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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Do you help with defects in Conservatory gutters under

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Hi do you help with defects in Conservatory gutters under warranty?
JA: Have they talked to a lawyer about this? What country do they live in? If different, what country does this legal question relate to?
Customer: in England. not talked to a lawyer yet
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: spoken to company on 3 occasions and the last time they patched up the gutter from underneath but failed to fix the problem. I said to the company that I wanted a proper repair and protection to the walls but they refused to take it seriously. I think there is only a few month to a year left on the warranty now.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so
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.

What do you specifically want to know about this? 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 as soon as I can. Thanks

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I want the company to pay for or repair the conservatory to an acceptable standard as it has been a persistent problem and defect in the conservatory since they built it 10 years ago but they have just made excuses or patched it up until it has gotten progressively worse and the warranty runs out.

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.

Usually, 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)

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 main issue is that any legal claim for breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 must be made within 6 years so you are out of time to do so, in the event that they refuse to do so.

However, you can still pursue them for breach of contract for failure to honour the warranty and similarly, make a claim for compensation if you had to get someone else to remedy the issues.

If a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can potentially do so by making a court claim. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for compensation. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome. There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The other side will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the other side that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial payment of the amount sought in the claim.

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, that's a great help and I will follow the steps as you have outlined. Tomorrow I will try to contact an expert in Conservatory repair and possible others to get a fair assessment of the work that needs to be done. Then I will contact the Contractors to let them know about the current situation. Hopefully I can get a resolution before the 18th November.Kind regards,Matthew

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this, please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be happy to help. All the best

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi Ben,Just wanted to see what you thought of this first letter to the company:.Re: Leaking Conservatory with Defective Gutter Construction 18/11/2011 Ref: 87903Dear Sir/Madam,
The box gutter repair work carried out by your company did not fix the leaking box gutter under guarantee by Warwick Glass under the contract. I previously requested from your company a professional repair which requires removal of the roof panels and sealing of the adjoining walls from the box gutter and I also understand that damage to the conservatory and walls should be fixed by your company under the contract which was not carried out.Please respond within 14 days of this letter as I want to resolve this issue either by an acceptable standard of repair by yourselves or via another company in which case I will seek compensation by your company for the costs of repair.
Attached are images of the box gutter and adjoining walls. The interior plastic trim is currently full of water as I can hear it swishing about when I push on the plastic.Kind regards,Matthew Osborne

Hi, that all looks fine  as a first letter

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Great thanks Ben

You are most welcome.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hi Ben,A quick update. I have contacted experts in conservatory repair in the UK and locally and been given repair advice based on the photos. Two repair companies located too far away to do the work said the gutter needs to be resealed from the top side making sure the parts are fit correctly. All companies and workmen so far do not want to get involved because it's a nasty job, with no guarantees and it's someone else's mess to fix. One company in Coventry said they think the adjoining walls are not supported correctly and that I should check the footings and they would not touch the job unless they rebuilt the conservatory to their own standards another £18,000. Just a gutter repair alone would be circa £250-£300 quoted from a guy in Manchester not including repair work to the plaster or walls. I don't think anyone will take on this job though unless the company propose a fix. After speaking to the company in Coventry it sounds like the original build was not done correctly which I think you said I can't complain about now as it's after 6 years. So I'm waiting to hear back from them but sounds like a tricky one in terms of compensation and legal terms. I could get a surveyor but that would cost £500. I could also try to just replace the roof and do the gutters at the same time but if the walls are sinking like the expert in Coventry thinks then it would be better just to rebuild it from scratch.
If I dig down and find out the footings were not done correctly on the original build is there any legal leverage I have to get compensation now after 6 years?
Thanks,Matthew

Hi Matthew, there is a potential to try and argue that a claim can be made after 6 years from the original build, but that is not always easy to do. You basically have to show that the earliest reasonable opportunity you had to realise that there were issues was recently. You may say that this is indeed the case, but a court would look at whether it would have been reasonable for this to be noticed earlier. It all depends on what is wrong, how obvious it was, etc – impossible for me to say if it will be a feasible argument or not but that is what you would have to show

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thanks Ben, my brother in law is a builder so he said he would have a look on Sunday as he's not convinced that the problem is that serious so hopefully he can give me some advice.

No worries, thanks