go to mediation and then a court date will be given when the full defence should be submitted - is this correct?
A full defence would be given at the hearing so your colleague is correct in that respect. The reason i think you need to file an acknowledgement of service is that you need to know the value of the counter claim. you can't do that without costings from third parties.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im really confused now because the court man I just spoke to said I need to submit my full defence at this stage ? I dont want to lose because I havent submitted the right documents at the right stage
In that case you need to submit the grounds for the defence which are ; 1. That the price you have offered to pay is the amount verbally agreed. you should state that you wish to counter claim on the basis that, the work is not of reasonable quality under the consumer contracts act. you should state that the amount of the counter claim is (to be assessed) as you do not have the evidence yet. You can then provide evidence of the above if the matter goes to a full hearing.