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Default Overcharging builders advice

I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB registered,
they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for very long, and
hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at work, and so couldn't
keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on either side did. They managed
to turn what should have taken a few days into nearly two weeks.
Eventually, one of them did a ridiculous bodge and tried to pass it off
as okay when asked to put it right. At that point, I asked them to stop
work and not come back. In order to avoid any legal business, I agreed
to pay for what work they'd done. That left a very large job on the
original estimate not done. I was happy to get rid of them - then I got
the invoice

They are basically asking for the majority of the complete figure as
payment. It's over three times what it should be for the work, and not
an inconsiderable amount. They'd not stated what work they were claiming
for, so I wrote back asking them to state the individual work and costs
to justify the amount, saying I'd be happy to pay fair costs. They then
wrote back saying that it was estimated work, and so each job wasn't
recorded, but did list the work. They reiterated their ridiculous sum
was "very fair" despite leaving a very small sum for the work they
didn't do (I've a quote from another builder for the same job they
didn't do, and it's a number of times more).

I'm not sure what to do next. Unfortunately I only got an estimate from
the builders, which was a breakdown of the jobs and a single figure, and
I verbally agreed to the work based on that. If I'd got a proper quote
with the individual jobs itemised I'd not be in this trouble. Lesson
learned.

I'm considering giving my own breakdown of costs, and saying I'd be
willing to pay for that. But I'm pretty sure they'll not accept since
they seem determined to rip me off. Should I just wait to be taken to
court for non-payment and see what happens?

Thanks,
-Duncan
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"Duncan" wrote in message
k...
I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB registered,
they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for very long, and
hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at work, and so couldn't
keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on either side did. They managed to
turn what should have taken a few days into nearly two weeks. Eventually,
one of them did a ridiculous bodge and tried to pass it off as okay when
asked to put it right. At that point, I asked them to stop work and not
come back. In order to avoid any legal business, I agreed to pay for what
work they'd done. That left a very large job on the original estimate not
done. I was happy to get rid of them - then I got the invoice

They are basically asking for the majority of the complete figure as
payment. It's over three times what it should be for the work, and not an
inconsiderable amount. They'd not stated what work they were claiming for,
so I wrote back asking them to state the individual work and costs to
justify the amount, saying I'd be happy to pay fair costs. They then wrote
back saying that it was estimated work, and so each job wasn't recorded,
but did list the work. They reiterated their ridiculous sum was "very
fair" despite leaving a very small sum for the work they didn't do (I've a
quote from another builder for the same job they didn't do, and it's a
number of times more).

I'm not sure what to do next. Unfortunately I only got an estimate from
the builders, which was a breakdown of the jobs and a single figure, and I
verbally agreed to the work based on that. If I'd got a proper quote with
the individual jobs itemised I'd not be in this trouble. Lesson learned.

I'm considering giving my own breakdown of costs, and saying I'd be
willing to pay for that. But I'm pretty sure they'll not accept since they
seem determined to rip me off. Should I just wait to be taken to court for
non-payment and see what happens?

Thanks,
-Duncan


My sympathies - go and talk to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. When I had a
dispute about residential fees for respite care (I booked two weeks but it
was so awful I took mother out after 2 days). Received invoice for the full
two weeks - solicitor suggested making a 'without prejudice' payment for 4
days, which I did and never heard from them again. As I understand it you
should make a 'reasonable payment' and then wait for them to sue. If you
haven't paid anything they will have a much stronger case - but I say again
seek advice, a 100(?) for a solicitor may be good value.

Peter


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Default Overcharging builders advice

On 2006-10-01 19:25:06 +0100, Duncan said:

I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB registered,
they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for very long, and
hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at work, and so couldn't
keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on either side did. They managed
to turn what should have taken a few days into nearly two weeks.
Eventually, one of them did a ridiculous bodge and tried to pass it off
as okay when asked to put it right. At that point, I asked them to stop
work and not come back. In order to avoid any legal business, I agreed
to pay for what work they'd done. That left a very large job on the
original estimate not done. I was happy to get rid of them - then I got
the invoice

They are basically asking for the majority of the complete figure as
payment. It's over three times what it should be for the work, and not
an inconsiderable amount. They'd not stated what work they were
claiming for, so I wrote back asking them to state the individual work
and costs to justify the amount, saying I'd be happy to pay fair costs.
They then wrote back saying that it was estimated work, and so each job
wasn't recorded, but did list the work. They reiterated their
ridiculous sum was "very fair" despite leaving a very small sum for the
work they didn't do (I've a quote from another builder for the same job
they didn't do, and it's a number of times more).

I'm not sure what to do next. Unfortunately I only got an estimate from
the builders, which was a breakdown of the jobs and a single figure,
and I verbally agreed to the work based on that. If I'd got a proper
quote with the individual jobs itemised I'd not be in this trouble.
Lesson learned.

I'm considering giving my own breakdown of costs, and saying I'd be
willing to pay for that. But I'm pretty sure they'll not accept since
they seem determined to rip me off. Should I just wait to be taken to
court for non-payment and see what happens?

Thanks,
-Duncan


Your next move should be to obtain two quotes for the remainder of the
work including remedying anything the first didn't do.

You could have asked for quotes for the complete job, but it's probably
too late for that and in any case another builder would probably figure
out what the issue is.

Then your financial position becomes the total that the original
builder first quoted less the quote for remedies and completion from
the other.

If you haven't paid them the net of that, then you should.

After doing so, is the total sum that the first builder believes he is
owed less than 5000?

If so, then he would pursue you through the small claims procedure,
and definitely I would let him attempt that.

Make sure that any communications are made in writing and send them by
Special Delivery (4 at the post office). This gives traceability if
you need it.

Finally, take copious photographs of any bodges, incomplete work and
anything not completed to perfection.


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Default Overcharging builders advice

You're right. Investing some cash in legal advice would be a good idea.
I'll look into "without prejudice" payments.

Thanks,
-Duncan

Peter Andrews wrote:
My sympathies - go and talk to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. When I had a
dispute about residential fees for respite care (I booked two weeks but it
was so awful I took mother out after 2 days). Received invoice for the full
two weeks - solicitor suggested making a 'without prejudice' payment for 4
days, which I did and never heard from them again. As I understand it you
should make a 'reasonable payment' and then wait for them to sue. If you
haven't paid anything they will have a much stronger case - but I say again
seek advice, a 100(?) for a solicitor may be good value.

Peter


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Default Overcharging builders advice

Andy Hall wrote:

On 2006-10-01 19:25:06 +0100, Duncan said:

I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB
registered, they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for
very long, and hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at
work, and so couldn't keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on
either side did. They managed to turn what should have taken a few
days into nearly two weeks. Eventually, one of them did a
ridiculous bodge and tried to pass it off as okay when asked to
put it right. At that point, I asked them to stop work and not
come back. In order to avoid any legal business, I agreed to pay
for what work they'd done. That left a very large job on the
original estimate not done. I was happy to get rid of them - then I
got the invoice

They are basically asking for the majority of the complete figure
as payment. It's over three times what it should be for the work,
and not an inconsiderable amount. They'd not stated what work they
were claiming for, so I wrote back asking them to state the
individual work and costs to justify the amount, saying I'd be
happy to pay fair costs. They then wrote back saying that it was
estimated work, and so each job wasn't recorded, but did list the
work. They reiterated their ridiculous sum was "very fair" despite
leaving a very small sum for the work they didn't do (I've a quote
from another builder for the same job they didn't do, and it's a
number of times more).

I'm not sure what to do next. Unfortunately I only got an estimate
from the builders, which was a breakdown of the jobs and a single
figure, and I verbally agreed to the work based on that. If I'd
got a proper quote with the individual jobs itemised I'd not be in
this trouble. Lesson learned.

I'm considering giving my own breakdown of costs, and saying I'd be
willing to pay for that. But I'm pretty sure they'll not accept
since they seem determined to rip me off. Should I just wait to be
taken to court for non-payment and see what happens?

Thanks,
-Duncan


Your next move should be to obtain two quotes for the remainder of
the work including remedying anything the first didn't do.

You could have asked for quotes for the complete job, but it's
probably too late for that and in any case another builder would
probably figure out what the issue is.

Then your financial position becomes the total that the original
builder first quoted less the quote for remedies and completion from
the other.

If you haven't paid them the net of that, then you should.

After doing so, is the total sum that the first builder believes he
is owed less than 5000?

If so, then he would pursue you through the small claims procedure,
and definitely I would let him attempt that.

Make sure that any communications are made in writing and send them
by Special Delivery (4 at the post office). This gives
traceability if you need it.

Finally, take copious photographs of any bodges, incomplete work and
anything not completed to perfection.




When obtaining the other quotes make sure that you use builders of a
similar size if possible to get reasonable comparisons


no point going to court with a quote from a one man band whos not vat
registered when the company you originally employed may have a large
workforce and will be registered for vat two totally different animals
with two totally different cost structures .



It may help to get a report from a surveyor and an estimation as to the
likeley costs you will pay , a reasonable guide to the cost for works
is produced by hutchins in the form of price schedules if you dont want
to go the surveyour route


As a rough guide the average charge out per day for a self employed
tradesman will be around 120 to 160 per day plus vat , small to
meduim sized companies add around 20% to the above costs , london add
50% minimum

Average working week will be 38 hours , this may well include
travelling time from the yard and collection of materials

Would your neigbours be prepared to go to court and state that the
builders were sitting around all day not working and are the neigbours
sufficiently qualified within the building field to make those
judgements





--



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Default Overcharging builders advice

On 2006-10-01 21:10:33 +0100, "Steve Robinson"
said:

Would your neigbours be prepared to go to court and state that the
builders were sitting around all day not working and are the neigbours
sufficiently qualified within the building field to make those
judgements


That would not matter unless the builders were being paid on a time and
materials basis.

If it's a price for the job, then time is irrelevant within reason.

This is not the most important aspect of the claim.


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"Duncan" wrote in message
k...
I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB registered,
they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for very long, and
hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at work, and so couldn't
keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on either side did. They managed to
turn what should have taken a few days into nearly two weeks. Eventually,
one of them did a ridiculous bodge and tried to pass it off as okay when
asked to put it right. At that point, I asked them to stop work and not
come back. In order to avoid any legal business, I agreed to pay for what
work they'd done. That left a very large job on the original estimate not
done. I was happy to get rid of them - then I got the invoice

They are basically asking for the majority of the complete figure as
payment. It's over three times what it should be for the work, and not an
inconsiderable amount. They'd not stated what work they were claiming for,
so I wrote back asking them to state the individual work and costs to
justify the amount, saying I'd be happy to pay fair costs. They then wrote
back saying that it was estimated work, and so each job wasn't recorded,
but did list the work. They reiterated their ridiculous sum was "very
fair" despite leaving a very small sum for the work they didn't do (I've a
quote from another builder for the same job they didn't do, and it's a
number of times more).

I'm not sure what to do next. Unfortunately I only got an estimate from
the builders, which was a breakdown of the jobs and a single figure, and I
verbally agreed to the work based on that. If I'd got a proper quote with
the individual jobs itemised I'd not be in this trouble. Lesson learned.

I'm considering giving my own breakdown of costs, and saying I'd be
willing to pay for that. But I'm pretty sure they'll not accept since they
seem determined to rip me off. Should I just wait to be taken to court for
non-payment and see what happens?

Thanks,
-Duncan


you do what i done in similar circumstances, get a quallified surveyer in
but firstly tell them you are not paying a penny until you have seen his
report and taken his advice, you may find as i did he will tell you not to
pay due to the poor and unsatisfactory workmanship and / or materials if
that happens give them a photocopy of his report and give them 28 days to
put the work right (to your surveyors satisfaction "not yours") you could
also take legal advice as to the amount you should pay assuming that they
return and put things right which the possibly will not do this may cost you
2 or 3 humdred pounds or so but consider what it is going to cost you the
other way including paying some other builder to rectify the work so far and
paying them what they ask also, you still need to get the remainder of the
job completed, if they offer any veiled threats inform the police and after
a quiet word they will fade away


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Actually, the work remaining was outside and needed doing before the
weather got bad. I found another builder to do the work, but he was a
small 2 man outfit, and did the work pretty cheaply. Also, the work
needed was changed after the original estimate, so the work he did
didn't have matched the original quote. But I do have an old quote from
a few years ago for exactly the work as stated and by a comparable
building company. Another quote would have been handy, but the works
done now, so I guess it's too late...

There's some internal work done by the original builders that's not
great, but it's not something that'll be too hard to fix. I'm not too
bothered about extra cost there.

It's possible that the neighbours would state in court the time wasting
of the builders, and they're a retired electrician on one side and an
engineer on the other. But I don't think that will effect things unless
the builders try to justify their costs based on time spent.

Thanks,
-Duncan

Steve Robinson wrote:
When obtaining the other quotes make sure that you use builders of a
similar size if possible to get reasonable comparisons


no point going to court with a quote from a one man band whos not vat
registered when the company you originally employed may have a large
workforce and will be registered for vat two totally different animals
with two totally different cost structures .



It may help to get a report from a surveyor and an estimation as to the
likeley costs you will pay , a reasonable guide to the cost for works
is produced by hutchins in the form of price schedules if you dont want
to go the surveyour route


As a rough guide the average charge out per day for a self employed
tradesman will be around 120 to 160 per day plus vat , small to
meduim sized companies add around 20% to the above costs , london add
50% minimum

Average working week will be 38 hours , this may well include
travelling time from the yard and collection of materials

Would your neigbours be prepared to go to court and state that the
builders were sitting around all day not working and are the neigbours
sufficiently qualified within the building field to make those
judgements





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The amount the builders are asking for is less than the 5000 small
claims limit, so I'd expect they'd pursue that route. Unless they decide
to try and frighten me into paying...

Thankfully, I did take a plenty of pictures of everything before and
after the new builders started work.

Thanks,
-Duncan

Andy Hall wrote:
Your next move should be to obtain two quotes for the remainder of the
work including remedying anything the first didn't do.

You could have asked for quotes for the complete job, but it's probably
too late for that and in any case another builder would probably figure
out what the issue is.

Then your financial position becomes the total that the original builder
first quoted less the quote for remedies and completion from the other.

If you haven't paid them the net of that, then you should.

After doing so, is the total sum that the first builder believes he is
owed less than 5000?

If so, then he would pursue you through the small claims procedure, and
definitely I would let him attempt that.

Make sure that any communications are made in writing and send them by
Special Delivery (4 at the post office). This gives traceability if
you need it.

Finally, take copious photographs of any bodges, incomplete work and
anything not completed to perfection.


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Default Overcharging builders advice

On 2006-10-01 22:13:41 +0100, Duncan said:

Actually, the work remaining was outside and needed doing before the
weather got bad. I found another builder to do the work, but he was a
small 2 man outfit, and did the work pretty cheaply. Also, the work
needed was changed after the original estimate, so the work he did
didn't have matched the original quote. But I do have an old quote from
a few years ago for exactly the work as stated and by a comparable
building company. Another quote would have been handy, but the works
done now, so I guess it's too late...


Changing the spec. after the original quote was agreed does weaken your
position because it allows the builder to claim a higher price than the
original.

Was your old quote itemised? That would at least allow you to compare
the work by proportion. Otherwise, the current builder can argue that
the old quote isn't relevant because it isn't recent.




There's some internal work done by the original builders that's not
great, but it's not something that'll be too hard to fix. I'm not too
bothered about extra cost there.

It's possible that the neighbours would state in court the time wasting
of the builders, and they're a retired electrician on one side and an
engineer on the other. But I don't think that will effect things unless
the builders try to justify their costs based on time spent.



I think that's true, but the builder will try to argue that the extra
time was because of the work you added after the original quote.

There are lots of variables here. I would discuss with a solicitor.....






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Duncan wrote:


It's possible that the neighbours would state in court the time
wasting of the builders, and they're a retired electrician on one
side and an engineer on the other. But I don't think that will effect
things unless the builders try to justify their costs based on time
spent.


what difference does it make if they were hanging around drinking tea all
day instead of working? - they weren't charging you by the day.


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Duncan wrote:
I recently employed a building firm to do some work on my property.
Unfortunately, despite them being recommended and being FMB
registered, they turned out to be cowboys. They didn't turn up for
very long, and hardly worked when they were there. I was busy at
work, and so couldn't keep an eye on them, but my neighbours on
either side did. They managed to turn what should have taken a few
days into nearly two weeks. Eventually, one of them did a ridiculous
bodge and tried to pass it off as okay when asked to put it right. At
that point, I asked them to stop work and not come back. In order to
avoid any legal business, I agreed to pay for what work they'd done.
That left a very large job on the original estimate not done. I was
happy to get rid of them - then I got the invoice


Surely the most sensible option would be to pay nothing for now and await
the findings from your FMB's Dispute Resolution service

Jon


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On 2006-10-01 22:24:56 +0100, Duncan said:

The amount the builders are asking for is less than the 5000 small
claims limit, so I'd expect they'd pursue that route. Unless they
decide to try and frighten me into paying...


I sincerely hope that they wouldn't be that stupid



Thankfully, I did take a plenty of pictures of everything before and
after the new builders started work.





That was certainly a good move.

Some years ago I had a run in with a conservatory supplier who a)
didn't do what he said he would do and b) did some collateral damage.

I initially withheld about 8k in order to get the attention of their
head office (the incompetence had been mainly due to poor supervision
at local level).

Their opening gambit was to try and nickle and dime me down using an
insurance loss adjuster. I didn't buy that one and stuck to my guns.

At the point that legal action was threatened I sent several *very*
long letters to their solicitors with copies to board members and
directors asking for point by point responses. This took a lot of
their time. I then paid them suffiicient money to make their claim
4995 and of course this did not go unnoticed.

In the end, they dropped the case on agreement to pay a further small
sum and my agreement not to name them.

So the short version is, if you feel that you have a good case and the
evidence to back it up, stick to your guns. In the worst case, it is
unlikely that they would be awarded the entire balance anyway.




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Andy Hall wrote:
Changing the spec. after the original quote was agreed does weaken your
position because it allows the builder to claim a higher price than the
original.


The spec change was for the work not done, so they shouldn't be able to
claim more money. The original quote less a figure for the work not done
should come to the amount they're owed.

Was your old quote itemised? That would at least allow you to compare
the work by proportion. Otherwise, the current builder can argue that
the old quote isn't relevant because it isn't recent.


The old quote was itemised, but doesn't include comparable work for that
which was done. But there is a figure for pricisley the work that wasn't.

I think that's true, but the builder will try to argue that the extra
time was because of the work you added after the original quote.


They've not made any mention of extra time yet, just simply the work
items they did do from the estimate which somehow costs X.

There are lots of variables here. I would discuss with a solicitor.....


I think you're right. I'll try and talk to Citizen's Advice tomorrow and
see if they can suggest a solicitor.

Thanks,
-Duncan
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On 2006-10-01 23:09:33 +0100, Duncan said:

Andy Hall wrote:
Changing the spec. after the original quote was agreed does weaken your
position because it allows the builder to claim a higher price than the
original.


The spec change was for the work not done, so they shouldn't be able to
claim more money. The original quote less a figure for the work not
done should come to the amount they're owed.

Was your old quote itemised? That would at least allow you to compare
the work by proportion. Otherwise, the current builder can argue that
the old quote isn't relevant because it isn't recent.


The old quote was itemised, but doesn't include comparable work for
that which was done. But there is a figure for pricisley the work that
wasn't.

I think that's true, but the builder will try to argue that the extra
time was because of the work you added after the original quote.


They've not made any mention of extra time yet, just simply the work
items they did do from the estimate which somehow costs X.

There are lots of variables here. I would discuss with a solicitor.....


I think you're right. I'll try and talk to Citizen's Advice tomorrow
and see if they can suggest a solicitor.

Thanks,
-Duncan


These people could be worth a phone call as well.

http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/






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I'm not sure. I think if I was withholding money because of poor
workmanship, that would make sense. But I don't know if they'd have much
say in misappropriate work costs? I guess it's worth looking into.

Thanks,
-Duncan

Jonathan Pearson wrote:
Surely the most sensible option would be to pay nothing for now and await
the findings from your FMB's Dispute Resolution service

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Duncan wrote:
I'm not sure. I think if I was withholding money because of poor
workmanship, that would make sense. But I don't know if they'd have
much say in misappropriate work costs? I guess it's worth looking
into.
Thanks,


Might be worth a try though - did the builder follow the procedures
described in

http://www.findabuilder.co.uk/why/practice.asp

If not - it may help your case!

Jon


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Jonathan Pearson wrote:
Duncan wrote:
I'm not sure. I think if I was withholding money because of poor
workmanship, that would make sense. But I don't know if they'd have
much say in misappropriate work costs? I guess it's worth looking
into.
Thanks,


Might be worth a try though - did the builder follow the procedures
described in

http://www.findabuilder.co.uk/why/practice.asp

If not - it may help your case!


Thanks. That description bears little resemblance to how these builders
operated!

-Duncan
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Duncan wrote:
Jonathan Pearson wrote:
Duncan wrote:
I'm not sure. I think if I was withholding money because of poor
workmanship, that would make sense. But I don't know if they'd have
much say in misappropriate work costs? I guess it's worth looking
into.
Thanks,


Might be worth a try though - did the builder follow the procedures
described in

http://www.findabuilder.co.uk/why/practice.asp

If not - it may help your case!


Thanks. That description bears little resemblance to how these builders
operated!

-Duncan


If you've paid them for what they did, put the bill in the bin and
forget about it.
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Default Overcharging builders advice

Peter Andrews wrote:
My sympathies - go and talk to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. When I had a
dispute about residential fees for respite care (I booked two weeks but it
was so awful I took mother out after 2 days). Received invoice for the full
two weeks - solicitor suggested making a 'without prejudice' payment for 4
days, which I did and never heard from them again. As I understand it you
should make a 'reasonable payment' and then wait for them to sue. If you
haven't paid anything they will have a much stronger case - but I say again
seek advice, a 100(?) for a solicitor may be good value.

Peter


I spoke to a solicitor via my building insurance's legal help line.
Their suggestion was to send a "without prejudice" payment with the
necessary legal incantation to mean that their cashing the closes the
matter. Then see if they take the money or sue. In which case I'd have
to counter sue. I guess that's what I'll do...

Thanks,
-Duncan


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Default Overcharging builders advice

Duncan wrote:
Peter Andrews wrote:
My sympathies - go and talk to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. When I
had a dispute about residential fees for respite care (I booked two
weeks but it was so awful I took mother out after 2 days). Received
invoice for the full two weeks - solicitor suggested making a 'without
prejudice' payment for 4 days, which I did and never heard from them
again. As I understand it you should make a 'reasonable payment' and
then wait for them to sue. If you haven't paid anything they will
have a much stronger case - but I say again seek advice, a 100(?) for
a solicitor may be good value.

Peter


I spoke to a solicitor via my building insurance's legal help line.
Their suggestion was to send a "without prejudice" payment with the
necessary legal incantation to mean that their cashing the closes the
matter. Then see if they take the money or sue. In which case I'd have
to counter sue. I guess that's what I'll do...

If they sue, prepare a counter claim listing ALL the remedial work that
you will have to do to get the job finished to the standard specified.

Make it creative, long, expensive, and get a lawyer to add some boiler
plate round it.

My experience with tradesmen, is that

1/. They never complete the job.

2/. They always leave it with them on balance owing YOU.

3/. They will try it on, but if it looks like trouble, they will vanish
into the darkness whence they came.

Your job is always to retain payments until work is done, or if they
screw you around, to retain as much as you have left, and make sure they
vanish quickly and without traces.



Thanks,
-Duncan

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