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  1. Hello fellow forum members: I’ve just received a Country Court Claim form : I’m a complete novice at this, I’ve never been to Court before - or posted on here before. I hope someone can give me some advice. The claim is from a gate installation company who have done part of a (verbal) contract made 18 April 2016 to make and install an automated sliding gate, around £5,600. I haven’t received any paperwork from the company (Contract, T&Cs, design, safety and compliance etc), nor have I signed anything. They laid the track for the gate in concrete on 01 June 2016. The ground works were done by a freelance carpenter. My builder who was present raised concerns with him about how the work was being carried out, and was told ‘this is how we do it’. There was no quality control during the installation and no supervisor visited the site during or after the installation. The owner told me they were very busy, I’d have to wait for the gate. My husband agreed “as long as it’s in before winter”. 15 July 2016 I received a new quote by email for the gate and installation for a 28.5% price increase. I did not agree to a new price. If I had known they intended to change the price part way through the contract I would not have agreed to proceed. 03 Aug I got a statement for just under £918.00, no invoice. I queried it (nicely), saying I had not received an invoice, what was the charge for. I was told it was for some work which I had commissioned my builder to do ie they did not do this work. I wrote to them. They then said the charge was “for site visits and a track ordered but did not go ahead”. I had asked only for a sample of the track. This is not an order. They said they had sent an invoice 27 July (not received by me). I wrote a nice letter back disagreeing, but suggesting we just continue with the work and contract as originally agreed. They wrote back to say they would take this amount off the final price on completion. However if I paid this I think it would mean that I had accepted their new higher price. 16 Sept 2016 email - the owner changed their description of the work they were charging for again: now it was for the installation of the track and wiring. Still no invoice. I asked them to forward the invoice. They did so 27 Sept . It’s now 2 months since the date they claimed it had been sent. The construction of the header (date, time of sending, subject etc.) of the forwarded email does not match any other forwarded emails and additionally shows the last (Sept) description, not the one given us in July when it was supposedly sent. So it seems the invoice was never sent, and that this 'forwarded' email is a fraudulent document. I was still waiting for a response from the owner to the letters I had sent. 25 Oct I received another threat of county court action. I wrote back 06 Nov, acknowledging the threat and telling them we had lost confidence in the company and would not continue with them. 15 Nov I received an invoice for 10% ‘late charge’ i.e 10% of their invoice +VAT. I wrote back 16 Nov confirming that the charge was in dispute and I would come back to them in a few days. 18 Nov received County Court claim dated 16 Nov. They have ignored all the questions and points raised with them, and have just continued to stick with the new price quoted after starting the contract, and this later demand for payment. They haven’t started making our gate, it’s well into winter. We called in another gate company to quote, they have told us the track laid is not straight and not flat and will have to be removed and replaced. I sent photos to the Gate Safe, an independent charity/training/industry oversight body. They agreed the track had to be removed. The job is difficult and complicated and may require removal of newly constructed landscaping and may affect the foundations of a wall. It will be highly disruptive. Gate Safe has safety concerns about the claimant’s work, as do we. I wrote to the claimant 17 Nov 2016. The claimant has offered to have “an independent company’ assess the track” (23 Nov) and say they ‘will put right anything that is incorrect’ if necessary. We have no confidence in the claimant’s ability to do the work, or their contact’s independence. We would like to get the track removed and go to someone reputable. If the claimant relays the track we won’t get a warranty from any gate manufacturer/installer as they won’t have laid it. They really have put us in a difficult position in addition to holding up our landscaping works still further. What am I reqd to do? Have I got grounds for a defence and maybe a counterclaim? Any advice or help would be gratefully received. I’ve looked at the Consumer rights Act 2015, is this the (only) legislation to quote?
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