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Rogue Trader Gas Engineer now suing

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I'll try to condense this.

 

Last year I contracted a Gas Heating Engineer (registered) to fit a new boiler in my daughters flat.

 

Unbeknown to me and my daughter, he In fact, he sent an unregistered unqualified plumber (his friend) in his place as he was 'hung over' from the night before..as was this plumber, but not as bad as the Gas Heating Engineer and apparently 'drew the short straw'. Only registered engineers are legally allowed to work on the gas.

 

The plumber made a complete hash of the work that he did, did not complete all the work, caused damage to my daughters property, and then used the Gas Heating Engineers reg number to fill in the paperwork, filled in his own name, but signed it as the G Engineers name??. When I found out, I called Gas Safe and reported an illegal gas fitter.

 

Gas Safe inspector came round and said the job was poor and to get a 'proper' Gas Safe Heating engineer to come and complete the job and rectify all the mistakes so that building regs could be applied for and the boiler to be register for a guarantee. The boiler manufacturer refused to give a guarantee until this was done. The Inspector gave us a list of reputable people.

 

The Gas Safe Heating engineer told the inspector that he did not send anyone else in his place, but he came himself. The inspector showed my daughter some photo's of the engineer, my daughter said it was not him. He then found a photo of the guy that did the job..daughter confirmed that he was the guy and the inspector said that he was not registered, the installation was illegal as this guy had been struck off.

 

The Inspector then said in an aside to me, that I had a contract with the heating engineer who had not done the work, not a contract with this rogue plumber..I hope you have not paid him!

 

The Gas Safe Heating engineer then sent me an invoice for full payment which I questioned and also asked why vat had not been added as he was a Vat reg company, and was told that it was a private job so not collecting the Vat.

 

I phone HMRC and questioned this and was told he had to collect the vat or be responsible for it himself. I was also asked to pay this invoice to a third party..a plumbers merchants that he had bought goods from. HMRC said this was probably money laundering?

 

Anyway, I paid the bill in part, in 'full and final payment' which he accepted at the time (last Feb). I deducted from the invoice the cost of finishing and rectifying the job and to put right the damage that was caused to my daughter property. Have the invoices to prove these amounts.

 

Yesterday, dropped through my daughters door, a summons for her..who had no contract with him. He is now claiming for the money that I had deducted from his invoice. There was also a summons for me, to her address. I have never lived at her address. I have no financial connection to her address, so why send a summons to her address and not mine?

 

Now for the questions:

 

(1) She had no contract with him at all. I was the one who contracted him..how is she liable?

 

(2) My summons is to her address with which I have no connection...is this legally served?

 

(3) My contract was with him, not his friend..he did not fullfil his contract with me but sent an illegal worker who should not have set foot in my daughters property. I am legally responsible to pay him?

 

(4) The summons is being brought in the name of the Gas engineers "company," not privately. This company is now 'Dissolved', so how can a summons be brought by a company that no longer exists?

 

We are not sure how to respond to these summonses. If anyone can help, it would be appreciated.

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She is not liable and the claim should not be made against her.

 

The claim is legally served but as it is to the wrong person, it is simply a question of her defending and saying that there was no such contract.

 

You are legally liable to pay him a sum which is proportionate to the work that he did after having deducted any other expenses or losses.

 

For instance, if he supplied you with the boiler and the boiler is okay then you will be liable to pay for that. One problem that I see is that as he has acted illegally, is probably not entitled to look after your installation in the future therefore he is not able to provide a guarantee for the work. This could lead to a problem into a three years time if the boiler breaks down or need some other repair work which should be covered by the installation guarantee. He would not be qualified to do that.

 

You're quite right about the claim. If the company is dissolved and it cannot bring the claim. Is the company in administration? In which case the administrators would be duty-bound to try and collect any money owing to the company.

 

If the company is dissolved then he should identify himself as a claimant "in administration"


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Do you have all the paperwork from everyone to show how this progressed ?

Anything from HMRC ?

Anything from the Gas Safe ?

Do you have a receipt for the work and does it say 'in full and final' ?

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In respect of the sum is addressed to your daughter, she should simply defend

 

 

  1. The claim is denied
  2. It is denied that there was any contract between the defendant and the claimant. The claimant did carry out work at the defendant's address but this was at the request of the defendant's mother and any contract which might exist exists with her.
  3. In any event, the claimant is a limited liability company and which according to the information on the website at companies house has been dissolved. Therefore the claimant is not competent to bring any action

The claim against you is slightly more complicated but also won't cause any problem.

 

One of the complications will be how to mount a counterclaim so that you get compensation for the lost guarantee that you should have had if he had been properly qualified – because I imagine, first of all, that he would have been struck off, and if he hasn't been struck off then there is such bad feeling between you, for which he is clearly responsible, that nobody could reasonably expect you to put any repair work into his hands and to be confident of a satisfactory outcome. This needs to be dealt with

 

I'll have to give this some consideration.

 

For the time being I suggest that you simply acknowledge the claim and say that you intend to defend. That will give you 28 days and we can work things out from there.

 

So there we are, acknowledge your claim and intend to defend.

 

Defend your daughters claim using the very simple sentences that I have given you above.


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I think that you should stop protecting yourself by gathering information and also writing letters.

 

I think the you should write a formal letter of complaint to HMRC and tell them exactly what happened and that a VAT registered gas fitter who operates as a limited liability company did job view and tried to bill you as a private person on the basis that "it was a private job" and that for this reason he was not trying to charge VAT.

 

Tell HMRC that since then you have fallen out with the gas fitter to such an extent that he has sued you for some outstanding money for that job and he has attempted to see you in his company name and that this proves that he was doing the job as a company that trying to defraud the revenue of VAT by saying that the job was a private job.

 

Ask HMRC if there is any action that you should be taking.

 

Next, you should write a letter – a formal letter of complaint – to whoever it is registers these gas fitters and explain to them exactly what happened and name the person. Explain to them also that he attempted to act fortunately in respect of the invoice by presenting it as a private job when in fact it was being counted on the books of his limited liability company and that you have evidence of this in that he has now sued you for outstanding payment of the job using his company name.

 

Provide both HMRC and also the gas fitter organisation with copies of the claim form.

 

Ask the gas fitter organisation if they will confirm to you in writing that this man is still registered or has he now been struck off or what is his status.

 

Even though you can probably look up his registered status on the Internet, you should still put these questions in writing to the organisation and hopefully get some written response from them.

 

Additionally, start looking up on the Internet and find out what is registers statuses at the moment and what it is in two or three weeks time – in case he has subsequently been removed from the register.

 

The information that you obtain here will be very important as part of your arguments your case.

 

I'm very concerned that the work you have paid for is not now properly guaranteed and in fact the gas fitter will not be able to guarantee it for you because he will either be unable to carry out the work because he is no longer registered – or because it would be inappropriate for this man with whom you are in conflict to be relied upon to do any kind of decent or reliable job on your central heating installation.

 

This means that what you need is a cast-iron guarantee for the work for a period of at least four or five years.

 

I think the solution here is probably to find out the cost of an extended warranty for your installation running for about four or five years and then to mount a counterclaim for that value. This would essentially give your system the protection which you are entitled to under the original installation contract. Does that sound an interesting way to go?

Of course, this means that you would actually have to buy the warranty from some company and you would have to be prepared to pay the the instalments all whatever payment scheme they wanted for as long as you wanted the warranty to continue. However, if you won on the counterclaim then this would theoretically give you the money for that.

 

Of course, you may will find that your plumber is a bit of a slippery customer and you might find it difficult to enforce a judgement. It will help you to try and do some research and to find details of the plumber's home address and then to check and see whether he owns property. If you find that he does then you have an asset which you can execute against and this will allow you to secure your judgement


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Hi both Bankfodder and Conniff,

 

The company is dissolved, last year. It was a limited company with only 1 employee (him) and one Director..assume a sleeping partner? I have printed from Companies House the declaration that the company is dissolved and the date etc.

 

I have all the paperwork..letters..emails between myself and him.

 

I have the letter stating 'full and final settlement'. He took the money and did not respond until now, nearly a year later.

 

My daughter has a full report from the Gas Safe Register Inspector.

 

She has the invoice from the 'proper', registered heating engineer who finished the job and rectified the installation.

 

She has the invoices for repair to the property and the photo's of the damage before the repair.

 

HMRC..no, but I can easily go back to them. I have his Vat number. I would assume that he should have paid Vat on he amount that I paid him last year.

 

With regard to the separate summons for me sent to her address. Is this still legally served or can she send it back stating 'not at this address'? I don't live anywhere near her now as I moved away in the middle of last year, six months after this happened. Is she legally required to pass this summons to me?

Edited by momma
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No. You must deal with everything. The important thing about claim form is that it comes to your notice. The address is a technicality.

 

When we come to deal with a defence we can explain that it is not the correct address but for the moment the safest thing to do is to acknowledge.

 

If in the acknowledgement form it gives you an opportunity to fill in your correct address then do so. However, it really is just a technicality and it's not a basis for trying to frustrate the claim.

 

You are in such safe ground here I really just wouldn't worry about it please follow the advice I have given.

 

You haven't responded back on the issue of whether you are concerned by the lack of guarantee for the installation.

 

Personally I would have thought that this would be a major concern because even though it has now been correctly installed, in the next two or three years you could always suddenly find some problem develops and if you do not have some kind of guarantee you will face yourself with more expense which few handle things correctly now needn't be necessary


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Thank you Bankfodder, your advice is starting to fall into place and make sense.

 

My daughter had concerns that in the event of a breakdown, she would incur at least labour costs. The original contract with the rogue, stated that the installation was guaranteed. We had not even thought of counter suing for this. The boiler itself is now guaranteed for a five year period, but not the layout. Does it cost to counter sue?

 

I had also suggested (if this is possible) to third party counter sue ,the plumber who actually installed the boiler pretending he was registered, for the deducted amount of the invoice..damage, rectification of the installation and finishing the installation. I know where he lives..facebook and people finder are an asset at times! In other words, for the amount that this rogue is now trying to sue both me and my daughter for.

 

Where in all this, does the fact that he is suing in the dissolved companies name fit in? Should this be mentioned at all?

 

I also meant to mention, though not sure if relevant, he sent an electrician..who was also hung over. My daughter said he stunk of alcohol, and moaned for the 20 mins he was there that he needed to be in bed. In an email to me, this rogue also claimed that he did not send an electrician, but HE did the electrics as well as fitting the boiler. My son is an electrician and checked the electric out for safety.

Edited by momma
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Yes you could bring in the plumber as a third party defendant to your counterclaim if you wanted.

 

They are called a "part 20 defendant". Go to the court services website and search on that or else Google "part 20 defendant" and you will find out what the rules are.

 

When you say that you know where he lives, do know that he owns his property.

 

What about the original gas fitter? Do you know where he lives? Because he has been operating under the cover of a dissolved company, you will be able to counterclaim against him in person even though he has sued you as a company.

 

If you can find out where he lives and if he owns same property as well, you will be in a good position.

 

If you sue the actual fitter is a part 20 defendant then I think that you could sue him for fraudulent misrepresentation and on the basis of the paperwork that you seem to have, this could get you a very good level of damages assuming that you win.

 

Please check the acknowledgement form and see if it allows anywhere on it to you to enter a different address the service of documents. It will be pretty important that when the case is transferred, that it will be transferred to your local court. That will have an additional benefit that it will cause additional inconvenience to the claimant because in order to attend any hearings et cetera he will have to travel to your local court.


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I wouldn't know if either person owns their properties. I have two addresses for the rogue engineer, so will try to find out which one he lives at. I have checked both addresses on google earth and can see a plumbers van parked near one of them.

 

With regard to the local court. That is a fine idea. I am disabled, wheelchair user so I should be able to request a change of venue. I am not sure if I have to pay to counterclaim? but am retired on a benefit that give me exemption from court fees.

 

I really need to see what is written on the summons which I will not get until next week.

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I have just put his registration number into the Gas Safe Register website. The company is still showing but it is blank. There are no registered employee's showing anymore, so I guess he has been struck off???

 

I will have to leave this for today, but will be back in a couple of day once I have the paperwork. I really appreciate any further advice, meanwhile..

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Write to the organisation and get them to confirm the strike-off. Do it by email if poss.

Call them on Monday and ask - but get it confirmed in writing


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I wouldn't know if either person owns their properties. I have two addresses for the rogue engineer, so will try to find out which one he lives at. I have checked both addresses on google earth and can see a plumbers van parked near one of them.

 

Check the Land Registry website


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Now I'm confused.

 

Not got the paperwork from my daughter but she has told me that the claimants details are as follows:

 

Name of dissolved company, followed by the address of company, which is not the address of the dissolved company but has changed to the address of a 'debt collection agency'.?

 

How does this figure into my response?

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Please will you scan and post the documents up here in pdf format.

I think that we need to see them in order to understand it fully


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Will not get the paperwork before Tuesday, but my daughter has said the claimant is:

 

Original dissolved company. Address is of a debt collection agency. It is signed by the rogue heating engineer, and he has put his position as: Director.

 

He was never the director of the company. The company was dissolved with massive debts. I have seen the last accounts that state this.

 

There is no new company showing on Companies House website. I will call them tomorrow and give them the details to see if they can shed some light.

 

When I put this guy's name in on Companies House to check for a director in his name. There are no directors registered at

 

Companies House under that name. It is an unusual foreign name.

 

Under: Brief particulars of claim is just states: Unpaid monies.

 

Edited to state: I have just put the company's name in Companies House to see if it is available for me to set up a company in that name, and it is available as there are currently no companies of that name registered.

 

There are no other details at all.

Edited by momma
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Let's wait until we see the documents. It gets very complicated when there are third parties, and the contents of documents are relayed by word of mouth etc.

A shame that your daughter doesn't have a £50 scanner so that documents could be sent very quickly.

This is something which is going to hound this case because she will receive further documents and there will be further delays.

I think that this would be a very good time to invest in a scanner http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing-accessories/printers-scanners-and-ink/scanners/canon-canoscan-lide-120-flatbed-scanner-10029719-pdt.html


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I think that this would be a very good time to invest in a scanner

 

I have an old Canon flatbed scanner she can have for free (postage at cost).


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That's a nice offer. What model is it?


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Hi, my daughter does not have a computer so no need for a scanner. Thanks for the offer Mr. P

 

I should have the papers in the post tomorrow and will do my best to scan after removing personal names and addresses..bear with me on this one, I am in my 70's and not that good with technology.

 

On thing I have found out this morning is that I went back to the site that I got him from..Rated People, and he is still advertising on there with the Company name stating that the Company is gas safe registered. How can he do this when the company is dissolved.

 

The company started to be wound up months ago London Gazette??

 

He has rated comments after the dissolution of the company.

 

Also, when a company is dissolved, what happens to the bank account of said company? Looking on the bleak side and we do end up in court and judgement goes in his favour, then the payment would be made to a company that no longer exist, if you see what I mean. Is there anyway that I could find out if this company's bank account is still active?

Edited by momma

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Please take screen shots of everything you find


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Have done!:-)

 

The company's websites are down and there does not appear to be anyway to contact him other than through Rated People, someone who he has done a job for is jumping up and down trying to get him to come back an finish the work and rectify certain things. Is complaining that he cannot contact him.

 

It also states that they give a 15 year guarantee on all boilers that they fit.:lol:

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Good. Keep on taking screen shots of anything you find.

Also, it might help to contact other victims and tell them to come here.

 

Maybe it's about time you told us who this person is and the link to his website


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I'm a bit wary at the moment of putting the personal details on public view of either the claimant or the debt collection agency.

 

Is there a reason you ask, and how can this help?

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