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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70849
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Am in dispute with everest regarding a conservatory they

Customer Question

hi pearl,
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: am in dispute with everest regarding a conservatory they were installing, basically 3 years into the work it is still not finished - they say that i owe the balance and will then put the work through as a warranty claim. i'm reluctant to do this - basically I dont trust them
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I'm in Devon, near plymouth
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Is it the original work which is still outstanding, or remedial works? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi Ben, A bit grey, they had got to the point where I'd almost posted the remaining balance and then it leaked. there was then investigation that showed it was faulty install and their solution was to cut out the seals pack it with silicon sealant and leave as that - there were also issues over the size of the panel which needed replacing and that it has not had an end stop fitted or been correctly aligned.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
the last communication i had from Everest before lockdown was as below:Afternoon
I am very sorry as it appears I didn’t send the response I had drafted.
Briefly in answer to your queries the design of the roof is such that it allows a certain amount of flexibility with seals. Silicon, used appropriately with the correct specification, is deemed acceptable. You are correct there is’ flex’ in the installation but this doesn’t automatically suggest hidden problems. I can’t answer for the fitter but they carried out work deemed appropriate at the time. It clearly wasn’t acceptable as it failed. The alignment again is linked to the ‘flex’ and the parameters of existing elements. Normally there would be stop ends and they may be fixed with silicone and in this instance they were omitted.
The workmanship was clearly not up to the standard we would expect.
I suggest that I either send a team back to replace the glass module (and stops/trims etc.) or, since I believe the roof is currently performing, leave the unit as it is and offer a further reduction of £500 in recognition of accepting these items. If left as it is I do accept that it is not perfect so would warrant that if a further problem presented itself we would replace the glass as above.
In either case I would then start the 10 year guarantee from the date we reach agreement.
Again I apologies for the delay and hope we can reach an agreement.
Kind regards
Stuart Walker
National Operations Manager
Everest Limited
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Their current approach is as per the emails below:
Further to your e-mail below, thank you for taking the time to reply and outline your position.
Unfortunately, Stuart Walker is no longer with the business but I am aware that following the credit of £1,200.00 already applied to your contract, an additional £500.00 was offered by Stuart to bring matters to a conclusion. Having discussed this in detail with Simon Goble, he has advised that we will increase the offer to £1,000.00, increasing the credit applied to your contract to £2,200.00 but that this is our full and final offer and not a point to begin negotiations.
The notice of assignment regarding the transfer of your contract from Everest Limited to Everest Conservatories Limited, which was sent on the 15th June 2020, is a legally required document and fully complies with legal requirements in this type of transfer. This allows for the migration of contracts under the same terms and conditions.
It should be noted that no warranty documents will be released until such time as your contract balance is zero and no warranty works will be undertaken whilst the issue surrounding the outstanding balance remains in dispute.
I sincerely ***** ***** you accept the above offer to bring matters to a conclusion and look forward to hearing from you with your decision once you have had the time to discuss.Good Afternoon Mr and Mrs Ramsay
As stated previously, no further works will be undertaken or warranty released until such time as your contract has a zero balance.
I am fully aware of all the notes added to the system by the Project Manager, Regional Conservatory and Driveway Manager and Stuart Walker but our position remains as already advised.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
What I want is a correctly completed conservatory (note this was actually a replacement - the walls and base were in and sound but the old one with a polycarbonate roof was too cold in winter etc). From the media reports it seems that Everest guarantees are worthless and so I would be paying for nothing and surrendering what little leverage the outstanding amount gives me to get the job completed properly. The alternative is for them to waive the cost or apply a significant discount and then for me to accept that the installation may fail at some future point and it would be on me to get it resolved.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. When a consumer enters into a contract for services, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that such services 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)

In addition, any information exchanged in communications between the parties, whether written or verbal, is binding if the consumer relies on it to proceed with the services in question. If there are problems and the trader cannot satisfy the above criteria, which are legally expected of them, the consumer 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. That is something which should be negotiated between the two parties. However, 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 balance that is still owed to the original trader, or pursue them for any extra costs that have been incurred as a result.

The issue now is with payment – they want payment before they proceed, you do not want to pay before it is fixed. You can easily end up in a stand-off without any progress being made. You cannot force them to do the work and as mentioned you may then have to look at ayin someone to finish it for you and keep the balance or pursue the company for the extras still due.

On he other hand, if you were to pay them now you may find that the work suddenly starts to move along and this is resolved without undue delays. It is important to remember that you still retain the above consumer rights once you have paid them so even if they do not resolve the issues, you can still pursue them further if needed, eve if you have paid them in full already.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thanks Ben - helpful advice. In your opinion can they employ a debt collector if the work is not completed? Basically is this an empty threat that they have made?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

A debt collector cannot do much apart from make threats and demands., They cannot make you pay. The company will have to take you to court to do so and win their claim. It is likely their standard process for customers who owe money, but it does not mean it will end up in court.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Many thanks Ben, sorry I got called away. A last query if you are still online - would you offer any chance of success for them were they to take it to court. In my opinion the email from Stuart Walker identifies that the work is not complete and so given over half the balance has already been paid I don't feel they are entitled to the remainder until completion. The worry is of course that the sums multiply with legal costs etc and there is always the nagging fear that you may lose.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 days ago.

Hi there, unfortunately, the rules I work under do not allow me to discuss your chances of success in court. When solicitors determine these, we would conduct a formal case analysis and take the full details and evidence that are available into consideration. On this site we deal with very limited information in a Q&A format, so inevitably certain details and evidence will be missed. Therefore, if we discussed prospects of success based on this limited information alone, we could end up giving misguided advice and prompt you into either making a claim or not making one, when in reality we may have advised the opposite had we known the full details. That is why we are only limited to discussing the legal position and your options, without actually commenting on how good or bad a case you have. Hope this explains things for you