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Complete A solicitor client is refusing to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom installed in his property. **Settled**


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My business recently completed the £5.5K installation of a new kitchen and Bathroom at a solicitor client's property.

 

The quoted price was £4K. A start date was agreed but weeks before the project was to start my subcontractor partner suffered a serious hand injury that put him out of action and then I got covid and so was in isolation for 10 days. This obviously set back the start date.

 

During the new bathroom installation the floor under the bath was found to be water damaged and needed replacing. A price was quoted verbally and agreed to repair it.

 

The project was completed as quickly as was possible given the availability of materials and other services. The client arranged for electrical and gas fitting work that obviously affected the installation time scale.

 

During installation the communication with the client was cordial. The client is now refusing to pay claiming that the delays were unacceptable and that he has lost potential rent income.

 

I have sent three invoices, the original, a reminder and a final reminder.

 

Can someone please. what can I do 

Edited by dx100uk
added A few blank lines only..dx
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He's refusing to pay any of it?

You have a written quotation for £4000.
When you began the work it was discovered that additional work was needed and you agreed this verbally (big fail) – £1500. Is this correct?

What was the extent of the delay?

Did you give your client notice of delays and of the Covid problems et cetera?

Have there been any comments about the quality of the completed work?

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The client has not paid for anything.

The water damaged floor under the bath was unforeseen. 

New floor joists and floor boards were needed.

I tried my best to keep the client posted on all issues, delays and costs.

Everything seemed ok when we were working and there were never any complaints raised during the project or after about the quality of the workmanship

 

 

 

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And back to your problem, it seems to me that your client is trying to get something for free.

I can tell you now that there is zero chance of this happening. Even if there is some liability in respect of delay – which is highly unlikely, he will have to pay a reasonable price for the work done.

If he wanted to stand any chance of claiming consequential losses caused by delays then he would have to show that these were reasonably foreseeable.

In can you tell us about the water damaged floor. How did that occur? Presumably it was nothing to do with you.

I understand that your client commissioned additional works which affected the timescale for your own contract. Please can you tell us more about that. Did it cause a delay to you? Did it cause you any inconvenience? Did you suffer any losses?

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Being in the building and construction trade nearly every job is hit by delays and unexpected problems. Covid just added to that norm so yes there we some but we rescheduled things to work around and with them so that our losses were minimal.

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Thank you – but I understand that very well.

Please would you address my questions

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We only found the water damaged floor when we removed the bath panel and the bath. The damage was extensive and we had to replace half of the bathroom floorboards. Before starting I rang the client to inform him that extra cost would be incurred and he replied ok.

It took half a day to remove the damaged boards, one day for the joists to dry and a day to collect and fit the new boards. 

Unfortunately I did not state the estimated price to the client. No loss because I was expecting to be paid but in reality it cost me £400  - 450.

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Sorry, but I don't quite understand.

You informed the client that there would be an extra cost – but the amount wasn't agreed.

You didn't state the estimated price – what exactly do you mean by "no loss because I was expecting to be paid but in reality cost me £400 to £450"?

Also, you haven't addressed the question that I put about the delays caused by his extra works. How did this impact you?

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The bathroom floor delay and costs amounted to £450 and they were included in my final and total invoice for £5.5k for the project.

Given that they were extra and not included in the quote, they are losses to me.

Other extra work was also done on the same basis to which the client gave the ok. 

In total the extra work took 2.5 extra days at £300 labour per day plus materials

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I wouldn't say they were losses at all.

The bathroom for issue was the responsibility of the owner – your client.

Please monitor this thread for a fuller reply later

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I agree the water damaged floor was the responsibly of the client to put right but given that we were already in attendance and wanted to complete the job as quickly as possible, I called him in good faith to offer to do the work and he said ok, proceed.

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That's fine. It's not a problem. There is an implied promise to pay a reasonable price.

Section 15 of the supply of goods and services act 1982

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Have you got anything in writing from this guy or is it simply that he has refused to verbally to pay you?

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I have received 3 emails from him that are written in legal jargon that to an outsider gives the impression that the project was a disaster and that our relationship had broken down.

In truth our working relationship was good and my team worked very hard to complete the project as quick as possible. Everything seemed ok when we left. 

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If the emails aren't too long please can you post them up here.

Why did he write three of them – was there an exchange between you?

Do you have any photographs or other evidence of the quality of the work?

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I emailed my response to his first email but that only fuelled a second email claiming that I hadn't answered the specific legal points he had asked. The third email from him was much the same, lots of legal statement about this n that breach of contract with the added counter-claim for loss of rental income and inconvenience costs while the work was under way. 

This is why I am asking for help. I think I'll just refer the matter to the small claims court unless you offer a gem of advice. Thanks

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If you want to go it alone and then do.

However, if you want the gem of advice then you will have to answer my questions so I have a full picture and know how to deal with it.

If you are paying £300 an hour for this you would have to answer the same questions. Here you are getting it for free.

You have come to a forum – and it's a bit tortuous, I agree – but there is a point to everything we do and every question I am asking.

It sounds to me as if you are dealing with a lawyer who is a bit of a bully and thinks that he can dominate you.

Of course the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.

 

A layperson who tries to represent themselves against this kind of thing has an even bigger fool for a client.

I suggest that you be patient and answer my questions


 

I'd like to see the email exchange please.

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Incidentally, I fully expect that your client's gameplan here is to dominate you and to fatigue you and eventually come away with a negotiated price because you will then be happy to have something for your work and to be able to get on with your life.

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We've been chatting all day. Thanks for being there. 

It's late so I'll give your last comments some thought and pick it up again with you on Friday if that's ok with you.

Tomorrow is another full work day with no time for correspondence. Sorry. 

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I'm sorry that you think this is chatting.

Also you should remember that we have our work lives and family lives and all kinds of commitments that you have as well in addition to giving you free advice to help you get out of a mess.

Have a word with your friend who recommended us and tell that person how we have spent the day wasting your time.

If you want to come back then we are here for you

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I think bankfodder is right about this solicitor  a bully and thinks hes better than everyone else .and thinks if he chucks all this leagel dross at you   you will drop it  .which I bet it's not the 1st time this solicitor has done this to some other tradesman. 

Check the questions m8  answer them and let bankfooder help get your money off this  noob .  ...  

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@Eckington  just for my benefit, is your client refusing to pay you anything at all (plus making a counter-claim against you for loss of rental income) or are they just disputing the additional cost over and above the original quote of £4k?

 

And what sort of delay did your partner's hand injury and your Covid isolation cause?  Are we talking just a couple of weeks or more like a couple of months?  And communication with your client remained cordial throughout these delays and they never gave you any indication of a deadline?  (Plus of course there were additional delays caused by your client arranging electrical and gas work himself).

 

Without seeing the emails* he has sent you explaining why he thinks you are in breach and why he is refusing to pay you, it's very difficult for anyone to advise you the best way of getting the money you say you are owed.  Bankfodder is right that a lawyer who represents themself has a fool for a client, but it still might not be a wise idea for a layman to sue that lawyer without first seeking advice on the merits of their case and how best to present their claim to a court...

 

*Obviously you would need to redact the emails so that you and your client can't be identified.

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I am prepared to upload the emails but I need to redact them first which I will do over the weekend. The client hasn't paid anything.

 

As a gesture of goodwill I sent him an invoice with a 10% reduction on the £4k quote. This was sent " without prejudice" and also wavered the extra cost. All I received in return was a second email. I did not respond.

 

Two days ago I received the 3rd email with no response to the 2nd email, breached of contract and a counter claim for his supposed losses amounting to £8.2k.

 

The hand injury to my subcontractor and my Covid illness caused a 10 day delay to the start date. The job was expected to be completed in 10 days but this was delayed by 2 days due to the water damaged bathroom floor..

 

All throughout the project relations were ok. There were no issues with the quality of the work done, no complaints raised while the work was on-going and we shook hands before leaving on the last day.

 

I accept the comment about fools and I don't think for a minute that I can defend the case against this client. Today I have found out on the web that he is a Director of his own Litigation Service Company. So the challenge is even greater and I genuinely need your help if I want to ever get paid.

 

I apologies for my comment about chatting, it was at the end of another long day. Working hands on current projects and trying to sort this is tough.

 

Please help. Thanks

 

 

Edited by dx100uk
added A few blank lines only..dx
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I suggest that you don't have any more correspondence with this guy.

You can defend yourself against him – but with our help.

Let us see all the exchanges. We need all the information. – Redacted is fine but not the figures, simply the identifiers.

 

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Also, it would probably be helpful if you could send an email to our admin email address with information as to who your client is. This will be received in confidence but it might help us to understand the situation and the correct approach a little more.

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  • BankFodder changed the title to A solicitor client is refusing to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom installed in his property. **Settled**
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