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F E Smith
F E Smith, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  30 years in General Practice
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How much does this sevce cost, ok. this is united kingdom

Customer Question

how much does this sevce cost
JA: I'm not sure of the exact price, but there's only a $5 deposit. The rest of the price information will be on the page I send you to.
Customer: ok.
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: this is united kingdom England
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: havnt explained the problem yet?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Do you have a particular legal problem which you need assistance with? If so may we have the detail and the question please?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
uk Law EnglandBuilding contract.
Part of the work that I estimated for (not quoted) included installation of a log burner flue pipe.
It was discussed that the estimated cost was for the flue components to be purchased on-line and installed by me and then approved by the building inspector. My cost for me to do this was £700 as per the estimate - "install new flue". no cost figure was given to the customer as it was within the cost of the whole job which included building works for an extension.We had agreed a time frame to complete this flue work and I was on track to start.
The job was dragging on because of site problems with the flue location and the customer engaged a separate subcontractor of their own who provided a quote for £2300 to install the flue pipework. Because I did not agree this quote the customer said via Text msg I was in breach of contract and they were getting the work done by others. They then engaged other contractors to finish all the work including the flue pipe. The customer is now starting legal proceedings to reclaim money already paid to me that was for the completion of the works. I was not paid the £2300 quoted by the customers subcontractor.My view is that the customer cannot say I am in breach and terminate the contract because didn't agree to her contractors quote.
Because my contract was then terminated I could not finish the work that I had already been paid for, and the customer had engaged their own contractors. Therefore I am not liable to repay any money.Since receiving notice of their intention to sue me I have offered to negotiate and requested a meeting but so far they have refused.What is my legal position please.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello? any one there?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

You have duplicated the thread. I have already asked for more information from you. Can you have a look at the original thread please? Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi - the duplicated thread had a problem with the payment process. My bank took the site activity to be suspicious and stopped the payment. So as I have paid £38 so far please continue on this thread.
Thank you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Also the link you just gave me doesn't work= I get the message
"We are sorry. You cannot access that page."
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

OK, thanks

This is what I asked.

If you quoted £700, why is the other contractors quote disproportionately high?Why did they tell you not to install the flue and pipework and why did they get other contractors to do it?Did they give you any kind of deadline by which this work must be done?Why would you need to agree a quote from another contractor?How much money do you have which they are trying to reclaim and what was the work that you were supposed to do with that?You say that you have offered to negotiate, what have you offered?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I didn't quote £700
My cost for me to do this was £700 as per the estimate - "install new flue". no cost figure was given to the customer as it was within the cost of the whole job which included building works for an extension.They did not ask me NOT to install the flue. They asked me to accept the other contractors quote. The reason they wanted to use another contractor was because the job was dragging due to site problems with the flue.
We had agreed a time frame to complete this flue work and I was on track to start.
I did not need to agree a quote from another contractor.
I had about £3000 to complete the job.
My initial negotiation was to ask for a site meeting to resolve the matter. They refused and so any further negotiation stopped.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Let me just clarify. As part of the overall job was to be installed. They wanted it installed by someone else and that cost was £2300 whereas if you did it, you cost within the job was £700.

They wanted to use someone else to speed the job up.

If that’s the case, then has the full now been installed by the other contractor?

How much money do you have in hand for work which has not been completed? Is that the £3000?

Are you completing that work?

How much have they issued proceedings for and what is it they are alleging it is in respect of?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
thank you
Yes that is the case and the flue has been installed by the other contractor.
I have approx £3000 in hand that was to have used to complete the job.
I cannot complete the job because the customer has already completed the job using their own contractors.They are issuing proceedings for reimbursement for over £10,000, this includes work n the contract not competed by me and also the £2300 quoted for the flue. They say that the work I have done is not to standard and it needs to be re done. But this is not the issue for me as I can show that all work has been done to the correct standard and has been passed by the building inspector.My issue is
The customer broke the contract with me and said I was in breach because
I did not accept the flue contractor's quote of £2300.I believe I am not n breach because they in fact broke the contract by employing other contractors for the flue and to finish the job.I should be returned to the position of profit that I would have been in had the contract been completed properly.
I believe therefore that I owe nothing.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
5 hours to answer a question?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

We have to go off from time to time because we have clients and travelling and therefore there is an inevitable delay sometimes. I apologise for that delay.

There are obviously issues here with regard to the allegations of substandard work and whether their claim succeeds will come down to their evidence. I can say that this is not an uncommon tactic that people use to try to get out of paying part of the bill.

If the work has been passed by the building inspector, I cannot see how they can claim the proof that the work is substandard.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, if no timescale is specified for completing the work then that timescale must be reasonable. Hence, it depends on what the delay was. Less time is said to be the essence of the contract, even if you gave a projected completion time date they would have to allow you a reasonable period after that for matters beyond your control.

I agree with you I’m glad to say that they should have given you a reasonable amount of time to finish flue and not only that, considering you had only allowed £700 within your pricing, and who could presumably do it for that, then £2300 is obviously reasonable. Presumably they thought they were going to simply recover it from you and decided to pay whatever was asked for.

If they are issuing legal proceedings against you are going to need to acknowledge them within 14 days and then file a defence within the 14 days and if you believe that you are more money than you currently hold, counterclaim for the extra.

If they are claiming more than £10,000 from you, this will not be Small Claims Court and the loser will generally pay the witness costs. I’m not very accurate estimate of those costs would normally be the amount of the claim on top if solicitors are used but only a tiny amount if solicitors are not used. A litigant in person can claim costs at the court rate of £18 per hour but solicitors will be charging about £200 per hour.

The best thing you can do is to continue to offer to mediate because then, if this gets to court, you have shown the court that you have acted more than reasonably.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you
But you havnt answered the root question.
Have I breached the contract by not accepting their subcontractors quote.? If I havnt then they broke the contract by employing their own subcontractors..
Please read my issues again. Thank you
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

I’m sorry. Not in my opinion you haven’t.

That job was one which you had quoted for and they had actually agreed for you to do and hence, to my mind, they are liable for the cost of the £2300 less the £700 you had allowed for the job but plus your loss of profit on doing that job.

Look at it in isolation and in exaggeration: you turn up to do a single job having cancelled jobs, only to find out that you’ve travelled there and then either change their mind got someone else to do it at a greater cost and now they want the difference between the money which not been paid and the extra cost which they had paid. To my mind it’s no different.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you.
And to take it to the next stage, if I havnt breached the contract then I'm not at fault and therefore not liable.
On that basis their claim should fail.
I'm not worried about the claims deriding my work because no faults were found by the building inspector.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Based upon what you have told me, their claim should fail.

They didn’t give you a reasonable time to do this job even though you were admittedly a short while late.

They got a quote which was grossly in excess of how much you had allowed for the job.

Even if you are able to do the job and start immediately, which you say you were, they refused and simply got these other people in any way.

They may be entitled to a tiny part of the money in my opinion but not all of it. However that would only be the money you saved by not having to do the job.

Nothing is guaranteed in court and this could go either way depending on what they say in court on the day and the judge believes in preference to the other.

However based upon what you have told me, I believe that you have the better chance of success.

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