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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73917
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My problem is quite a drawn out saga. The bare bones are as

Customer Question

My problem is quite a long drawn out saga. The bare bones are as follows:
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Oops! I disconnected myself. I employed someone to do some landscaping work in my garden. This was agree back in the autumn. The work was supposed to start in March, then it went to April and then May. The briefest version I can give you is that during the course of this month I have given him £2000 to purchase supplies. I can't believe I have been so stupid. I have meticulously costed the supplies I have and cannot get them to over £800. He turned up here last Saturday after having made the most awful mess of my garden (photos can be supplied) and declared me to be the most unreasonable and inconsiderate person he'd ever worked for and gathered up his tools and walked off saying he would not be back. In the last two weeks he has only worked for three and a half hours. (35 hours in the whole of the last month). He left saying he would be sending me an additional invoice (not yet received). It is now going to cost me a huge amount of money to put right the mess he's made, not to mention the plants he bought a month ago which are now dying as I have no garden to plant them in. I have emails where he's stated the amounts he claims to have spent which I now know to be a work of fiction. Do I have any means of making any claim against this man? I have a huge amount of additional details I can provide, including all his emails but I have tried to keep this as brief as possible for now.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am a retired widow
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Nothing I Can think of
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 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 20 days ago.

What are you ideally hoping to achieve in the circumstances, 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 20 days ago.
I don't really know - I just feel that he has walked away from this job with £2000 of which I can only account for £800 of supplies and 35 hours worth of labour which I accept could be rounded up to 40 hours. One of the first things he did during the first week of May was buy plants (he claims £400 worth) but I have accurately costed to £240 retail. These are all now dying as I am no nearer having a garden to plant them in than I was at the outset. It is now going to cost me a vast sum of money to put right the mess he has made - I have photographic evidence. Allowing for £1000 for his labour ( a tad generous I feel) there is still £400 pounds unaccounted for, the cost of the plants which he had no need to buy before even starting work, and possibly some form of compensation for the additional cost of remedial work to be done. I just feel aggrieved that he can walk away without any consequences.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 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.

In the case of delays, for example if the work has substantially gone over the agreed schedule or not been performed within a reasonable time, the consumer can ask for a price reduction to cover any financial losses or inconvenience caused as a result. If the work is incomplete and the trader refuses to work to the agreed schedule, or complete it, it is possible to get someone else to finish the work and charge the original trader for these additional costs.

In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that the following steps are followed:

1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. quote, contract, correspondence, etc.).

2. Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to resolve any issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is acceptable).

3. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses and any additional costs. This is also known as a ‘letter before action’ and there are plenty of templates if you do an online search for one.

4. If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could consider taking legal action by seeking compensation. Remember that court is a last resort, however threatening it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.

5. Finally, make sure that you keep copies of all correspondence, in case it is needed in the claims process.

If you wish to take the matter further and issue legal proceedings, assuming you will just be claiming financial compensation, you may pursue your claim via the County Court’s online portal at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

You may also wish to consider reporting them to Trading Standards, which you can do via the following link: https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=3438&frm=general&to=flare.fromforms

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 20 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.