Going down the small claims court/legal route...(17 Posts)
We had some work done on our house about 3.5 years ago. Very quickly we realised it was a very shoddy job and since then we have been in a cycle of months spent getting him to come out and do patch repairs, for things to go wrong again immediately and we spend many more months chasing him etc etc.
This has caused me so much stress and I had finally made peace with it in my head. I thought! But now it is in such a bad way again. We have had someone else out who has done some other work brilliantly for us (sadly didn't know about him at the time) to give his opinion and he says the whole thing has been done so badly that it needs to be ripped out and redone from scratch. It cost £12k originally and will cost about the same to put right.
I go around and round in circles trying to decide what the best way to proceed is.
What I am wondering is the stress of going down the small claims route actually worth it? I know it could go on for months and months and I'm so fed up of this topic but at the same time feel so cross that he can just get away with it.
I keep hearing about people who go down the small claims route, win but then the builder folds their company and they can't get the funds.
Or would the builder be entitled to pay the money at a ridiculous rate like £5 a month or is there is a timescale within which they are supposed to pay it?
Originally he agreed to properly re-do part of the job but then back tracked on that. So I know that he knows it's a bad job.
I think my choices are
1. Small claims route
2. Solicitors letter to see if it will scare him into action.
3. Trying to get him to re-do part of the job to a higher standard than just a patch repair so we get a few more years use and then budget for having to get someone else to do it.
4. Leave as many bad reviews as I can - haven't done this yet as have been trying to keep things civil with constantly needing to call him back out.
5. Do nothing. Accept it. Try to let it go, move on and hope the karma comes back to bite him. But then we would have to pay someone else to do the work and it comes back to being annoyed he has got away with it with no repercussions.
Technically we could afford to do it but the money we have saved up was supposed to be going towards some other plans we have for the house. I don't see why we should have to sacrifice that to re-do work we have already paid for.
Incidentally he was the highest quote we got out of about 5 or 6, and we went with him as he seemed so nice and professional and we felt it was worth getting the job done properly!! The irony.
Do you by any chance have legal expenses insurance as part of your home or car insurance? Lots of people do and don't even realise it and it can help with situations like this.
You have my sympathies - building work is such a minefield
Thanks, I've actually just checked my home insurance policy and it says legal cover isn't included.
Would I be able to use car insurance for something like this?! Not sure if I have legal cover with that anyway.
No - that would be legal cover for something relating to your car.
Some car insurance has legal expenses insurance that is offered as an add on and which covers things wider than just your car. Worth checking just on the offchance. My friend used hers for a consumer dispute for a sofa
I've checked my car insurance and legal cover is just relating to motoring incidences.
Has anyone actually had success with small claims and received the money?! Is it usually a case of monthly instalments and if so is there a minimum amount/time frame in which they are supposed to pay the full amount?
Also how much of the cost would you go for if you're having to pay to have work re-done by someone else as opposed to chasing an exact amount of money such an outstanding payment?
Firstly is the tradesman a limited company or a sole trader? And more importantly are they solvent?
In principle you are looking to claim the whole £12k..... so,
If a limited company yes they can wind up, however you can stop that as a creditor if needs be, i.e. Inform companies house there is ongoing legal action and fill in the form to stop the company winding up, you can also get a charge against the company etc. You can issue a statutory demand against the company and then ccj or winding up petition from there
If the person is a sole trader, issue a statutory demand which gives them 21 days to pay you and then either go via ccj route or you can apply to make the trader bankrupt and you will be able to recover from the bankruptcy if the traadesman has assets of course
The issue really becomes moot if the tradesman has insurance, get details of this and contact his insurers, explain the situation and that the work is so poor another tradesman has said it's a £12k replacement job and you have tried to get the original chap to repair etc but no joy so you want to make a direct claim - his insurers will have to deal with you then
Hi dadsussex....wow great advice, thanks. How do I know if it is a ltd company or not? I guess he is a sole trader as just works by himself and don't think it has the word Ltd on his company.
How would I know if he has insurance? Would I need to ask him? Is it likely the insurer would just cover it? Would they likely send an inspector of some sorts out? That would be fine as everyone who sees it can clearly see what a shoddy job it is.
Thanks so much.
Ps re how solvent they are....I know he is still doing lots of work locally and from a little bit I know about him I think personally he is financial secure but I thought small claims would be against his company rather than him personally so I don't know how I would know the company's financial position.
You can check companieshouse just google it for free, checking if he is a director or if his company is limited
Insurance yes via him or potentially maybe get your house insurance involved and they will contact him and or his insurers
County court action goes against whomever your contract was with, so either him personally or if a ltd company against that. You'd have to sue the correct entity
Just checked companies house and can't see anything so think probably sole trader.
Just thinking - the work was actually carried out in conjunction with another tradesman. The quote was from tradesman A but he then carried it out with Tradesman B too so I paid them each directly splitting the payment 50:50.
Would I need to go after each of them for half?
Who was named on the contract ? If it says 50/50 then yes both of them I believe.
Opps sent too soon.
If tradesman A quoted and was contracted then he subcontracted to tradesman B then take tradesman A to small claims and up to him to reclaim from tradesman B.
Thanks Dilli, there was no signed contract just a quote form tradesman A. So as far as I was concerned I was employing tradesman A to do the work. They used to work together but then set up separate companies but work together again for bigger jobs. So I didn't know B was going to be doing the work too until he turned up on day 1. So as they were splitting the job I just paid them each directly in equal installments.
A is the person I always contact but then they do turn up together to do the patch repairs. So it's a bit ambiguous!!
Maybe you need to give them the opportunity to remedy it first? Maybe look online at the small claims court and necessary process.
This talks you through the steps to take before going to court and has a link to court procedudures if the steps get you nowhere. The limit for small claims is £10,000 so if you are claiming £12,000 it'll most likely be allocated to a different track.
They have definitely had a chance to remedy the situation Quickie! THis has been going on for 3.5 years. They originally agreed (verbally) to re-do the work but then backtracked and ever since it's involved months of chasing them out, eventually they come but do a minor patch repair, we carry on chasing for months and so on. I'm so sick of it now. We paid all that money for something which has been a total mess since the day it was done. We have had numerous people look at it and agreed it's not been done correctly, needs to be totally ripped out and re-done firm scratch, including industry inspectors (going to see if I can track him down to do a statement or something).
I think I'm going to look into the insurance and dispute routes first as small claims sounds like a lot of stress and might come to nothing.
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