In brief -
We went to a local independent flooring company, wishing to purchase a wood floor.
The owner talked us through the various products, came to our house to look at the area it was for, measured up, checked the subfloor etc.
He then recommended a product for us, ordered it and arranged for "his team" to come out and fit. He arranged the day and time they were to come out and told us that we should pay them cash on the day. In the meantime, he took moisture readings, spoke to the manufacturer and also the manufacturer of the underfloor heating we'd had put down, to check what underlay might be needed.
The floor was fitted by "his team" - his brother and another man.
It subsequently failed 4 times in the course of a year. The first 2 attempts to remedy the problems were made by the fitters. After it went wrong the 3rd time, it came to light that the fitters and the company owner had parted company, so the company owner/supplier came out and attempted to repair it. The same thing happened again, and he came out again. At this point, the supplier offered us a replacement stair carpet for our trouble. We said that this was not necessary, but if the floor failed again, we would be seeking a refund.
When it failed again, we requested our money back. The supplier agreed, minus fitting costs. When we argued, he withdrew his offer and offered us a replacement floor instead. We expressed our concern that we had no confidence he had the neccesary skills and knowledge to fit a floor, given our experience thus far.
We then took advice from the CAB and wrote a letter before action, inviting the supplier to comment on what he believed to be the issue with the floor, and offering to go to mediation.
He responded, trying to lay the blame on us with various spurious claims, including that the contracting of the fitters had nothing to do with him - since the receipt he issued clearly stated "supply only."
We then wrote again, offering to have an expert inspection and report done on the floor, and asking that both parties share the cost in order to confirm what had caused the problems with the floor.
He refused, saying the cost was too great in relation to the value of the floor.
We once again gave him the opportunity to refund us, while warning him that he may be asked to pay the cost of the report, should we take our case to the small claims court and win.
In order to ascertain whether we had a case, we had the expert inspection done. It found that the fitting was to blame for the issues, including inadequate moisture and humidity readings taken by the supplier. The expert contacted the supplier to find out exactly what prep he had carried out and the supplier told him. The report also queried the suitability of the product for the conditions of our property.
Once again, we wrote to the supplier with details of the report's findings and requested a refund of both the flooring, fitting and cost of the report or we would have no choice but to take our case to the small claims.
The supplier has not responded.
We feel we have a strong case. However, our concern is that it may be thrown out on the basis that the receipt we were issued was for supply only. In the letters from the supplier, he does state that he tried to repair the floor on 2 occasions, hut says it was purely a good will gesture. However, he also states that he did the pre-fitting site visits and prep.
So, what is our legal position regarding his responsibility for the fitting of the floor?