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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Following on from: oops, my builders said that the job would

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Following on from :
JA: Are you in the UK or are you in the States?
Customer: oops, my builders said that the job would take 4-6 weeks, next week will be 8 months. in the UK . How much can I take off the amount that I still owe? by the week, the month or what? Thank you
JA: What action has been taken so far? What's your ideal outcome?
Customer: I have a email record of all the times he said he would be here and did not turn up etc. I have told him, by email and in person, that I will be taking money off due to the delay. I still owe around £7,000 off the original invoice.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I do not mind being taken to court and the judge decide how much they should be given. thank you

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

  1. May I ask when the original contract was agreed roughly?
  2. I assume it was agreed at your home or following a visit by the builder to your home and you did not agree the contract at the builders office?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The contract was signed in January 2017 at my home. I did not think to put in a clause regarding timing. I had a list of questions that the builder answered before I agreed the contract. The timing was one of them. I wrote down the answers to all my questions at the time.The builder told me last week that people were coming to do the last few things and that the job would be finished this Wednesday. I want to email the builder tomorrow as noone has been for the last week.

Thank you. Lastly could you tell me if the builder provided you with a notice giving you information about a right to cancel the agreement with him within 14 days of signing?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No, not a separate notice, nor in the small print ion the back of the contract. There is one clause that relates to delay which states that "The Company shall not be liable for any delay ... if such delay is due to any cause whatsoever beyond its reasonable control....." I do not think that this clause applies in this case.

Many thanks for the above. I apologise for the delay i reverting to you over the weekend. May I continue to assist you today?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I would like to know if there is a legal minimum/maximum on the amount that I can take off the final invoice when/if my new conservatory is completed. The main reason is the extreme length of time it is taking. The work started mid February 2017. The conservatory is a lean-to type and measures about 15' by 8'. They said it would take between 4 and 6 weeks. thank you.

Thanks. If the builders failed to give you a notice informing you of your right to cancel the agreement made with them in your home within 14 days of the date of the contract (most contractords do not comply with this requirement) then your right to cancel is extended for up to one year and 14 days from the date you entered into the contract under the terms of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

Accordingly based upon what you say you still will retain a right to cancel the agreement at this stage. If you exercised your right to do so they would have to refund for all labour costs and any materials than those which cannot be returned by you because they have been incorporated into your home. They are not allowed to charge for any of their labour because the contract is cancelled following your notice to cancel. This means you could take a position wherebyy you refuse to pay between anything at all for their labour or such proportion as although you have no legal liability to pay you feel you would wish to pay in recognition of the work they have done but reflects the poor service you have received. In other words it places the control into your hands make a decision in this respect. Arguments about quality of work or service or otherwise do not enter into it because you are exercising an absolute legal right to cancel the whole contract if you serve a notice of cancellation.

If you wish to exercise your right you must do so within one year and 14 days of signing any contract with the builder. The effect of your cancellation means that themust refund you as above and you can make an offer of settlement you consider fair at that point sould you wish to.

They are of course likely to seek to challenge your right and threaten legal proceedings in the county court. This would be quite normal. However providig you retain a copy of your written cancellation notice, you would have what would amount to a defence to the entire of their claim less materials as above.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I can cancel the contract and pay what I feel is the right amount? If I want them to finish the job do I have to pay them the full amount for which I have been invoiced? Or can I legally make them an offer?

Subject as above you have a right to cancel for up to 1 year and 14 days from the point you entered into the contract. Accordingly what you say is correct. You could also ask them to finish the job after you have cancelled but I would suggest in reality it is highly unlikely they would be willing to cooperate. Generally what happens if you cancel is the contractor will threaten to sue you in the county court as fee are aware of the above regulations and will not accept you have the right. Accordingly you may need to consider retaining another contractor to finish the job having served notice of cancellation in reality. In any event you can if course make them any offer you consider fair by way if settlement "as a gesture of goodwill".

Is there anything above I can help you with any further?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ah, I did not make myself clear. If I do not want to cancel the job do I have any rights regarding paying them less than the amount on the original invoice when they do eventually finish?

Thank you for the clarificatoin. if you do not exercise a right to cancel as discussed above, then you would be falling back upon the Consumer Rights Act 2015. s52 provides that where a contract does not expressly fix the time for the service to be performed and not say how such time is to be fixed, the contract is to be treated as including an implied term that the contractor must perform service within reasonable time and what is reasonable will be determined upon a question of fact.

what you say, the contractor has unreasonably delayed completing the work and accordingly, you have grounds for claiming breach of contract under the implied term above. As a consequence of this, you would have grounds for arguing a reduction in the price paid under the contract and your rights under section 56 of the consumer rights act. The strong argument on this front, your rights are not as absolute as they would be if you exercise a right to cancel as discussed above because under this section you would need to first prove that their actions or rather lack of actions are unreasonable under s52 and then quantify the amount you wish to reduce the bill by. However the above sections do certainly give you strong grounds to reduce the amount of the bill if they are being slow in finishing and you do not wish to cancel.

Has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your response. Another week has passed by and no more work has been done. I will use the information you have given to try to get them to finish the job.I was going to suggest to them that I take off £1,000 per month after the first two months (they said it would take 4-6 weeks). I currently owe them £7,500 according to the contract. So that is £6,000 as of Friday last week to take off the invoice.I am OK with being taken to the small claims court.

I am glad the above has been of some assitance. If I can assist any further please do not hesitate to revert to me. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback.

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