Thanks for your patience. Whilst the basic argument may be that you have no contract with the couple and as such no legal responsibilities, that is not necessarily the case. If you had taken over a business, either by taking over the running of it, or purchasing it, there are times when you would have also taken on the existing liabilities they had. Generally, this would be officially recorded as part of any business transaction related to the takeover but even without this it could be that a court would imply the existing liabilities would have transferred over. So do not automatically assume you do not have obligations towards them.
In terms of their legal rights, 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)
In addition, any information exchanged in communications between the parties, whether written or verbal, is binding if the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or the results to be achieved.
If there are problems with any of the above, the customer will have certain rights:
1. Substandard work - the trader should either redo the parts of the work which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to the customer. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience. If this is not possible, you can claim a price reduction, based on the severity of the issues. If you simply refuse to resolve the issues, they can consider getting someone else to rectify the issues and either deduct these costs from the total owed to you, or pursue you for any extra costs that have been incurred.
There is nothing stopping them from making a claim so the matter would then be with the courts. You can always say that they are being unreasonable rushing with court action and that if they go and make a claim and then lose you would be seeking costs if possible. That may put them off actually making a claim now and give you a bit more time to resolve this.
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