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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 51214
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I asked a professional restorer of musical instruments to

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I asked a professional restorer of musical instruments to repair a small unglued area of my Cello. He has done similar work on this Cello before. On this occasion he said he now charged £50 per hour and the cost would be "a few hundred pounds"
I was expecting a bill of about £200 as had been the case earlier.
I had no contact with him for several months. He finally phoned me to say the Cello was ready. I asked how much was the bill and he replied £995
I asked by email and letter for an explanation and reconsideration and had no reply.
I arranged to visit and discuss the bill today and it emerged that he claimed payment for some 20 hours of unarmed and unauthorised work.
Attempts at compromise failed and he refused to hand over the Cello unless we could agree a figure and the bill was paid.
I am minded to pay for the authorised work and repeat my demand for the Cello leaving him to pursue payment for the unagreed work. This was the basis of the offer I made today plus a "goodwill" part payment for the unagreed work. This he rejected and I left without the Cello.

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

You say you had paid £200 for similar work before - was it actually similar work, or something different you had done on the cello?

Please note that due to the late hour now I may not be able to reply until tomorrow, thank you

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
No. Very similar, glueing a failing joint in another part of the instrument, if anything more structural and complex than the current problem.

Thank you. When a person enters 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 frame has been agreed)
• Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed)

Therefore, it is the last point which you would be relying on in this case, where you would argue that the work has not been provided at a reasonable cost. Also, a few hundred pounds, as estimated, would generally be assumed to mean somewhere in the range of £300-500, as £900 is certainly not just 'a few'.

As you cannot force him to return the item without payment, you may have to agree to pay the amount requested, but making it clear it is done under protest and that you do not accept the charges, but are paying them just to ensure you get your item back. After that, you can consider a claim for the amount you believe you have been overcharged with. As this will go to the small claims court, the fees and risks will be rather low.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to follow if you were to take this further. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. In the end, you will be looking for compensation for the ‘overcharging’ if you had to pursue that route.

If a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

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

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 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 them for the compensation in question. 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 a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.