Thank you. A lot will depend on whether the issues you are experiencing now can be traced back and linked to their work. This is not so much a question for a lawyer, rather one for a builder who can confirm if that is the case. Once you have established that, you can consider your 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)
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:
In the event of 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, the consumer can claim a price reduction, based on the severity of the issues. If the trader refuses to resolve the issues, the consumer can consider getting someone else to do this and either deduct these costs from the total owed to the original trader, or pursue them for any extra costs that have been incurred.
In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that the following steps are followed:
- Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. quote, contract, correspondence, etc.).
- Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to resolve any issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7-14 days is common).
- In the meantime, find out if the trader is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve the complaint.
- If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses and any additional costs.
- If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could consider taking legal action. Remember that court is a last resort, however it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.
- Finally, make sure that keep copies of all correspondence.
If you wish to take the matter further and issue legal proceedings, assuming you will just be claiming financial compensation, you may issue your claim via the Court’s online portal at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
Does this answer your query?