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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I was given a quote building work to be done at our house.

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I was given a quote for some building work to be done at our house.
Part of the terms and conditions was that the place would be kept tidy and clean.
I had to pay 25% of the cost up front, then every week after an amount, so by the time the work was completed the whole debt would be paid. This has been done. But some extra work was also done.
After a week I got the final bill that I disputed. This was because some of the work in the original quote was not done for various reasons but I gave the builder extra work to do so in theory a deduction should have been made for the work not done and a charge for the extra work done. No deduction was made. Also I requested compensation for the mess the plasters had left which i and my partner cleaned up, this meant that the terms and conditions had been broken. Also another problem that I experienced was the builder charged me for items that I had purchased and paid for, and when I told him about it he said that he had been given the wrong information and just deducted the amounts off the bill - this ran into over £1000 of mistakes.
My builder has now said that he is going to collect the debt of £370, unsure whether this is with a debt collector, the work finished middle of June. Can he do this, if there is a dispute.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Are you hoping to keep the balance of £370 or are you looking for some other resolution?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am happy to negotiate with the builder but will not listen to me. Can he go to the debt collector now even though there is a dispute.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is happening? Are still on line?

A debt collector is just there to be a nuisance and to try and force you to pay. They do not have legal powers unless the creditor has obtained a county court judgment in their favour. At this stage that has not happened - they just claim you owe them money but that is under dispute as it is their word against yours. They can engage a debt collector to try and pressure you into paying but that is no different than getting a friend of theirs to write to you. So yes, debt collectors can be engaged but they cannot force you to do anything and are just there to try to make you pay by using tactics, like threats or sending you lots of letters and making calls. To force you to pay anything the builder will have to go to the small claims court and win. This is still a long way way and it may never come to that.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal right you have to dispute this, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is going to get a county court judgment against me today. Should I pay the £370 because I take that will effect my credit rating and all number of things. I feel that it has happened so quickly and that I appear to have no rights to stop him, and it just is not right and he is the one in the wrong.

Do you mean that he has already issued a claim and the final hearing is today?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, if he does not receive payment by today he will get a ccj against me for non payment of the bill.

It doesn't quite work this way. He cannot just get a CCJ against you today. To do so he first needs to submit a formal claim in the small claims court. The claim needs to be processed and you will be given the chance to repsond to it and defend it. A hearing will then be scheduled so that this can be heard by a judge and you can both attend to give your side if the story. After that he judge will make a decision and only if he believes the builder is in the right will they issue a CCJ in his favour. So a CCJ is still a few months away.

In terms of challenging this bill, when you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:

· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);

· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and

· Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed).

In addition, any information said or written is binding where the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or about the results to be achieved.

If there are problems with the standard of work, or any of the above, you will have certain rights:

1. The trader should either redo the parts of the service which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience.

2. If redoing the work is impossible or cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. The price reduction would depend on how severe the issues are and could be as much as the full cost of the work.

3. If the service has been performed so badly that it would be unreasonable to expect the consumer to give the trader a second chance, you may be entitled to claim the cost of remedial work by another trader.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** put it very clear. I have offered my builder the opportunity to come and finish and put right the work, but as yet no response, so I will see what he says.

No worries, hope it gets resolved but if not and you nee further help you know where you can find me.