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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50518
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Director of a small business called Television Reception

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Hi, I'm Steve Tabbenor, director of a small business called Television Reception Specialists Ltd, a company wich was formed at the beginning of the current financial year, following the purchase of the trading name Aerial King, which my son had been involved with for some 15 months. For some weeks I have been trying to satisfy a local couple who had a received a quote and had work done by Aerial King prior to the sale. Essentially, the work was left incomplete in the customer's opinion, and they want Aerial King to complete the work without further charge. There was a frustrated repair attempt made before the sale, parts were supplied by the previous owner to effect a repair which we fitted. Since then heated conversations have followed regarding the completion of further works on a no cost basis, which I feel is unreasonable.I would appreciate advice as today's conversation with the customers left me with a 24hr deadline to respond, if the work is not arranged and carried out, legal action would follow.This threat was clearly made and stated as a "no threat" by the customer as an experienced police employee who deals with court paperwork on a daily basis. The local Trading standards representative advises that they customer has no contract with my company and thus has no claim to further work, despite it being my intention to be as obliging as possible. Are you able to offer any advice on this matter please?

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

When was the work carried out?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
The initial work, the failed repair was late in March of this year, the supply of the components was made in early April, after I had bought the trade name
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
The parts supplied had been paid for effectively by the previous owner, we supplied at no additional cost

OK thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

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.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thanks for your response Ben, but I think you may have misunderstood a couple of items. I did not buy a company, I bought a trade name. The old owner of the trade name was aerial and satellite solutions Ltd, trading as aerial king. I own television Reception Specialists Ltd, now trading as Aerial King. The original contract or agreement took place between the couple and Aerial and Satellite before I bought the trade name of Aerial King. Local Trading Standards are of the opinion that the obligations of one legal entity do not carry over to a purchaser of a trading name, but would in the event of the transfer of a company. The couple concerned have paid me absolutely nothing, yet still want more for work not detailed on the quotation that is the basis of the contract. The lady concerned wants the fitting of an aerial point adding to the requirements of the quote FOC, the gent would have been content to pay an additional £70 for the job. The basis for the lady's opinion is that the items supplied were obtainable online for 260, so that effectively leaves them in credit to the sum of 105 in her eyes, despite the fact that we have to make a living out of the supply of these items, provide after sales service and warranty, she still expects that for nothing, we have to pay the going rate at our supplier for these, pretty much the same as the online price. Sorry to go on, but they have been rather abusive this morning in teir demands, and have given a deadline of 24 hrs for final response, making the point that the gent is employed by the police involved with court paperwork all day for the last 40 years, and his brother is a solicitor for a London company, not that it should be considered a threat he said.

Thanks for clarifying. OK so if you did not buy the assets, goodwill or anything to do with the company and it was only a trading name, then I do agree that legally you are unlikely to have any legal obligations towards them. My initial response was based on the assumption that you had actually bought part of the business, rather than just a name.

You can refuse to assist them further if you wanted to (regardless of their ‘threats’). There is nothing stopping them from making a claim in court but you simply have to point put to the court that there is no legal relationship between you and them. Hope this clarifies?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
that's what I had been told from Trading standards. There were assets bought, but nothing specific to Aerial and Satellite solutions Ltd by way of goodwill or customer backup. In fact I bought tools, stock in trade and the trading name only. Aerial and Satellite Solutions has since been dissolved, and has not traded since early April this year.

ok I do not see this being a legal liability for you then so it is up to you how much you assist them

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