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Getting a Refund from Builder

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I got a quote from a builder to erect a basic timber leanto on the back of my property, and do some remedial work to an already existing brick shed. The area for the leanto already had decking but this was rotting so was to be removed. 


The builder is a part time firman, and is a near neighbour of my daughter, and semed a friendly enough person.  When he came to view the job in May 20, I explained I was not looking to start the works until begining of August 20, so I could comfortabley get the funds together.  He mentioned he would be free to start on 1st July 20 as had no work booked in for that period. 


I explained that I am disabled with a variety of consitions included limited mobility. I run a business from home from my loft office and wanted the leanto so I could have a dedicated space downstairs to work from hen needed. He sent me a quote via email. The quote was in a Ltd company name, but had no address on it and had a start date of 1st July 20. 


I agreed in the end to this start date as he said he was free. Total quoted for all works was £10,720 with a deposit of £4390 to be paid immediately for materials to start on 01/07/20.  He sent me some pictures of garden rooms he had recently completed, and I liked the idea of having UPVC cladding for minimal maintenance and asked how much more this would be, and was advised £1730, so I paid a deposit of £6120 on 01/09/20.  The bank account details I was provided to pay the deposit was the builders wifes account.  he said the company was new. 


He sent me an email on 30/06/20 saying he was collecting ALL the materials on 01/07/20 and would start on 02/07/20, then he was delayed as was let down by some suppliers. Work did not actually start until 17/07/20 after I requetsed a refund due to breach of contract. They arrived and took town the old decking. there has been constant delays, excuses and outright lies and I again requested a cancellation of the contract and refund as of part of my money as they would turn up one day, then nothing, citing, supply issues, workers being sick, his child being sick, etc. 


As he had assured us everything would be ready befoe 15/08/20 we booked a small gathering for a barbecue for my stepdaughters 21st and made the builder aware. We requested a full schedule of the works to be done each day and a completion date, which he gave in writing as 13/08/20, stating that the perspecx roof would be fitted on 11/08/20. Needless to say this did not happen, he claims there were supply issues with the perspex sheets and he ended up putting up a gazebo in the half completed frame of the building on the morning of 15/08/20 as no roof was on and I was concerned for rain, and confirming that the sheets for the roof would be dleivered the following week. 


Well the builder went on holiday on 20/08/20, 2 workrs came on 20/08/20 and 21/08/20 to put up tarpaulin as still no roof had arrived, no cladding had arrived and a list of other works ahd not been done.


On the morning of 22/08/20 we discovered we had a leak as thay had damaged a pipe when putting up the tarpaulin. I called and sent a text message to the worker and also texted the builder who gave me his plumbers number, who never came to fix the leak. on 27/08/20 I text builder again as still not heard anything form anyone and he said he was back in the country the next day and would come and see what still needed to be done and get things sorted.  He never arrived.


On 01/09/20 I texted the builder who said he was at work the next day and my job would be on.  I asked him to explain exactly what that meant as I needed the work done as a priority,  He said, plumber coming today, cladding fitting tomorrow, roof panels Thursday.  No plumber arrived that day.  I contacted builder the next day, he said they were not coming as team member was sick, but he would get plumber there today.  i told him if no one came today, we would get someone else in to do works as I was getting bitten by mosquites from the stagnnant water.  No one came that day or the next. 


I decided I would put the remaming works on a bulder site to get estimates to do the remaining works and then would give the builder a deadline which I did.  I spoke to the builder on 08/09/20 when he called to let me know thta he had again chased the roof panels, but he wanted me to sign a waiver about the roof.  I told him no, he had told me on numberous occassions that he had ALL the supplies, he know what was need from the start, and he had lied on previous occassions as he now admitted he had only ordered the roof panels on 21/08/20. he was however saying he had ordered bespoke panels to fit the roof, which were not necessary, discussed or agreed with me.  I told him that he had 1 week to complete all the remaining works or I would give the job to someone else and would reques a refund of monies as by now I had paid a total of £9655. All payments to his wifes account.  

The builder called me on 15/09/20 to let me know he had been assured the roof panels were being delivred on that Thursday 17/09/20. I told him that was too late. he knew today was the dealine, he had not even bothered to acknowledge my email and as he clearly was not in a position to complete ALL the works by the end of that day, I would be employing alternate builders to start the next day 16/09/20, which I did.


Sorry the post is so long, but I wanted to give the history.


I have sent a letter guaranteed delivery addressed to the builder, his wife and the company  to their home address asking for a reund of £4500 withing 7 day.


I plan to take legal proceedings against ALL 3.  Although the quote had the company name on it there is no address or contact information on it, all communication came from his personal email address, he requested that the money be paid into his wife's account.


His wife is not a director of the company, she did become a company secretary on 22/06/20, so I believe I rightfully can request she repay the money as she had to right to it.


He has refused to send a breakdown of materials actually used, which is all I am prepared to pay for.  He has said I am not due a refund as he has paid for the materials. He has not fitted the cladding, or done any of the other works, which could have been completed whilst waiting for the roof panels.


Incidentally, the new builders saterted on 16/09/20, and obtained the same roof panels that morning and by Friday 18/09/20 had fitted the roof, cladded one side of the building, fitted,  UPVC doors to leant and brick shed, fitted and 2 UPVC wndows to  leanto.


Your advice regarding the status of the wife would be most helpful

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Hello and welcom to CAG. People should be along over the course of the day to advise.


In the meantime, I've edited a few paragrphs into your post to make it easier for those advising to read. Please try to break up your posts because reading a solid block of text is difficult to read and can put people off. :)


Best, HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum




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Please will you give us the company name, post up a copy of the receipt in PDF format and also the name of the builder.

You have got his address. I suggest that you visit the land registry web search and see whether he is the registered owner of the property https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry 

There will be a fee for this information that it is important to get it.

The reason you're doing this is because you are highly likely to end up taking a small claim against him and you want to know what assets he has which you can enforce against.

I suggest that you take photographs of everything and also speak to your new builders and ask them to provide a written description of the state of affairs as they found the before they started doing the work.
You should also ask them for their own evaluation of the materials which they found on site when they started the work. That might give you an idea of their value. Make sure you get a list of the materials which had been supplied.

Also it will be a good idea if you could set everything out that happened in a bullet pointed chronology. Skip the narrative – it's far too long.

We need to get a nutshell view of exactly what has happened.


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Thank you for your response.

I already know that the property is a housing association property.


I have already taken photographs and have historic recording on the ring doorbell, up to the date they dismantled it in August. I am also taking pictures each day of the work the new builders have completed on a daily basis for reference.


I have already spoken with the new builders and they are prepared to provide me a summary of the the work completed, and their estimate of the materials used and the cost.


I have asked the previous builder on 4 different occasions for the list of material and the costs, which he has failed to provide, so I prepareed a spreadsheet and counted and measured each piece of timber (mostly only timer used) sourced them on 3 different websites and they costed them on the avergage price.


I have the chronology of events in bullet list format already, I just thought it best to put in more details in this post.


We mainly communicated by SMS, and I have obtained software to pull all the messages including date & time into a PDF.


My main area of focus is his wife, as he asked for the money to b paid into her account, not a business account, and from what I have gathered from company house records she is not a director of the company, however her name was added as company secretary after my deposit was paid, so I feel I can justifbly included her in any proceedings, as by requesting the money be paid to her account, he made her a party to this.


Can you just let me know your thoughts on this element

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Still waiting for the name of the company and sight of the receipt.


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You're the one who mentioned a receipt with a company name on

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So post it up

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Swift Building & Home Improvements Ltd


Registered Address:

Winghams House 9 Freeport Office Village
Century Drive
CM77 8YG


Company Number: 12479537


Company Status: Active


Company Type: Private Limited Company


Incorporated: 24th February 2020


Director: Alexander Jeremy Aird  (appointed 24th February 2020)


Secretary: Leanne Jane Aird  (appointed 22nd June 2020)


Companies House Link: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/12479537


Endole Link: https://suite.endole.co.uk/insight/company/12479537-swift-building-home-improvements-ltd


Open Corporates Link: https://opencorporates.com/companies/gb/12479537

You mention they are in a Housing Association Property, now this is only if they are running their Business from that property they would require written Permission from that Housing Association to do so. (note is the above links Registered Office Address their actual property address?, if so write to Housing Association asking for clarification if they have permission to run a Business from that property address)

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Thanks for the company information.

Still waiting for the quotation to be posted up. I'm not sure what the problem is or why there should be delay.


It's very concerning that this person has had the money paid directly into his wife's account. I wonder if the tax people know.


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I don't really now why you are so insistent on the quote being posted, and I don't think it is necessay at this stage.


I just wanted some insight into whether it is feasible to also issue proceedings against the wife as the money was paid into her bank account.


The address of the registered office is not their home address.

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I suppose that if you were paying £300 an hour to a solicitor instead of getting free advice here, you would provide all the information that was asked for pretty quickly in order to maximise your chances of success and also to reduce your costs.

It's a shame that you didn't take such a cautious approach when handing your money out to a cowboy builder who is going to cause you a lot of problem try to get it back – if at all.

When you give us the information that we need to work on then we may be able to help you – but it's up to you

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