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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71449
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am in dispute with a Plumber over his bill, of £2,128.31.

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I am in dispute with a Plumber over his bill, of £2,128.31. He has said if I don’t pay it, he will get a Lawyer to place an injunction/inhibition over the property (which I a selling) until the Invoice is paid. Can he do this?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: The property is in Edinburgh.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have agreed to pay scaffolding costs of £1,980 and £1,000 labour and material costs - £2,980 of a bill of £4,108.31.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just that comparative scaffolding and Plumbing costs suggest that I’ve been totally ripped off.

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.

Hi there. Were you made aware of the cost prior to him commencing any work? and how long ago was this work done?

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
I was for the scaffolding, so I have agreed to pay that. However, all that was said, in relation to the plumbing work was, “exact cost of repair unknown until we can see exact damage to pipe” and “Don’t think it will cost that much” (it cost £2,128.31).

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; 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.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

When a consumer enters into a contract for services, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that such services must be:

- 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 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

If there are cost disputes, for example the trader is asking for additional money either during or at the end of the work, consumers can potentially challenge these. Ideally, it is preferable to have a written agreement in place, setting out what price was agreed and what for, so that both parties can refer to it. Assuming that does not exist, if the consumer knew that any extra work was being carried out and allowed the trader to continue, a reasonable price would need to be negotiated for it as it may not be possible to completely refuse to compensate them for it. This should, however, still prevent the trader from charging for work which was not agreed or communicated, or if the costs are clearly becoming unreasonable high when compared to the original quote or what is considered reasonable in these circumstances.

Whilst an inhibition is possible, it won’t just happen like that as the plumber has to go to court first and get a decree confirming the debt before they can apply for an inhibition. That could take weeks, maybe months. In the meantime you can still proceed with the sale and hopefully complete it before the plumber can do everything that is needed from his side.

See here for further details on this:

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.

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