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small claim against a "sole trader" caravan repairer ***Paid in Full***

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Hi,

 

I'm posting on my dad's behalf, who in May this year had his caravan repaired by a local repairer.

 

The repairer is just a sole trader, and not a limited company.

On his website he says that all repairs he does he gives 12 month warranties on.

Although, on my dad's paperwork it just says "warranty, as dated above"..

 

A few weeks ago he had a damp test done, and it showed that water was still getting in, due to not being sealed properly,

and the panels replaced in May would need replacing again.

The readings were around 30%..

 

My dad contacted the repairer and told him this, but he never came round to view the caravan when he promised.

 

 

Ever since then my dad has had his calls ignored, or when he answered and knew it was my dad, he just hung up.

He has also visited his unit in person, and he wasn't there but people tell him he had been working earlier in the week.

If he had called round he could have done his own checks.

 

My dad is due to get another repair company to quote on getting the work done, and he will also get his damp report in writing done by his engineer.

 

He spoke to caravan & camping club legal team who have advised him to send a "letter before action" and give him 14 days in which to respond.

I am due to write the letter at the weekend and think that I we will have to give him until early in January to respond because of the Christmas break.

 

Would it be best to ask for whole amount to be refunded, or just ask the rogue repairer to pay whatever it costs to put it right?

I will of course attach copies of the quotation, and also the damp report.

I shall include a copy of the invoice to my dad when the repair was done in May.

 

I'm not sure what rule he has breached by not honouring his warranty, so if you could tell me I would appreciate it.

 

I've also asked for advice on a caravan & camping forum and was advised to post here as you could help more with the legal side.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Apologies for the long-winded post.

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You're quite right that the Christmas break gets in the way. I would suggest that you hold off sending the letter before action until after Christmas.

In the meantime, I would make sure that I knew all about the small claims action in the County Court by reading all the materials that we have on this website. I will also make sure that I knew exactly where the repairer lives and whether or not he owns his own home so that when you win – as you probably will on the facts you have given here – you will then be able to enforce a judgement fairly easily.

 

I think that if you write a letter before action now and then there is the intervening break, the whole question of deadlines and so forth will become rather blurred and neither you nor he will understand really when acknowledgements have to be filed and defences have to be filed et cetera.

 

I don't see any urgency at the moment. Issue the claim after Christmas then you can have a clear run and react all the deadlines promptly

 

On the matter of what a claim for, you will be best off getting quotes to put his poor work into proper conditions so that there is a proper repair.

 

If you haven't done this yet then you are not ready to issue proceedings anyway. You should get too independent quotes for the work make sure they are fully detailed. Send them to the repairer and require that he pays the cheaper of the two. You can include the estimates in your letter before action and warn him that if he does not comply with your request then you will sue him.

 

In terms of what rule has he broken, because it has given a 12 month warranty, he has committed a simple breach of contract based on the promise he made. Furthermore, even without his express warranty the work would have had to have been done to a satisfactory standard and he will have breached the terms implied by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Had the contract been agreed after 1 October this year, then the 1982 act wouldn't apply and you would be dealing with the Consumer Rights Act


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Hi,

 

Thanks very much for the quick reply.

 

I see what you mean about waiting until the New Year for sending the letter before action. I will put that to my dad and see if he agrees.

 

I have read about the small claims court on this site as you advised.

 

I do know the repairer's address. Is it by looking on the land registry website that I find out who owns the property?

 

Thanks again

Mark.

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Thanks very much for that link Bazooka!! £19.95 seemed a little steep for a copy of the title deeds.

 

 

I did a little more searching and found I could get the deeds for £3..It was the gov.uk site..

 

 

I'm sure it was a mistake...

 

 

Mark

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Hi,

 

 

I've wrote the letter now. I just have to wait a few days for written quotes to arrive.

 

 

My dad has now said he would like to post it to him before Christmas now.

 

 

Is there any chance someone willing to have a look at what I've typed up would message me their email address so I could send it to them please?

 

 

Thanks

Mark.

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You can post up a suitably redacted copy of it on here, that way then you get the best advice rather than one individuals.


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I have copied and pasted the body of the letter..

Thanks Bazooka boo.

Letter before action

 

Re: Caravan damp repair

 

Dear ******

 

I write further to our telephone conversation on Friday 27th November 2015.It was on this date that i explained to you that my damp report readings on the area you carried out repairs indicated that water ingress and damp were showing signs of occurring once again.I have attached the damp report carried out by my service engineer for your attention.

 

You failed to visit my home, as you promised, to investigate my findings with your repair on Tuesday 1st December 2015.I have made several attempts to contact you by telephone on various phone numbers that are shown your website, and on display outside your work premises, and you have either ignored my calls, or failed to return my calls.I have also visited your premises on three separate occasions, and you weren’t there. Due to the seriousness of my caravan’s deterioration, i am left with no other alternative but to write to you.

 

On your completion of the repair, and, as also stated on your website, you provided me with a twelve month warranty, and by failing to respond to my calls, you are in breach of contract based on the promise that you made. Furthermore, the work has been proved to be done to an unsatisfactory standard and you are in breach of the terms implied by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.I have enclosed a copy of my receipt for the work you carried out in May 2015.

 

As stated on your own website, damp in a caravan will only get worse, and i have made contact with third party repairers to rectify your poor standard of work. You will find copies of the quotes attached to this letter, and i seek reimbursement from you in full for the cost of bringing your poor work to a proper standard.

 

Due to the urgency of the repair, and taking into account the upcoming Christmas holiday break, i would like a response from yourself, in writing, no later than Friday 8th January 2016.Should I not receive a response from you in this time frame, then i anticipate that court action will be commenced with no further reference to you.

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Reads very good IMO, although I would possibly change the last para to something along the lines of, ''Should I fail to receive a satisfactory response by Friday 8th Jan 2016, I will commence with the repairs to rectify your poor workmanship and I shall invoice you for the cost, if I fail to receive any communication from you regarding the invoice I will seek legal remedy via the small claims track whereby the cost will increase.

I look forward to your timely response,

Regards......''

 

Or something similar....I would say that your perogative would be to get the caravan repaired to a good standard then chase him for the money.


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Thank you very much!

 

 

I shall look at changing it slightly later when I get home. I was hoping the grammar was ok, as it's been a while since I was at school.

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Just one further thought.

 

 

My dad paid upwards of £2000 for the cost of the repairs. Quotations to put the work right are bound to be of that amount, or slightly higher again from other repairers.

 

 

Is there anyway of wording something that he pays the quote and we then have the money to get the repair done.

 

 

I don't think my dad is in the position to pay £2000 again!!

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I would get three separate quotes for the repair and send them with your letter.

 

Inform them that if they fail to respond, then you will have the work carried out, and the invoice will be sent to them, failure to pay the invoice will result in a claim being made via the small claims track, including interests and costs.

 

AFAIK, there is no way of forcing them to pay for the repairs prior to them being carried out, however, remember what the objective is, which is to get them to carry out the repairs satisfactorily, hopefully they will correct the repairs themselves, legal action is when you have no other option.


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I see what you are saying, but, we now don't trust the guy with our caravan as he has made no attempt at all to contact us, and not returned our calls. My dad actually spoke to him once recently, and as soon as he realised it was my dad, he hung up. All confidence in his work has been lost.

 

 

His work has been proven to be shoddy by other repairers, and my service engineer, and we don't want him to work on ours again for fear he might make the problem worse, or even damage it out of spite.

 

 

Getting people around to quote for free on caravans is difficult. My dad has already spent 2hrs just taking it 2 miles away from his home for a quote. The amount of work involved in hitching up, unhitching, closing cupboard doors etc..really takes a lot of time.

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OK then, in that case as he has failed to communicate and proved to be incompetent, get the quotes, send them to him, demand that he respond to you within a certain time limit, state a date a date by which you expect a response, failure of which you will go ahead and have the work carried out.

 

If he fails to pay for the repairs then you will escalate the matter to the small claims, where costs and interest will be added.

  • Confused 1

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Thanks, i'll do that.

 

 

I really appreciate your help..

 

 

Mark..

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:thumb:

 

You're welcome, it's a shame it comes to this, all you want is for the work to be carried out to a satisfactory standard, and for them to honour the 12 month warranty.

 

Once you have the quotes, copy them, send them to him, obtain proof of posting if you're going to send them, OR take them to his premises by hand, and get someone to sign for them, then once he fails to respond by the date you give him, have the work carried out, and send him the invoice.

 

Once he fails to respond to the invoice, then send a LBA (letter before action) giving him a further 7 days to respond, this MUST be sent via recorded delivery, then once he fails to respond to that, start the small claims track....


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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OK thanks, i take all of that onboard.

 

 

Actually caravan repairers are busy this time of year, and the earliest he could probably get it done would be March.

 

 

I'll remove "letter before action" from this letter as you advised.

 

 

Thanks

Mark...

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This is what I now have for now.. I'll hold sending the letter before action as you say..

Dear ******

I write further to our telephone conversation on Friday 27th November 2015. It was on this date that i explained to you that my damp report readings on the area you carried out repairs indicated that water ingress and damp were showing signs of occurring once again. I have attached the damp report carried out by my service engineer for your attention.

You failed to visit my home, as you promised, to investigate my findings with your repair on Tuesday 1st December 2015. I have made several attempts to contact you by telephone on various phone numbers that are shown your website, and on display outside your work premises, and you have either ignored my calls, or failed to return my calls. I have also visited your premises on three separate occasions, and you weren’t there. Due to the seriousness of my caravan’s deterioration, i am left with no other alternative but to write to you.

On your completion of the repair, and, as also stated on your website, you provided me with a twelve month warranty, and by failing to respond to my calls, you are in breach of contract based on the promise that you made. Furthermore, the work has been proved to be done to an unsatisfactory standard and you are in breach of the terms implied by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. I have enclosed a copy of the invoice for the work you carried out in May 2015.

As stated on your own website, damp in a caravan will only get worse, and i have made contact with third party repairers to rectify your poor standard of work. You will find copies of the quotes attached to this letter.

Should I fail to receive a satisfactory response from you by Friday 8th January 2016, i will commence with repairs to rectify your poor workmanship, and i shall invoice you for the cost. If i then fail to receive any communication from you regarding the invoice, i will seek legal remedy via the small claims court, whereby the costs and interest will be added.

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Just one further point. As this is probably going to drag at least until March next year, is it possible for him to just start up another business using a different name to avoid action.

 

 

I'll also get a proof of posting for the copy I send to his home address..

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Hmm, not sure??

 

You can check on companies house website whether he has a habit of doing as you suggested, but I would strongly doubt that he would change company names to avoid covering the repairs to one caravan, although TS might know if there are any more complaints regarding his workmanship?


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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He is a sole trader as per #1 so address to him personally as he is liable


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

I am not legally trained or qualified, any advice i offer is gleaned from experience and general knowledge, if you are still unsure after receiving advice please seek legal advice.

 

 

 

GEMHL Settled

Barclaycard Settled

A & L SETTLED IN FULL :lol:

Spml Reluctantly withdrawn

Blackhorse pre 31-7-06 Demand removal sent 23 8 06. ICO ordered removal jan 2007....REMOVED:lol:

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Thanks for that Martin. His business does have a name but I shall put his name on the letter also.

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I would address it as:

 

Fred Bloggs t/a blah blah caravans


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

I am not legally trained or qualified, any advice i offer is gleaned from experience and general knowledge, if you are still unsure after receiving advice please seek legal advice.

 

 

 

GEMHL Settled

Barclaycard Settled

A & L SETTLED IN FULL :lol:

Spml Reluctantly withdrawn

Blackhorse pre 31-7-06 Demand removal sent 23 8 06. ICO ordered removal jan 2007....REMOVED:lol:

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Hi all.

 

 

I have an update but not a great one.

 

 

The repairer has not replied to any letters. We also asked the "Consumer Ombudsman" to help, but he declined their intervention. I know that he was not part of their scheme, but trading standards thought it a good idea to involve them.

 

 

The caravan has now got in a worse state, and my dad has no spare cash to correct the work before being refunded of the poor work done. Is there anyway that we could use the "Money claim online" service to recover the monies paid, or would they only award costs if we had repairs carried out.

 

 

My dad has legal cover with his caravan insurance. He is going to contact them tomorrow. Does anyone know if they will advise and take the case on for free without taking a penny of the sums awarded?

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AFAIK, getting the work done and then billing this chap is a better approach, but if your father doesn't have the funds available, then the same process should be applied.

 

Obtain three estimates for the repair, then make a claim against the individual.company for the cost of the repairs, then once/if you are successful you will have the funds to carry out the necessary repairs.


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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