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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73488
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a problem with a builder who did a rubbish job. We

Customer Question

Hi I have a problem with a builder who did a rubbish job. We tried to compromise on price, he refused, so I did not pay. I know have a debt collector chasing me. I am wondering if I have a case at all please? It seems wrong he gets his money and I don't have the cupboards I need?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK - England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: This has been going on for nearly two years - I asked for his complaints process and was ignored. I have emails explaining why I am not happy. Tried citizens advice - they were no help.....
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Key facts• Price started in Dec 2018 at £2979.60
• Feb and March discussions about coming by to measure up and re design as the original drawings had been lost
• No drawings were ever shared
• Quote May £3196.80
• Work due to start 27th May email evening of 26th May – van broken into, employee resigned
• Work started June – installers changed the plans, no longer sliding doors, do cupboards – I would have more space etc
• 17th June email to say Andy can no longer make tomorrow and will be coming next week to install
• 28th June price £3496.80
• I no longer have shiny sliding doors, shoes will not fit in cupboard, the doors do not hang straight, the handles are different heights.
• Verbal and face to face conversations with Rob – he is gutted, embarrassed, will get new shelves made that fit and will compromise on the price
• 13th August email due to get shelves but Andy cancelled
• 14th August I send an email – I am really not happy
• 16th August – Andy due to drop shelves off
• 23rd August – Rob due to adjust the shelves – again gutted sorry embarrassed – will make it right
• 27th August – bill £3021.60
• 30th August – I am not happy and ask for extended payment terms
• September – I chase Rob for answers weekly – get told family emergency
• November the invoice is issued – no change in price or compromise
• 22nd November – I ask for complaints procedure as I want to raise as a formal dispute (I never get this)
• Rob wants to remove the cupboards I agree
• 27th Dec 2019 – I write to Rob saying I don’t want this hanging over us and ask him for a date to remove the cupboards
• 27th April 2021- letter from a debt recovery company payment wanted in 5 days plus an additional £220??
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 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 15 days ago.

What do you specifically want to know about this, please? 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 15 days ago.
Hi Ben - this is the summary of the problem I have with a builder. I would like to know if I have a car - or must I pay this debt
Key facts• Price started in Dec 2018 at £2979.60
• Feb and March discussions about coming by to measure up and re design as the original drawings had been lost
• No drawings were ever shared
• Quote May £3196.80
• Work due to start 27th May email evening of 26th May – van broken into, employee resigned
• Work started June – installers changed the plans, no longer sliding doors, do cupboards – I would have more space etc
• 17th June email to say Andy can no longer make tomorrow and will be coming next week to install
• 28th June price £3496.80
• I no longer have shiny sliding doors, shoes will not fit in cupboard, the doors do not hang straight, the handles are different heights.
• Verbal and face to face conversations with Rob – he is gutted, embarrassed, will get new shelves made that fit and will compromise on the price
• 13th August email due to get shelves but Andy cancelled
• 14th August I send an email – I am really not happy
• 16th August – Andy due to drop shelves off
• 23rd August – Rob due to adjust the shelves – again gutted sorry embarrassed – will make it right
• 27th August – bill £3021.60
• 30th August – I am not happy and ask for extended payment terms
• September – I chase Rob for answers weekly – get told family emergency
• November the invoice is issued – no change in price or compromise
• 22nd November – I ask for complaints procedure as I want to raise as a formal dispute (I never get this)
• Rob wants to remove the cupboards I agree
• 27th Dec 2019 – I write to Rob saying I don’t want this hanging over us and ask him for a date to remove the cupboards
• 27th April 2021- letter from a debt recovery company payment wanted in 5 days plus an additional £220??
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

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:

- 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 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 (similarly it can mean not paying them for any money owed, to reflect that).

Whilst a party can make demands for payment, instruct debt collectors or threaten legal action, it is important to note that they can only really force someone to pay if they actually go to court, submit a claim and are successful with it.

There is, however, no guarantee that they will actually ever go that far. Many people issue threats and demands, without ever having the intention of taking the matter to Court. This is done in the hope that the scare the other party into complying with their demands to avoid the risk of being taken to Court. However, until a formal notification of a Court claim has been issued, there is never a guarantee that a claim will actually be made and it could always remain just a threat, rather than reality.

Even if a claim was made, due to the value of compensation sought, this matter would be assigned to the Small Claims Court. This is a relatively low-risk option because it is specifically aimed at the smaller, legally unrepresented parties. The costs of claiming are not that high, there is no need to have a lawyer and incur further costs as a result and even if a party loses the claim, they will not be liable to pay the other side’s legal fees. All they would have to pay is the court fees, which at most will be several hundred pounds and whatever the Court has decided should be paid to the claimant as a result of their original claim.

Also, once judgment has been issued, on the assumption you lose, the judgment is entered on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, where it will remain for 6 years. This is what is known as ‘having a CCJ’ and can impact your credit rating. However, if payment of the judgment is made within one month, the record will be removed from the Register and will no longer be visible. If payment is made after one month has passed, it will still remain on the Register for the 6 years, but will be marked as ‘satisfied’.

To conclude, it is possible to wait and see how far the other side is willing to take this before deciding on how to respond and even if a claim is made, it is possible to proceed and defend the claim in the knowledge that the financial risks of doing so will not be astronomically high and if any judgment made against you is paid within a month, there will be no further repercussions.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

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.