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mackem67

Customer refusing to pay for work completed

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My Son agreed to do some work for a customer to install and improve their bathroom.

 

The customer agreed to pay half of the fitting charge then the rest on completion. Customer paid for all materials and ordered her own bathroom furniture.

 

Prior to her ordering this my son made her aware that in order to install a shower into the available space she would have to have a sliding door on the shower cubicle.

We got to the last day of fitting and noticed she has bought a hinged shower door which will not fit.

 

I offered to complete the work on Friday and messaged her to arrange this and requested that she guarantee to pay the remainder of fitting charge on completion the same day.

 

She messaged back saying she would NOT guarantee this as she felt there was a lot to finish. She then sent me an email quoting Consumer Regulations (2013) stating that I am obliged to provide pre-contract information and a cooling off period of 14 days.

 

She states that she is now choosing to invoke this and has 1 year and 14 days. We had a verbal contract and she has now stated she wishes to cancel my services and I am not to return to their property.

 

I have completed 95% of this work and I am owed £860.25 for this. Customer has stated that they will get another independent tradesman to value the work done to date and will pay what they tell her or request a refund

- in reasonable time.

 

This has left me unable to pay sub contractor for electricity work and myself unable to pay my own bills etc.

 

Can anyone give me advice on my next step?

 

By the way the customer was over the moon with the work done to date, however, her Father turned up at the property 2 days ago and told me to go off home. I picked up my tools and left saying I would speak to my customer to arrange to finish the work.

Edited by Andyorch
Paras

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shes wrong, and it seems from your info, it could be her father that put her up to it.

 

I would send them a final invoice, give them a time to pay it by, and if no further payment is forthcoming, head on to court claim for what they owe.

 

remember, though, get full and comprehensive evidence, so they dont have any wriggle room.

 

Do EVERYTHING by the book and fully professional. Let them make mistake after mistake.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

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Please can you explain in detail the steps which occurred before you begun the work.

 

Were you asked to visit?

Did you visit?

Did you give a quote after inspecting the site?

Was an appointment fixed for the work to be done?

Did you then keep the appointment to begin the work?

How long was the work intended to take?

How many days did you work?


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Also, you say you are "messaging" each other. Does this mean text? Email? Voicemail?


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Thanks guys.

 

She will no longer allow me access to the property so I cannot take any further photographs to prove the extent of the work completed.

 

When her Father asked me to leave I did not think to take photographs as I thought I would be going back the next day to finish the work.

 

I am now worried that it was her and her Father's intention to stop me completing the work and had no intention of paying me what she owes.

 

Is she able to get another trader to value someone else's work?

How is that possible as neither the customer or the other trader will have any idea how much work has been done refitting her old toilet in the meantime so as not to leave her without toilet facilities to get to this point...ie. moving bathroom furniture, plumbing boxing pipes etc.

 

Her new toilet actually snapped too so there was a further delay for her to get a new one. I

 

She has also now blocked my number and stated she will only converse via email.

Could I put the email she sent me on here please and could someone advise me with wording for a reply?

 

BankFodder: -Yes to the first 5 questions,

there was no timescale mentioned and during the work my Aunt passed away and I had to take some time to support my Father and family.

 

I have messages to and from her where she has been sympathetic and advised me to not worry and spend time with family.

Edited by mackem67
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I'm very sorry but you haven't at all dealt with my five questions.

 

And please would you address each one specifically.


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Just after a free bathroom..hence her buying the materials...oldest trick in the book....free labour.

 

Proceed to court claim

 

Andy


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Also, I asked you what the messaging was and you simply said again that you have messages ....


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yes I was asked to visit

yes I visited

yes I gave a quote

yes an appointment was fixed and yes I attended on the appointed date

There was no timescale agreed

I worked for 10 days

via text messages

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More detail please

yes I was asked to visit Thank you - but what day in respect of the others?

yes I visited- What day?

yes I gave a quote - When?

When was the quote accepted?

yes an appointment was fixed and yes I attended on the appointed date - How long after the quote was agreed

There was no timescale agreed

I worked for 10 days

via text messages


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More detail please

 

I was asked to visit on 25th May2018

I visited the same day

I gave first quote on 26th MAy 2018 (for supply and fit) which was rejected and they requested me to fit the equipment they purchased independently.I agreed to this and quoted them a different price on the same day which was eagerly accepted

Customer said she would like it to be done in 3 weeks if possible - I commenced the work as soon as she had the equipment delivered.

 

This job would have been completed on June 13th 2018 if I had not been asked to leave by her Father

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Thank you. Was the father there when the agreement was eventually made?

 

They are trying to say that this is an off-premises contract. An off-premises contract is subject to all of the cancellation rules and you are required to give full details of the cancellation rights. If you do not do so than they have up to one year in which to cancel - or if you eventually give the cancellation information, 14 days from the date that the cancellation information is eventually provided.

 

A contract is not an off-premises contract where a visit is made, a proposal is made and then later on on a subsequent visit the contract is agreed. Then the contract is subject to the usual contractual rules and it is treated as an on-premises contract.

 

I think it would be reasonable to argue here that it is an on-premises contract – although I have to say that their initial refusal of your proposal and then your subsequent proposal and their immediate acceptance is technically an off-premises contract. However I think that you are in a bit of a bind and in the circumstances it would be reasonable for you to say that the entire sequence of events should be taken into consideration – from your initial visit, down to the refusal of your initial offer – then your subsequent offer and their subsequent acceptance – should be taken as a whole and should be seen as having given them an opportunity to reflect and therefore it should all be treated as an on-premises contract.

 

When was the first payment made?

 

I think you should certainly learn from this episode and that you should take a little care to understand the difference between off-premises contracts and on premises contracts. You are always safer in visiting to make a quote and then arriving at the agreement after you have left the property. To insure yourself against this kind of thing happening again, it would be prudent always to provide written details about a 14 day cancellation period and in this way you will be thoroughly protected. Of course it might mean that the period of reflection could cause some people to change their minds or to go elsewhere for another quote – but this is a risk you will have to take.

 

It seems to me that you are dealing with quite a bolshie customer and so you should probably go into conflict mode immediately.

 

I would write them a letter explaining to them that they are confusing their arrangement with you with an off-premises contract. Explain to them that because of this, the information rules relating to cancellation do not apply and that they are bound by the contract in exactly the same way as if it were an on-premises contract. I would send this letter in the form of a letter before claim and give them 14 days to pay the balance or else you will start legal action. Only do this if you mean to go ahead.

 

I think in the letter you may as well point out them the sequence of events, the fact that they had ample time to reflect and that on the basis of your agreement they actually went ahead and ordered materials and then brought you in afterwards to install them. Of course you must also point out that they went against the advice by purchasing a hinged door and that it is now clear – as you predicted – that there is not sufficient space for it to be mounted. You could even express goodwill by suggesting to them that you will help them to return the hinged door if they would like.

 

I think you should also point out for the record that you have been prevented from visiting the property again although you would like to in order to ascertain the amount of work that was carried out and to take photographs for the forthcoming court hearing. Tell them that you are still prepared to do this if they will allow you but if they were not, and this also will be pointed out to the court.

 

I think finally your letter before action and also point out how pleased your customer was with the work and it was only after the father intervened a dispute began. You can also send the letter that you believe that it is the father who has encouraged her to treat this as an off-premises contract and that he has misunderstood the definition of an off-premises contract and as a result the agreement between you appears to have collapsed.

 

Once again, only make the threat to start legal action if you are prepared to go ahead with it. If you are not then probably there is very little you can do and you are going to have to suck it up.


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By the way, because of the ambiguity around the eventual negotiated agreement – or happening on the same day during the same visit, I rate your chances of success as better than 75%. I would normally refer to recommend chances of better than 90%

 

Also, I asked you to further questions in my previous post and you haven't answered either of them. This is unhelpful.

 

Also, don't forget that your actions against the customer which means the daughter. I imagine that she is being rather led by her father but maybe she will start to think differently when she realises that it is she who will be involved in a legal action and that her father will not be able to speak on her behalf.

 

She may then go into panic mode and be more willing to abide by the original agreement.

 

In terms of the work which has not been done, I think it is reasonable to say that it was an implied term of the contract that you will be allowed to finish the work. This means that you will be entitled to claim for the whole job. However, it might be a good negotiating position to agree – in order to avoid legal action – to give a slight reduction because some of the workers unfinished.

 

I would certainly not agree to complete any further work until the full bill is paid. They have betrayed your trust.

 

I'm quite sure that the father will try to draw you into some protracted correspondence. Do not be led by the nose. Make your threats. Set your deadlines – and stick by them. Don't budge a single minute


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Bankfodder, i think that the cooling off period doesn't apply to any building work that has already commenced as it is implied that an agreement has been reached, otherwise customers wouldn't let you in and start the job.

Also, if the cooling period applied to work already started, anyone could get jobs done in under 14 days and cancel once the work is almost completed.

As there's no apparent fault with the op's work, i think he's got an almost guaranteed win in court.

However, nasty piece of father could provide tampered evidence to prove the job was not completed to a reasonable standard, seen this many times.

It's essential nowadays to take pictures of every stage of every job as people have become aware that they can abuse consumer rights regulations to get things for free or a discount.

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Just for reference...so you can quote some Law in return

 

 

consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf


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Bankfodder, i think that the cooling off period doesn't apply to any building work that has already commenced ....

 

I'd like to think that this was correct – but I don't see this in the regulations. Because of this I think one has to extrapolate from the circumstances and that means that it is all open to a coherent argument being presented to a judge and then a judge taking a sensible/pragmatic view. It's not cut and dried


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Just send her a LBA for full agreed amount be paid in 14 days or legal recovery action will be taken.

Follow through.

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I'd like to think that this was correct – but I don't see this in the regulations. Because of this I think one has to extrapolate from the circumstances and that means that it is all open to a coherent argument being presented to a judge and then a judge taking a sensible/pragmatic view. It's not cut and dried

 

It would fall under common law.

If the customer has let me do the work before the end of the 14 days period, it's safe to assume that the same customer can't then decide not to have the work done and invoke the cooling off period.

If that was possible most workers in the building/maintenance industry would never get paid.

Sorry bankfodder, but i think that on this occasion you're incorrect.

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Also, I asked you to further questions in my previous post and you haven't answered either of them. This is unhelpful.

 

 

Sorry BankFodder I missed the questions.

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However, nasty piece of father could provide tampered evidence to prove the job was not completed to a reasonable standard, seen this many times.

It's essential nowadays to take pictures of every stage of every job as people have become aware that they can abuse consumer rights regulations to get things for free or a discount.

 

We have thought that her Father may tamper with the work, however, I did take photographs up to a point and would have done that day. When he ordered me from the house I simply picked up my tools etc and totally forgot to do it that day as I was dumbfounded. She was trying to stop her Father doing this but to no avail so I simply stated I would speak to my customer regarding this and not him.

(This customer is also a work colleague of my Mother's so this adds to the problems here)

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BankFodder you mention a reduction in cost to her. I have already done this and calculated 95% of the full cost as that is how much work is completed and requested that payment from her. She has stated she is going to get a trader to come and inspect my work to value it! I don't know if this possible to do as he/she will not know exactly what has been done from start to now.

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Thank you. Was the father there when the agreement was eventually made?

 

When was the first payment made?

 

.

 

Just seen these - It was agreed by text ( I have the texts) so I am unsure if he was present. The first payment was made via bank transfer (for labour) on 01-06-2018. There were some payments prior to that in order for me to gather materials needed ie. wall and floor cladding, bespoke bath panel, certain plumbing items that she had not ordered

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BankFodder you mention a reduction in cost to her. I have already done this and calculated 95% of the full cost as that is how much work is completed and requested that payment from her. She has stated she is going to get a trader to come and inspect my work to value it! I don't know if this possible to do as he/she will not know exactly what has been done from start to now.

 

Bluffing you....no set value on labour and quality and finish..you get what you pay for.

 

Replied to your PM

 

 

Andy


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Hi

 

Does this look OK to send?

 

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

 

This is to notify you that you have 10 days from the date of this letter to pay the amount of £860.25. This is the total amount for the percentage of work completed.

If this amount is not paid within the time stated above I will have no alternative but to issue a Money Claim through the small claims court and you could also be liable for further costs and interest to the debt which is outstanding.

I would also request that you allow me access to the bathroom in order to take photographic evidence of the work completed to present to the court, should this be required.

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