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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 53663
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I wonder if you can give some advice about a bill from a

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Hi I wonder if you can give some advice about a bill from a builder?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Please provide some more information so that I can advise? Thank you

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We needed work done on our house so obtained a quote, which had estimate on it. It included the cost of scaffold for 4 weeks as that was to be the duration of the job. I asked the builder about any hidden costs, he told me that we would pay for any extra materials needed along the way such as tilesor wood as the job was to paint the outside of the house and replace the gutter. The estimate also commented on checking on condition of some of the window frames and reporting on their condition. I was also concerned about the job running over due to the price of the scaffold as we were on a budget - he assured me this would not be a problem.The job was completed within the 4 weeks, however, when the final bill was submitted the amount had gone from just under £10,000 to £15, 500. This did include an extra £1000 for materials (we understand more roof tiles were broken than first thought) but are not happy with an extra £3,800 for labour despite the job finishing on time. He says that extra work was needed to put right the building before painting - this was not discussed with us before hand. Where do we stand with this extra charge?

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Thanks for your patience. 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 costs, timescales or about the results to be achieved. If additional costs were to be incurred then this should have been raised with you in advance and you approval sought.

So the extra charges should be discounted to a degree – maybe not necessarily completely removed if you have received work and materials to benefit you but you should not be responsible for the full bill and can challenge it further if needed.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking this further if the matter remains unresolved, 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 2 years ago.
We had already agreed to pay for any extra materials that were needed plus VAT of course - this has already been transferred to his account. I have sent an email to him stating we will pay the balance plus VAT but not the extra labour charges he has added as they were not discussed. Is this reasonable?

Thank you. What you have proposed is reasonable because as mentioned any extra work should have been agreed with you and you should have given them the go ahead first. After all you had an agreement in place and both of you would have been contractually bound by it so any amendments to it should have been negotiated and agreed in advance of the work proceeding. That is the whole point of having an agreement in place to start with, otherwise everyone can charge whatever they want at the end and take advantage of customers.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the fact that his original quote says 'estimate' does not mean he can add to the costs because they were only estimated to begin with?

An estimate is not as fixed as a formal quote but it is reasonable to expect a tradesman to inform you of any substantial changes in price and seek your agreement before proceeding with the work. You may have a set budget and undertaking further work and incurring further costs could be impossible for you to meet so even with an estimate they should be keeping you updated as to the costs incurred and what further costs may be incurred