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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50191
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am registered disabled with Parkinson's Disease, dystonia

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I am registered disabled with Parkinson's Disease, dystonia and heart atrial fibrilation. I recently employed a plumber to carry out VAT free alterations to our bathroom (including walk in shower etc) and a separate wash room with toilet all of which are within HMRC guidelines for non payment of VAT. Before commencing work I stated that I required VAT refund. The plumber stated that he was buying the goods on line and it would be cheaper to obtain the goods that way rather than from a shop based vendor (in this case Willbond). We agreed. In reality the goods were ordered by the plumber from Grahams Plumbers Supplies a wholesaler based here in Grantham. We are aware that application for VAT free purchases must be made at the time of purchase. Because he misled us (lied might be a better word) we did not complete the HMRC form. Now the plumber is raising every obstacle and objection to prevent us obtaining a VAT refund. Does the plumber have a case to answer e.g. fraud? Thank you

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

How long ago did he carry out the work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
one item outstanding

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.

Please can you also confirm how long ago the work was carried out? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The final item changing a toilet seat should be completed this week
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ten days ago

Thanks for your patience. This is not a case of fraud so do not see this as a criminal matter which wold create any criminal liability on the plumber’s part. At worst this would be a breach of contract or misrepresentation issue, which are civil matters. What you can potentially do is hold them negligent due to their actions and the way you were misled and consider pursuing them for the portion of VAT which should have been refunded to you. This means that if they are not allowing you to make the claim and you do not end up being able to do so and have to pay the VAT element you could consider taking things further and pursuing the plumber for compensation for the amount of VAT you have been unable to get back.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should you decide to take this further, 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks how best do I proceed?

Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, such as the VAT you are trying to claim here, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advic

you are welcome