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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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We placed an order for fitted wardrobes. Unfortunately the

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Hello, we placed an order for fitted wardrobes. Unfortunately the company has made a mistake with the depth and we signed off on it and only recognised the mistake later. They now claim that they can only deliver the product according to the design and can’t make changes according to their terms and conditions. What rights do we have in this regard? The wardrobe is not fit for purpose and is not deep enough to accomodate our costs without damage. Thanks
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We have contacted the company specifying the mistake and that it should not be rectified. We have sent them a letter from a legal advisor stating that they have 14 days to provide a response with regards ***** ***** or making right. They do not want to but will install the original design only
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes, the design has other flaws such that the doors do not open fully and drawers that we have paid extra for, do not extend. When we asked about this, the company responded to state this and want to install the product accordingly which makes it defective. The company has also messed up other products we have ordered from them

Hello, this is Jim, a dual-qualified lawyer (UK & Republic of Ireland) and happy to help you today.

Whilst bespoke items are not covered by automatic refunds in consumer law, you can still ask for a reimbursement or new wardrobes (at their cost).

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that they "must carry out the service with reasonable care and skill". From reading your question, I have doubts they have done this. Yes, there is a term in contract law known as "mistake", but if I were you I would rely upon the consumer rights law - given that it gives you strong rights against the seller. Mistake in contract is a more difficult avenue to pursue in my experience.

Unless they sort this for you voluntarily, I would recommend that you send the company a formal letter before action to demand payment within 30 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 (who can be contacted on 03454 040506).

You will need to register at 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.

Claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are subject to fixed costs only so if you lose then the risk is minimal. Further, the money claim website allows you to sue for an amount up to £100,000.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: 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 (if suing a limited company), apply to summons them to court for questioning, attachment of earnings order against their employer (if employed), 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 questions at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks very much Jim.May I check that even though the onus is on the customer to check the design, according to their terms and conditions, and we did not properly check the depth stated in the design, and signed off on this to go ahead to production, we can still pursue the above avenue with regards to 'reasonable skill and care'? This is the company's main defence currently, that the design is signed off on, has been produced, and even though the design is not according to our initial brief, they cannot change it. They also claim we changed the design hundreds of times which is not true. The other important factor is that they claim that the depth that they have produced is standard for their company and every company differs. However, most wardrobe manufacturers use a larger depth in line with what we have briefed. The company has not responded to the defects regarding the door design and drawers not open to date, just for your information.I do have the template, just to confirm.Many thanks for sending this.
Kind regards
Shanti

Hi, yes - they are the experts and they need to ensure the wardrobes are fit for purpose. If they do not then you have a case against them under the consumer rights act. There are other issues including the defects - which adds strength to your claim in my view. I still think you have a good case against them.