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Small claims defence
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BlueAnura · 23/06/2022 14:03

We have received a money claim from bathroom fitters who did work for us earlier in the year. There were a number of issues with the work - they did not fit to our specification and when we raised this during the fitting they refused to rectify it saying it would be an extra 2 days work and completed the bathroom. We requested a stainless steel radiator but they fitted a chrome one without checking that this was acceptable. Some of the woodwork was damaged. The initial verbal quote increased by £400 which was not detailed to us. We asked for an invoice and to pay by bank transfer. The invoice then included VAT. I later found they are not VAT registered.
We repeatedly tried to negotiate with them and evenually part paid (just over half).
We have now received a money claim for the remainder (including the 'vat'). We feel taking off the 'vat', 2 days work and the cost of the radiator would be a reasonable deducation and would be willing to pay the remainder (only a few 100s, not the 1000s they are claiming from us). However, to offer pay part and defend the rest appears to involve completing form N9A which includes lots of personal financial information which is then passed to the claimant. I'm uncomfortable sharing financial information with people who have already tried to defraud by adding vat when they shouldn't.
The alternative seems to be to defend the whole claim and wait for it to get to court.
Can anyone advise?

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Vapinginbed · 28/06/2022 22:28

If they take you to court tj I’ll have to provide the information required. It is against the law for with party to disclose any intimation invoked through court to any other party.

if you get take to court, and court do have powers to ensure you comply, and you lose you might have to our their costs. Speak to a solicitor and weigh it up.

also a solicitor maybe able to settle this without going to court by comjng to an arrangement with the claimant.

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Eileen101 · 28/06/2022 22:38

You could always obtain evidence of the poor work. What does the quote specify in terms of stainless/chrome?
What do the terms and condition say?
Photographs of the damaged woodwork?
Ask for proof of vat registration (free vat checker online if you need it).

As pp said, if you do lose, you are liable for the claimant's costs. However small claims are subject to fixed costs - so you won't have mounds of solicitors fees to pay. It'd be court fees, and a small amount allowed towards legal costs (it's a relatively small amount).

What is the value of the claim? You can then work out whether it would be worth your while defending it.

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BlueAnura · 29/06/2022 14:42

Thanks for the responses.
There was no written quote from the fitters - they were subcontacted from the shop where the fittings were purchased (who seem to have washed their hands of it all). The shop promised the work would be done in a certain way, which we verbally confirmed wanting during the quote meeting with the fitters. They were reminded before starting the work. It didn't happen and they refused to rectify. We have photos of the work/ poor finish. Unfortunately the VAT checker can't be used without a VAT number which they haven't got. We've quoted the consumer rights act to them but they don't accept that we're not happy and they think they did a great job. We've tried and tried to negotiate but they basically said not to contact them again!

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