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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71037
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was hired by a customer to take on landscaping work within

Customer Question

I was hired by a customer to take on landscaping work within thier garden
The estimate was accepted and I started the job. They paid a deposit for materials but not an amount that covered all the materials. After 10 days I asked for some money towards our labour which was paid. The job was going well. The clients were always changing the spec and adding and changing along the way veering off from the original estimate. She seemed quite happy with he work so far. I had informed her on site that the privacy screening I was building I was not overly happy with and was going to start again with fresh timber at my cost. The privacy screening on the other side of the garden was perfect. I laid around 200 slabs, 11 of which were loose and did not set, we spoke about it on site and over the phone and I told her I would relay the loose 1, she seemed happy with my response and we carried on. i was asked to lay a path down the sideway, in her own words she did not really care in which manner as long as it was decent enough. She kept adding extra work and asked us to paint the new screen and fence, my reply was if we have time within the original time frame to complete the original work agreed. I realised that there was not going to be time to paint it all and gave her the option of tackling it herself, paying us at another time to return or I could arrange for somebody to do it, this conversation took place over the phone. She then completely lost her temper became very abusive towards me, ranted on about the 11 loose slabs which I had already told her I agreed to do, she didn't like the path I reminded her I agreed to alter the layout of it. At no point did I refuse to put anything right apart from refusing to paint the fence and screen not included on the estimate.
She then became very angry and told me not to f'ing return. I wrote to her 2 days after and informed her that she had terminated our contract over the phone on such a such date and time. I also informed her that at no point had I refused to be flexible and alter or change within reason. I reminded her that off my own back I didn't like the new screening on one particular side as was going to change the first 2 sections at my cost. I also remained her that I had offered to relay the 11 lose slabs and alter the path whilst still in contract with her.
I aslo informed her in my letter that materials are still outstanding and need paying for and also labour cost. I informed her that we were only a couple of days for finishing and not being given the chance to return and carry on was not acceptable. I told her I believed she was in breach of contract and gave her 7 days to settle the materials and labour including what should have been paid on completion too as being struck off over the phone was unfair or I would begin litigation action against her. I informed her that I didn't think we would be able to sustain a suitable working relationship as I found her very abusive and unreasonable. I have now heard back and she wants me to return and relay all the paving! And basically carry out remedial work which I deem to be unneeded, and I believe she is just being awkward. I need to know where I stand I would rather not return and work for these people as I find them intimidating rude and abusive. I offered to rectify any minor snagging whilst under contract but they now seem to be throwing it all back at me. My letter stated my offer to carry out any snagging within reason but she terminated the contract over the phone telling me she does not want me F'ing back!
Please Help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

What would you like to know about this please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to know if I have to return at all seeing as though she terminated the contract over the phone and sacked me off, am I entitled to seek money at all.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Have you been paid the value of the work you have done hitherto?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No there are payments outstanding for materials on site and some labour to date.
To be honest I would rather not return they are vile and the husband is about to be sentenced for criminal activity. She now deems the work to be substandard which it is not and complaining certain parts are not to expectations. But this is because I have been told not to return and so have not had the chance to finish what she is moaning about. The work in realitly is not substandard and of decent workmanship.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Well, you can't return if they won't let you. You cannot force your attentions upon them. If they are refusing you access then there is nothing you can do about that.

You are entitled to be paid for the work you have done.

She can defend on the basis that it is substandard and the matter can be resolved in court. If it is not substandard then she will have to pay.

If she refuses to pay though then your only option is to sue. There are no other remedies.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

But yes, if she refuses to let you complete then that isn't your fault.

Obviously you will not have a claim for the full amount of the contract but you would have a claim for the value of hte work you have done.

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She now wants me to carry out unessecary works and rip up patio and relay it. There is nothing wrong with it. She was abusive and sacked me off over the phone but now wants me to return. If she has sacked me off the job do I have to return? She breached the contract surely by not giving notice or the chance for me to finish. I can't work for these people any longer they are vulgar I need to be clear of my rights. Surely you can't tell a tradesmen not to f'ing not come back and then change your mind.
Thanks for your help so far
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

You are under a duty to check to see if the work needs remedy and do it if it does.

You could try to argue that she was abusive so you shouldn't have to but it never goes down very well. In keeping with the modern reverse sexism, in my experience, men are just expected to put up with things like that whereas woman do generally play the victim better and get away with more.