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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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 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 agree. Security and in confidence are key issues here. I am glad you have raised it. I was feeling a bit uneasy about putting those redacted correspondence into the public, albeit registered members, domain.

 

As I am new to the site, where will I find the admin email address or could you just message it me.

 

One last thing.

 

Can you provide me with a link or something so that I know who I am corresponding with and the specialist skills that you have to help me

 

. I hope you appreciate my position.

 

Thanks

Edited by dx100uk
added A few blank lines only..dx
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I will click on the link. There's no

need for me to contact my friend, he speaks very highly of the CAG and is following the correspondence between us.

 I'm just a little nervous that's all. Its all very new to me in many ways and I hope you will forgive any hesitancy on my part. As Delboy would say "he who dares" so let's go for it and win

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Sorry. 

I was a little flustered yesterday downloading the PDF correspondence into word format, redacting them and then resaving them in pdf. 9 files in total. I was stressed and felt pressurized to post the details as soon as possible to help trigger the help I was seeking.

I will create the one pdf this morning using the info you have provided.

 

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Apologies once again.

 

Please find the single redacted file attached. 

 

Due to the tone of the client letter received last week on 30.11.21, my son and I have responded to it today.

 

We would have wished to have your guidance and support before doing so but gathering all the information into the format you required was more time consuming than we had envisaged.

 

Sorry but we felt it was very important that we respond and give our account of the events , problems and issues that applied during the project. We used very basic language and hope that it affect the advice about how to proceed further.

 

I can assure you that there will be no more correspondence without your guidance in future. We hope you understand. 

Binder of all redacted files Businness to Client sent to CAG.pdf

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1 hour ago, BankFodder said:

 

Hi,

To help your understanding I have created a timeline of events for the project from the start point to now.

I hope it shows you how the project was actioned and the dates for the correspondence.

Copy is attached. I await your comments

Solicitor project estimated timeline.pdf

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With each letter that we have received from the client, the tone was getting worse and the claims against my business were potentially more damaging. It made us very uncomfortable and nervous.

The letter from him on 30.11.21 gave us 7 days to respond to his letter of 27.10.21.

My son and I sent a letter of response yesterday (7 days) believing it was better to do so than not and because I was struggling redacting the correspondence. 

 

I now see your problem. When I merged all the correspondence into one file, I should have added a header to each letter to indicate the writer. Sorry.

 

I hope the timeline helps 

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There were no complaints raised about the quality of the workmanship.

Only when we received the letter on 8th Sept did we realise that there were any issue at all.

Then when we had completed the work, we raised the letter with the client and he said Tear it up. We shook hands and parted. Days later we sent the invoice for payment.

 

I have edited my timeline spreadsheet to hopefully make it a little more clearer. Its not quite as you asked but i think its is clearer. Please view and advise. 

 

Solicitor project estimated timeline.pdf

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We have done this or at least most of it.

We added our comments to his points. They are on the letter we sent on 7.12.21.

Our points are written in RED.

 

Please have another look at the last four pages of the redacted file of correspondence that i posted yesterday

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We have received no feedback from our response letter dated 7th Dec.

 

The client has advised on one of his letters that he rented out the property on 29th Nov. Nearly 2.5 months after the project was completed.

 

The property is a house. It was is home but he was moving out because of work commitments so this gave him the opportunity to rent it out. Yes I knew this was his intention.

 

I am unable to comment on smoke alarm, gas or electrical certificates but I will ask the engineers that he used to see if they know.

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In his counter claim against my business, he has stated 109 days at x pounds per day. So he is counting from the day the project was completed.

Yes he is trying to say that I was responsible which is total fantasy. If he had a tenant lined up, they would surely understand that by waiting an extra 2 weeks, they would have a lovely new kitchen and bathroom.

The primary objective is the get paid in full. It would be nice to claim additional costs but I can ill afford the time to work on it. My business is very busy and satisfying my existing orders is priority. This non payment by the client is seriously affecting my cash flow.

Do you think we could claim?

I would like to tarnish his character and reputation. Maybe report him to the governing legal body or his business MD.

7 days from our response letter which is the notice period that we have given him to pay. If no payment is received should we raise a Money Claim?

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I understand. I'll contact the gas engineer and electrician to enquire.

 

Please note that client had more than 2 months after project completion to sort out all of these issues.

The only way to be sure would to be visit the property to check. Is this a wise. We still have a key unless he has changed the locks

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The gas engineer had confirmed that he issued a gas safe certificate. The client would not pay him the £90 fee and so the gas engineer informed the client that the certificate would be cancelled. Only then did he pay.

The client appointed the electrician and I have no contact details.

 

I will research the land registry and advise what I find. Thanks for the tip.

We will return the key to the address with a covering email to the client to advise him. Since moving out he has not provided a forwarding address and contact is by email only.

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Re the key. We'll follow your instructions.

 

Re the land registry. I have paid the fee and can confirm that the property is owned outright by the client. There is no mortgage.

 

Re the gas engineer report. He is a close subcontractor friend. I will contact him and request a written account by email of his bad interaction he had the client about payment

 

Re my enquiry about Money claim. 

We have no previous experience of the Money claim procedure but we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the money we are owed which is the full £4k for the project, the £967 for the extra work done and £360 for 20hrs of a Litigation persons support.

 

I agree we need to step up the pressure on the client to show we are being more professional about this do. I presume we do this by referring the matter to the Money Claim or Small claims system. If so will you be able to guide us through the process and advise when should we start the application. In my view,  anytime after 15th December which is after the 7 days notice we afforded him to pay. 

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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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