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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9998
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I called a plumbing company out on x'mas eve as water was

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i called a plumbing company out on x'mas eve as water was pouring down the gutters above and seeping through the wall in the bedroom. They quoted me £150 for half hour and said that's all it should take. However, they said it tool them 4 hours during whcih they had to fetch a taller ladder and as I had to leave I was not there to witness the time they spent.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: The problem continued and water still leaking through. This week I had another roofer out and he said the previous company could not have done any more than clear the gutter a little! Also the problem is due to the poor connection of the gutters and what they did was useless! My complaint is that they did not get my approval before charging me for the time and forced me to make bank transfer that evening. In Stockwell london
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Sent a complaint email letter to the company. Called them several times for the work report and also the invoice and receipt, then my father further wrote another email to the company. Nobody replied.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no dont think so?

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you this evening.

It appears you can use the roofer's evidence to suggest the plumbing company a) overcharged you and b) didn't carry out their service with reasonable care and skill - therefore in breach of your consumer rights. You should pursue them for your money back. The other issue is (as you have already mentioned) the fact no permission was obtained from yourself and they also forced you to pay them too. Both underhand practices in my view.

I would recommend that you send the plumbing company a formal letter before action to demand payment within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation.

You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards given breach of your consumer rights - you can speak to them on 03454 040506. It would be worth reporting them in my view.

You will need to register at http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site. Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: http://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/court-fees) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment. The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim.

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company if £750 or more is owed, apply to summons them to court for questioning, all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

I hope I have answered your question. Let me know if anything requires clarification. In the meantime if you could either leave a star rating, or reply “yes”, I would be very grateful.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi Jim,Thanks for the reminder. I did view it last night but could not see any buttons anywhere at the top of the page to give you the star rating.Also, I wanted to say that the plumber who came out is actually from a company www.DSSERVE.CO.UK who seemed a reputable company. However, the money he asked me to send was to his name, a personal account. So I’m wondering whether the advice you suggested about going to court etc applies only to individual traders or companies? I only have his name and bank detail for the transfer and not his address.I will call again on Monday and also send the letter you advised. It’s quite a lot of extra money (£60) to pay out to go to court, even if I apply online.

That's OK, if you could just confirm that I answered the question to your satisfaction, this is fine too.

The plumber should have given the limited company's details - though the fact he is employed by the company means you can just sue the limited company (due to vicarious liability, the limited company would be liable for the acts of their employee being the plumber).

The letter may do the trick so perhaps send it and then come back if they have not refunded you after 14 days.

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