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 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.
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.
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.
I appreciate you want to terminate the contract immediately but it will work in your favour in the event of a potential court claim, if you still follow at least part of the above to ensure you can show you have acted reasonably, despite what you were faced with.
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