How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10008
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

I have a botched bathroom installation. The fitter is

This answer was rated:

I have a botched bathroom installation. The fitter is threatening legal action as we are witholding final payment & I need to know where I stand legally & what our options are?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Birmingham, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We have talked face-to-face. He claims I never said things that I know I did say. He was aggressive & hostile the last time he was here so I asked him to leave my home & said we would not be paying anything more until he'd completed the job properly. He then wrote a letter saying they were going to take us to small claims court. We reported him to trading standards & they suggested a letter we wrote & sent to him last week stating we wanted the botched things fixed & compensation for the stress this has caused us. We got a letter from him today basically saying he wasn't going to be doing anything because apparently I was shouting at him (didn't happen!) & so we need to pay up immediately.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have paid all but £800 for work completed (the job was quoted at £3k). We feel the job is not completed because it looks unfinished. He didn't do things that we spoke about & agreed to. He didn't take notes when he was first here to assess the job. He claims I didn't say things that I did say & so it's his word against his. I can't prove I did say it & he can't prove I didn't.

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

Don't pay him - your consumer rights have been infringed. Would you have to pay extra to get the bathroom finished and if so, do you have a figure yet?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi Jim, thank you. We just want to find out where we stand legally & what we can do ?

OK, so it comes down to your statutory rights. Those are contained within the Consumer Rights Act 2015 - they state that the work carried out by the fitted "must be carried out with reasonable care and skill".

If not, you can demand your money back - the consumer law offers you a lot of protection for poor workmanship. It also comes down to whether you want to sue for the money you already paid them, or the cost of putting their poor work "right". You may need a quote from a reputable fitter to know exactly how much to pursue the former bathroom fitter for.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
we'll have to pay extra. Part of the work we paid on credit card - the bank has said we can file a claim to get that money back. If we do that, are there legal implications? We have asked someone to come around & give us a quote to fix what this guy has botched. Are we allowed to do that?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
There's a problem in that he claims I didn't say I wanted a light fitting moved when I did say that. He didn't take any notes & I can't prove that I did in fact say that. Where do we stand there? Can we insist he does that part of the work?

And once you have a figure, send a letter before action to the bathroom fitter (see attached as an example). Give them 30 days to pay, if they refuse or do not respond - start a claim at http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk for your losses. It's very easy to do - no lawyer is required. The site is geared up for people without lawyers. You can also use this site for ongoing help if required. I note you have already notified Trading Standards which is good - hopefully the will prosecute the bathroom fitter. You should not enter into protracted correspondence with them and do not invite them back to your property either - they sound unsavoury to say the least...

And once you have a figure, send a letter before action to the bathroom fitter (see attached as an example). Give them 30 days to pay, if they refuse or do not respond - start a claim at http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk for your losses. It's very easy to do - no lawyer is required. The site is geared up for people without lawyers. You can also use this site for ongoing help if required. I note you have already notified Trading Standards which is good - hopefully the will prosecute the bathroom fitter. You should not enter into protracted correspondence with them and do not invite them back to your property either - they sound unsavoury to say the least...

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Do we then just ignore the letter they've sent us? Is this the time that we reclaim that money off the credit card, or do we have to wait until we have a figure from whomever is going to quote?

I just saw the fact you paid by credit card - If you used a credit card then you can make a claim - you can contact the card provider and ask for a refund under S.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 - as they are jointly liable if you do not get the service you paid for. You can claim a full refund even if you only paid for part of the cost with the credit card as long as £100 or more was spent.

There are no legal implications - the money is effectively insured. Yes, you can get another fitter to come and give you a quote. I would only do this if your credit card company cannot reimburse the full sum to you. I would prefer the credit card route than a letter before action and potential litigation. If you spoke to him and he didn't hear or take note then it's his problem - he is automatically at a disadvantage here as you are a consumer and the courts generally favour consumers versus traders (in my experience).

I would insist he does any more work - he sounds like he is incapable to doing a good job and I am sure there are many other traders who would love to help and do a decent job.

I hope this helps? If I have answered the question would you kindly leave me a 5 star rating (at the top of your screen), any follow up questions are welcomed.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Just to clarify what you were saying about the credit card & S75. Can we reclaim the full amount paid to date via credit card, even if only a portion of it was paid on credit card & the other portion on debit card?

Yes, under the law as long as £100 was paid, the full sum is insured under the law. You need to contact your card company and ask them to reimburse you for this.

*it's one of the benefits of using a credit card

I hope this helps? If you can reply “yes”, or when you have the chance would you mind giving me a positive rating for the answer (the site will then credit me for my time). There should be a rating system at the top of the screen. Any other queries please let me know.

Many thanks,

Jim

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Final question ... if we manage then to get this money back from the credit card company, where do we stand with the fitter becuase he's threatening small claims court for the balance due. We feel the job isn't finished, so we don't want to pay any more (especially since he's done such a rubbish job) but there is still this balance outstanding. Are we within our rights to not pay it?

He has a right to sue if he feels he has a case - so you would need to defend the claim. The claim has no merit and is likely to be struck out in any event. You are within your rights to not pay it - why pay when he has done such a poor job previously. A small claim is easy to deal with - if he does go down that road then feel free to come back to this site for more help.

Is this OK?

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
that's great, thank you for your help.

Thanks, ***** ***** good evening