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REDDRAGON

driveway query

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Hi,

Sorry if this is in wrong place gut was looking for advice re the following.

 

Two months ago invited a local double glazing company to call re replacing some windows etc. Whilst the salesman was here and after he had measured up and was writing out a quote we got into a conversation about some of the other work that I was looking to have done ie replacing the driveway to my house. The salesman stated that his company also do that and so after measuring the drive he gave us a price that we were happy with and so agreed a contract.

 

Two weeks later a surveyer from the company came and re measured everything that the salesman had done earlier and confirmed the style of drive way required and type of glass for windows etc.

 

Now today I recieved a letter from the company stating that the measurments of the surveyer for the drive differ from the salesman to the extent of almost thirty feet ( in their letter it was over eleven metres different), and that they wanted an extra thousand pounds to make up the difference.

 

Phoned the company and stated that I was not happy at such a large discrepancy and that it was not my fault that the measurments did not add up. I must point out that the drive is a basic oblong shape with no narrowing or curves and that the whole drive measures approx seven metres by three point five metres.

 

Now the lady on the other end of the phone was blaming me for this as she insisted that I must have given different measurment instructions to the surveyor as to the salesman. I can assure you that they both measured the exact same area as I helped them hold the tape.

 

Now I explanied that I was not happy and was not prepared to pay extra which she replied fine they would pave drive to the measurements that they had from the salesman less the eleven metres extra on surveyers measurements.

I stated that as were not going to agree then I would have an independant surveyer to look at this and that I wanted them to meet the cost or at least meet half the cost to which she refused point blank.

In the end I stated that if we were not going to agree then I would have to look at cancelling the contract which she said I could not do as it was now too late (they are due to start work within the next two weeks). and that the work was in the contract that I agreed and signed with the salesman. I said that yews that was correct at the time however, you are now altering that contract by trying to get me to pay an extra thousand pounds for which I have not agreed to. In the end the conversation ended with this lady stating that she would have to speak to a manager and get back to me later today. This they didnt do.

 

Now my main question here is does anybody know if there is an indipendant mediation or arbitration service for this type of dispute?. This company is quite a big player in and around South Wales and the West Country but trying to come to an agreement with them is proving very difficult.

 

Thanks for any help Much appreciated sorry for long story.

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Have you paid a deposit to have this work done? Does it say 'Quotation' or 'Estimate' on the paperwork you have recieved? Is the work you are talking about combined windows 'and' driveway or just the driveway ie; are there seperate contract for the windows and driveway?

Edited by Conniff

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Hi,

Thanks for reply. Paid a deposit of £500.00 The price for the work was all agreed with the meeting with the salesman and contracts for the work were drawn up and signed there and then. Also recieved confirmation from their head office confirming all work to be carried out and full price as per earlier agreement. The price is for the complete work of windows and driveway. Basically in discussion with the salesman when he was here ue first gave us a price for the windows and afterwards as he was filling out the paperwork I mentioned that I was also looking to have my driveway replaced and after he had finished I was going to look for a company to do that work. It was then he said that his company also do drives and as I already had a price for windows he could do a deal on the drive as well. So he measured the drive and then gave me a price which after a bit of haggling we agreed on. Hope this helps.

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Red,

 

If the company will only provide a service which accords to the measurements taken by the salesman, why do they send out a surveyor to take more measurements? The reason is that commission based salesmen have a habit of mis-selling, mis-measuring and making mistakes in general, deliberately or otherwise. So before the window company manufactures a bespoke piece of glazing, the surveyor goes around to check the measurements. The company manufacture according to the surveyor’s measurements not the salesman’s.

 

My view is that, unfortunately for window companies and because they are in such a haste to get a customer’s signature to an agreement, they get that signature at the salesman’s visit on the price he quotes, not the surveyor’s. They do so at their risk, not yours. The company makes things worse for itself when it asks for and takes a deposit. The company are bound by the agreement their authorised salesman made with you. That the company now claim, after the agreement has been executed, that they are entitled to a further £1,000.00 is ludicrous. Ask them under what contractual provision they are entitled to increase the price. Likewise ask them how they claim that they are not under an obligation to cover the driveway as intended at both meetings. Put it this way: If the driveway is say 20 metres long by 3 metres wide, somehow or other the salesman quoted a price based upon say 50 square metres and the company insist on only providing 50 square metres, who is to decided where over the whole of the 60 square metres, the 50 square metres of new driveway material is to be laid? Is it 20 square metres by 2.5 square metres to the left or is it to the right? Is it 3 metres by 16.67 metres to the area nearest the road or is it the far end? Is it to be laid in some fancy pattern, say a pleasing chequer board design with 10 individual one metre squares of old driveway poking through? No of course not because that would be ludicrous as well. The agreement was an agreement to redo your driveway. It was not an agreement to supply and fit a measured quantity of driveway material. I think there is a difference.

 

Let’s look at it another way. Let’s say I go to my tailor in Saville Row and ask to be measured for a new suit, and during the course of being measured up my inside leg measurement is transposed, so instead of 32” it is written down as 23”. Let’s say we agree on a price of £2500.00 for the suit (the suit only being a two piece). When I go back for a fitting and slip on a pair of worsted beach shorts, I think I would be within my rights to get a little shirty (pun intended) if the tailor told me that I had signed to have my trouser drop just 23” and that if I wanted them to reach the ground there’d be another £500.00 to pay.

 

The measurements are taken by the tailor or the company to enable them to do their job properly. They are not measurements which I am by my signature to be treated as verifying. My signature is to verify that I want to have my drive re-done or that I want my tailor to make me a new suit at the price mentioned.

 

What we have here is a company indicating they will not be bound by their agreement and a company seeking to renegotiate the price. It is not a case where they genuinely but mistakenly believed you only wanted some of your driveway replaced. It is a case where their salesman made an error of calculation. Only where the company could show that you knew they had made an error of calculation and accepted their offer in the knowledge that in truth the company did not genuinely intend to make such an offer, might the company persuade a court to set aside the agreement for mistake. Proving that would be pretty much impossible. It involves them proving what was in your head and what was in the salesman’s head at the time of the salesman’s visit, plus that you also knew that what was in his head and what came out his mouth were different. The company’s prospects get worse given there was some haggling.

 

The company made an error and they should deal with it like a man. If they don’t they breach the agreement and give rise to a claim by you against them in damages. The damages will be for [1] the return of the deposit, [2] interest on [1], [3] such sum over and above the agreed price that you pay to some other company to carry out the same work and [4] interest on [3].

 

x20

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Fully agree. If they believe they can alter or get out of a signed contract then you also have that right and can cancel the whole lot.

 

Some you win, some you lose. This is one of their loses and they will just charge the next customer more to make up the difference.

 

Stick you your guns.

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Yep - it is the surveyor's figures that will take precedence in any discrepancy. I would expect the T&Cs would also mention this as a possible area of dispute and this out outline how the situation will be handled. Since there is no issue with the Glazed units, would it not be best simply to cancel the drive as non per the salesman's quotation, and get the rest done per your agreement?

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Does it say anywhere subject to remeasure or resurvey; if its a lump sum price they should stick to it; but I imagine they can withdraw offer peoior to comm encement and therefore must refund the deposit.

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Have you measured the area yourself just to check the surveyor measured correctly? 11m (presumably square metres) is quite a large amount of discrepancy on a driveway. At approx £1000 for 11m theyre charging you approx £90 per metre which isn't exactly cheap considering how much the materials cost. Why don't you measure your drive and multiply the metreage by 90 and see if that comes anywhere near your quote?

 

FYI the industry standard price is between £50-60 per square metre and any company charging that kind of money is making a very healthy profit indeed. Block paving is approx £10 per square metre and 'digging laying hardcore and paving' is shall we say not recognised as one of the most skilled trades in the construction industry or one of the best paid unless you work for yourself. As the construction industry is in such a dreadful state of depression at the moment the astute householder with cash is in a very strong position to negotiate. A reputable company near me (Birmingham) did our neighbours house recently for about £35 per metre which I thought was a good price all round. Householder got a 1st class job 'cheap' and the paver kept his men employed for another week and made a profit for himself on top.

 

I'd do as suggested above and caancel the paving over the dispute and have your windows done as undisputed. Get your yellow pages out and get some quotes in. You will be surprised what you can get for your money in a buyers market.


You have the right to food money.

If you don't mind a little investigation, humiliation, and if you cross your fingers rehabilitation..............

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Hi All,

Thanks for replies.

The driveway has been independantly measured and there is a difference with his measurements of approx three metres less as per the surveyors measurements.

 

Buzby there is no mention on t&c about differences between salesman and surveyor and the full contract was drawn up with the salesman at time of visit.

 

Have just spoken to consumer direct wales and he stated that they could alter if genuine mistake however, what they are asking for re extra cash is in excess of 10% of the whole price then they would be hard pushed to justify error of that scale.

 

Next step looks like sending them a letter of dispute. So fingers crossed.

ps. They will not fit windows etc seperate to drive its all or nothing.

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