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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 63317
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I had a builder do work at my house( convert to two flats).

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Hello I had a builder do work at my house( convert to two flats). The work was very poor,he ran way over schedule and consequently I sacked him ,having given him fair warning of my intended action if he did not make good the substandard work and speed up to finish the job.He failed to do this. I have lots of photos and a building surveyors report to substantiate my decision to terminate our contract which sadly was only verbal.However I have witnesses to the converstaions I had with him regarding this matter.
There was a £18,000 pounds outstanding due on completion of the job. I withheld this.I needed it to have his work corrected and outstanding work completed. After 8 months I have received a solicitors letter saying builder wants the outstanding payment as I broke the contract by sacking him.He broke it by doing awful work!
They want a meeting to discuss. I initially said yes but now want to say no because they want to come to the property. My question is!! : CAN I SAY IVE CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT MEETING TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER?
I have suffered hugely because of this mans complete lack of professionalism. I want him to take me to court to try to get this money. The building surveyor says he doesnt stand a chance. It is the worst work he has ever seen!
Sorry this is so long winded...Im trying to save your time!! Many thanks.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Had you given him the opportunity to redo the work at the time?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Yes . " weeks. New work was still substandard and he did not complete the list!
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Sorry He was given 2 weeks

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok. Thankyou very much. He may of course decide not to go to court !! This letter may be a bluff!

Many thanks for your patience. 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:


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 the case of delays, for example if the work has substantially gone over the agreed schedule or not been performed within a reasonable time, the consumer can ask for a price reduction to cover any financial losses or inconvenience caused as a result. If the work is incomplete and the trader refuses to work to the agreed schedule, it is possible to get someone else to finish the work and charge the original trader for these additional costs.


If you have followed the above then you could indeed consider deducting some money to cover for inconvenience or additional costs you have incurred. As you have identified, he may not even go to court so only time will tell but if he does you can use the above principles to challenge any claim.


Does this answer your query?


Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I understand all of these points.Many thanks.
However will it be held against me if this goes to court if I now refuse any further dialogue with him.I offered mediation immediately after sacking him.He refused.Now I get a solicitors letter 8 months later saying he wants his money.
I do not think I am being unreasonable.He had his chance at mediation and his reply was that he woold take me to court!

Not necessarily, after all you have been reasonable and given him plenty of opportunities to resolve this and the fact that you have had to go this far means that the relationship and any trust you had in him has now broken beyond repair so you cannot be expected to give him further chances, even if he offers them. Does this clarify?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Yes.Thankyou very much.Best wishes.

All the best

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Excellant service.

Many thanks