When someone has entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:
· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);
· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and
· Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed).
In addition, any information said or written is binding where the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or about the results to be achieved.
So if you did not provide any information about the possible issues that may come up then you cannot use that as part of the contractual negotiations.
If there are problems with the standard of work, or any of the above, the consumer will have certain rights:
1. The trader should either redo the parts of the service which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to them. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing them significant inconvenience.
2. If redoing the work is impossible or cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, they can claim a price reduction. The price reduction would depend on how severe the issues are and could be as much as the full cost of the work. This is the main issue here and it would depend on whether they have derived any benefit from your work or how much it would cost to put things right.
You may not be able to reach a compromise and they do have the right to go to court if needed. However, be advised that if this goes to the small claims court the risks are relatively low for you. Even if you were to lose you would not be responsible for their legal fees so at worst you would have to pay what they are claiming and the court costs of a few hundred at most. So you could take the risk if you are adamant that you are not fully refunding them now.
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