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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience:  30 years experience in business law and related topics such as employment law
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We engaged and contracted a builder to build an extension.

Customer Question

We engaged and contracted a builder to build an extension for us. We paid him a deposit for materials and he disappeared for 3 months. After we traced him he agreed to work off the amount taken as a deposit. Effectively I turned the payments around and purchased the materials and he agreed to work for no additional payment. He did 15 days work and then disappeared again. I traced him again and he indicated that he had left the area and was not returning to honour the agreement. I found another builder to take it on and agreed to have the building inspector out to baseline the job. He identified 10 major failings that resulted in a large portion of the work done having to be redone. This left me out of pocket to the tune of the deposit, cost of taking down shoddy works, redoing the work and the wasted materials. What are my options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 1 year ago.

Hi thanks for your question. The answer in one sense is quite simple. There is a contract and he is in breach of it. In addition, assuming this is consumer arrangement i.e. this is not in the course of your business but at your private home then you have consumer protection rights and have a right to satisfactory quality work. So in theory you can bring a claim against him for the financial loss you have suffered. You can in effect claim for all the costs you incurred in excess of the price the hob should have cost.

That is the theory. Clearly this man is a "cowboy " builder and suing him may be a complete waste of time - you spend more money getting a small claims judgement against him but then be unable to enforce it. It is up to you if you want to try. I have no doubt based upon what you say that you will win. If you claim is for a fixed amount i.e. you can calculate your loss then you could use moneyclaim online see here https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/northampton-business-centre/money-claim-online

you can bring claims up to £100k that way and it is a do it yourself service. The alternative is to get a solicitor. But be warned getting the judgement is only the first stage and recovering the money is more difficult if this guy moves around and has not substantial assets for the court to seize.

You can of course contact your local trading standards office and report him and they follow up on it. That will not get you compensation but may stop him conning other people.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 1 year ago.

Hi is there any thing further I can do to assist?