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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have a situation with a conservatory firm who is building

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Hi Pearl...I have a situation with a conservatory firm who is building an orangery for me (or supposed to be). We are 19 weeks down the line and they do not communicate with me verbally apart from the odd one line email. I have send them a first letter asking them to come and finish the work by end August but I have also now taken advice from a building consultant who tells me that some of the existing work is substandard. I am about to send a second letter asking them if they want to go into mediation (they do not belong to an ADR). I have paid 84% of the total cost but 84% of the work has not been done. Just wondering what your advice is...
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: no - only trading standards so far. England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: endless calls / emails and now the first formal letter of complaint asking them to complete the work by end August. I have requested they come to site for a meeting to tell me how they propose to complete the work and by when.....I have heard nothing
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: My question is - is there a cost associated with this advice?

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

I am one of the legal experts on the site and I am a dual-qualified solicitor (UK & Republic of Ireland)

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Sorry to hear of the issue.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies in your situation - the work must be carried out with reasonable care and skill.

And the timescale agreed must be adhered to - the above applies in addition to contract law.

I am not what was agreed for the timescale though 19 weeks is a fairly long time and if the work is sub-standard, they should return to rectify anything wrong (under the consumer law, they are entitled to one repair attempt which if that fails entitles you to a partial refund or a full refund depending on the situation).

You could potentially terminate this (in writing), use someone else and sue this company for your loss.

Even if they get their act together and finish, you may still need to sue for any remedial work cost as they appear to be lacking with their customer care and communication with yourself.

A letter before action should be sent (which looks like the attached) to a) terminate and b) demand payment for your loss failing which you will commence county court proceedings.

You could do this yourself or you could use a law firm - in my experience you would make more progress using a law firm and it also puts in place a buffer between you and the other party - all communication would need to go to your lawyer and to you.

If you would like details of suitable consumer dispute law firms, please let me know.

Similarly if you would like further details of how to pursue court action, do let me know.


I hope this helps

It was a pleasure to assist you today and I hope this answers the question.

If you have any follow up questions or if you would like me to clarify anything I have said, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

Many thanks,

Jim

Just a final note that if you would like to reconnect with me at a later date, simply add me as a favourite expert and you can then tag me in a question starting off with @JimLawyer.

I look forward to helping you again soon.

Thanks again,

Jim



Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hi Jim thanks for your reply. The CAB are telling me I have to ask them whether they are part of an ADR Scheme or would be willing to join one if not and that if I do not do this part of the process it would weaken my case in small claims court. Is that true?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
My question is can we move straight to letter before action given they are just not communicating with me? I could not see the LAB attachment?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
JimLawyer Also to answer your question above - I'll need to take this to court myself as I cannot afford legal fees. Can you provide guidance on that process - thanks.

Thanks, ***** ***** are part of a dispute resolution scheme and they should advise you whether or not they are party of one (https://www.altion-law.co.uk/construction-disputes/use-an-alternative-dispute-resolution-scheme/).

ADR is always preferable as it can avoid court action so you could explore this, yes.

If they are not communicating then yes, you can go straight to the LBA stage (now attached).

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I am a bit confused on your statement 'You could potentially terminate this (in writing), use someone else and sue this company for your loss.' - you say 'potentially' but the LBA is the termination of the contract in effect is it not? Should the LBA cover the point about ADR schemes or does that come before and would it weaken my case (court) if I don't explore ADR (by the way I know this company is not part of an ADR).

Yes, I said you could potentially terminate if you want to stop using the company. It's your choice to do that or not.

The LBA would need to state you wish to terminate and to demand money, yes.

You can cover the point about ADR but you may want to make the ADR suggestion more informal and not put it in the LBA for the time being.

If you sued for up to £10,000 the court will offer both of you ADR in any event (if the defendant filed a defence, mediation is offered by the court but both parties need to agree to participate for it to work).

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
jimlawyer. just to check that these follow on questions are covered under the trial fee and not extra?
I would absolutely prefer not to have them back on site but I am getting advice from friends/other builders that it would better to let them come back and do 'something' (which could be later rectified). However we are 19 weeks in and there is no sign of any progress or any commst. If I terminate and 'demand money' - would I be demanding the total that I have paid them so far ? I think they would argue - you've had some of the goods (windows/doors/roof etc) but these are not fitted (they are sitting in my garage) and one of issues is that other builder acquaintances are telling me that the roof system they have ordered on my behalf may not be fit for purpose and that was a whopping £21K. I struggling to know which way to turn at the moment

Hi, thanks. If you see my answer you will note I said if there are issues with the work, the builders are entitled to come back for repeat performance.

Your friends and other builders are correct but if there is no communication or the remedial work can't be done within a reasonable time scale, or it would be too inconvenient then you don't have to offer them the facility to come back rectify.

The consumer law is clear on that point.

You can demand the total you paid yes though they may come back to remove any materials (as you can't profit from this).

It sounds like a large sum of money so my view is you try ADR if possible. If not then do the LBA and think about using a law firm as it would not be a small claims case if it's over £10,000 which you are claiming for.

I hope I have covered everything for you. If not please let me know, thanks

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