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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22981
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I have a twofold problem but same issue. We are doing main

Customer Question

Hi there, I have a twofold problem but for the same issue. We are doing main bathroom renovations (tiled walls, new bath, vanity & toilet). I accepted a Ltd company quote on the basis of the good tiling job that was done at my mother's by the same people. We accepted the quote of $15,000.00 that included all that + the tiling of the walls only in the ensuite, It wasn't until the main bathroom was nearly finished that the project guy said the ensuite was extra on top of that. I said "no it included the ensuite as per your quote" he said "that was a mistake" & now expects another $2,500.00 for ensuite. He tried to tell me he doesn't work like that & I said "a job is a job", you don't decide to charge extra halfway through the job
I had initially asked for floor to ceiling tiling & he said "they don't do that any more" (he denies this). Being green I said "oh ok" only to discover that the tiles stuck out from the scotia at the top & looked tackie. A meeting was called with the project manager & the tiling boss which resulted in them agreeing with one of our kids that to put a bigger scotia up that overlapped the tiles would look better. Not having any other alternative we felt we had to agree. From then I insisted that the tiles be done floor to ceiling in the ensuite & discovered today from the tiler that the tiles were only 590ml instead of the 600ml that we were quoted & paid for (40mls lost) which would have fitted floor to ceiling if they had been the right size (no need for scotia or skirting) looks much nicer. I rang the tile company to let them know I was not happy at all. They asked "what would you like us to do". I said "I didn't know" never having been in that situation. It was actually the assistant manager I spoke with who quoted me in the first place & she said she would speak with her manager, As it is difficult for me to take calls during work hrs I said I would call them back at lunch time tomorrow. Having now had some time to think about it without being mad I think we are entitled to either our money back for the tiles or they can pay to have the job redone properly @ their own cost since we were mislead. That 40mls would have made all the difference for the money we've paid. PLEASE TELL ME I HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON.
Is it possible for you to email my personal email. Much easier to check at work. "*****@******.***
Many thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

This is a Consumer Guarantees Act issue, and you are entitled to get what you contracted for, which is the 600 mm, which would have been easier and from your description, the correct size. So in any Consumer Guarantee Act issue, you are entitled to get bak to what was in the contract, so they must either fix the job and take the tiles down to install the proper size, or you can refuse to pay. In addition if the quote included the ensuite then they are stuck with this. If they think this was a mistake then they must seek a variation of the contract and you can accept or reject this. I suggest you should find an independent tiler to give an opinion about this work, and then approach your contractor and ask for repairs/replacement to the correct tiles.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Chris, so much more has come to light. On Wednesday 16th the tilling boss told us that the tiles in the ensuite were 590ml, but on the box it says 595ml and the quote says 600ml as displayed in the showroom of the tiling place. I discovered, following a discussion with the guy who is actually doing the tilling for the tile boss, that he thought the tiles were not the right size before he started the tiling in the main bathroom and,mentioned this to his boss, who in turn told him how to proceed ignoring tile size.
I also rang the tile place and asked why they had sold me short sized tiles. The lady who is the assistant manager asked what I would like them to do. "I said I didn't know as I had never been in this situation before. Anyway on Friday 18th a man who for the moment shall remain nameless, rang from the tile place offering compensation of $300. saying he thought that was a very generous offer.I was flabbergasted. I said "do you realise under the Consumer Guarantees Act I am entitled to have you remove and replace the tiles with the correct size. He said "under the Consumer Guarantees Act they are allowed a variant of 10ml. Ridiculous. That would have totaled a 40ml gap from the floor to ceiling, so I just said "is that right". I will discuss with my husband and get back to you. I didn't even realise they had given me a "terms and conditions" in the folder with the quote when I took the samples home until Sunday night 20th. I could see they had an A4 sheet in large print that outlined returns and another one on refunds. We found the terms and conditions on the flip side in such fine print we couldn't read it. I simply bought a product. After all you don't get a page of terms and conditions when you buy a dress.
That of course prompted me to measure the tiles in the main bathroom which are only 585ml. OMG!! I was devastated.
On finding this out I asked the project manager for a meeting last Friday18th. He of course turned up with the tiling boss in hot pursuit (whom I never called and is a big loud guy who tried lauding it over me).
I told them about my discussion with the tilling guy and that I was not happy. The tilling in the en-suite is a jigsaw puzzle. I asked them why they had not started with a full tile at the front of the room where it is obvious when you first walk in the door. The tilling boss said thatI would have ended up with a 30ml strip behind the door. I said "why did you not contact me to give me that choice" then he said "we don't do it like that". I didn't say, but would have thought that that is my choice since I am the paying customer.
Then on Sunday 20th we had friends visit from out of Auckland. They have built several houses and are now quite experienced with these things. He informed me the bath has not been installed correctly either, so I went straight to the supplier "Engelfield" after work on Monday 21st Sept. The lady there also agreed the bath had not been installed properly which means we are going to end up with silicone going moldy between the bath and the wall tiles. She told me the tiles should come over the lip on the bath and the silicone would be behind.
Our firends also informed us that prior to tiling, the architrave around the door and window should have been removed, but what they have done is tile ALL THE WALLS first before anything was installed. As a result, they have just tacked on another architrave over the top of the old one to slightly overlap the tiles. This was agreed at our first "not so happpy meeting" with them, as there was no other choice they could offer so we felt we had no alternative but to agree. Still looks uprofessional and tacky though.
The project manager informed me when the main bathroom was nearly complete that the price did not include the en-suite, but as you and I have already discussed, that's his problem. He should have sought a variance in the contract according to you. I haven't told him that yet, otherwise we would have been left in the lurch. I have however asked him not to pay for the tiles in the en-suite until further notice from us which he was happy to do.
Surely, I am entitled to a complete re-fit, and more importantly, the work to be carried out by professional/certified tradesmen which I was led to believe I paid for.
The contract required 50% payment when job started then another 40% 2weeks later and 10% on completion. I have lived up to my part but not paid the last 10% yet.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oops!! please see attached photos
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Frankly this looks as though you need to get another more professional tiling contractor and a building expert to look at the job, because it may be so incompetently installed that you may be at risk of having to pull this all out and start again. That is certainly what you want, and I agree with you. It is always best to start with an expert opinion however, from a master builder and a tiling expert to look at the work done and explain the faults. You certainly should not be paying anything in the meantime. If this is seriously defective, then you may be looking at seeking a full refund, together with the costs of replacing the defective work. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act you are entitled to get work of the appropriate standard, and bathrooms can be particularly tricky, because if they leak, this can cause serious damage to the rest of the house. So things like waterproofing, correct installation of the tiles and properly installed plumbing according to good tradesmen like standards must be checked.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Chris, sorry unfortunately the later complications came to light just 1week away from our annual leave and we have been away for the last 2weeks. I have done as you suggested & have another professional coming in to give me his opinion. However, the one question I do want answered is whether under "The Consumer Guarantees Act" the tiling company is correct in saying they are entitled to a 10ml variation in tile size because this certainly was not conveyed to me. Anyway we have ended up with a 15ml variant in the main bathroom.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

If the wrong size has caused the problem, then they cannot claim there is some leeway. But tiles come in distinct sizes, and you are entitled to get what you ordered. The Consumer Guarantees Act talks about things being fit for purpose and doesn't say anywhere that near enough in size, as this contractor claims, is permissible. The tiles should be what you ordered