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a sub contractor fitted/damaged a kitchen for a client of mine,

I paid for the replacement...
a sub contractor fitted/damaged a kitchen for a client of mine, I paid for the replacement of damaged items, and aslo painted the kitchen and hallway as compensation. but have not been able to find another kitchen fitter to fit the kitchen. The customer has said if I fail to find another fitter she expects me to pay the difference I quoted her and a fitter she has got a quote from being £1700 the difference. and if I fail to pay the difference she will seek legal action. where do I stand?
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
10/14/2013
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Verified

Joshua :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Joshua :

Are you being given reasons why fitters are turning down the job please? Have you seen the quote the customer has received?

Customer:

some of the fitters ive asked are too busy, no I haven't seen the quote the customer as recieved

Joshua :

my apologies for the short delay referred to you. Did you have a contract with the fitter you originally employed to fit the kitchen either by way of a formal written contract or exchange of emails for example demonstrating what he agreed to do and for what price? What caused the damage you refer to - was a lack of skill of the original kitchen fitter or some other reason?

Customer:

it was a verbal agreement with the kitchen fitter, he was recommended by another sub contractor, I wasn't aware at the time but its come to light that he's had a break down and has been drinking before work.

Joshua :

Thanks. Could you evidence the agreement do you think or would he deny that he carried out work for you? Was any money paid?

Joshua :

... to the fitter that is?

Customer:

yes he's admitted the errors. no money has been paid to the fitter. the client has kept £2000 back from other works myself and I gave her £1000 to cover the cost of the damage to the kitchen.

Joshua :

Do you have evidence of his admission or would you be able to obtain such admission in writing or otherwise if you asked?

Customer:

trying to get hold of him has been a bit tricky. but if that was required then yes I believe so.

Joshua :

thanks. your position is from what you say vis a vis your customer is that you are in breach of contract in that you have failed to procure that the customer's kitchen is fitted in accordance with your obligations under your contract with the customer. in this respect, the customer's position is legal in that she can legally demand from you any difference between the price you quoted and the price she is able to have a third party complete the work for if that price is higher than your own. However, she has a legal obligation to mitigate losses so far is possible and so would need to be able to demonstrate that she has sought more the one quote.

Joshua :

however, that is not the end of the story insofar as from what you say, use subcontractors the work to a kitchen fitter and it is he that has both damaged her goods and failed to complete the job. accordingly, whilst it would appear that you are in breach of contract with your customer, it also follows that the kitchen fitter is in breach of contract to you and if you can evidence the existence of the contract and the damage he caused, you can look to him for any losses you suffer as a consequence of your breach of contract with the customer

Joshua :

ideally, you would be able to source an alternative kitchen fitter to complete the work at a reasonable price which would hopefully not leave you to significantly out-of-pocket if out-of-pocket at all and from there, you could decide whether you wish to pursue the original kitchen fitter for any loss you have suffered had he performed his work properly

Joshua :

however, if you are not able to find a replacement fitter and cannot carry out the work for example yourself, then you are at risk of a claim from your customer in respect of any difference between the price you quoted and the price a third party has quoted subject to the customer mitigating her losses as described above

Joshua :

if you reach the unfortunate position whereby your customer is threatening to and does issue proceedings against you for breach of contract in the above manner, you may wish to consider firstly a defence in that you seek evidence that the customer has sought to mitigate her costs in respect of a replacement fitter by obtaining more than one quote and also join in the kitchen fitter you retained by way of a counterclaim whereby you claiming losses you suffer against that fitter as part of one and the case.

Customer:

my understanding from what you've said is that I'm obliged to pay for the installation costs of another fitter the customer so chooses weather the costs is more than what I quoted to fit the kitchen, but he customer needs to provide me with what: at least two separate quotes?

Joshua :

that is essentially correct however there is no specific number of quotes the customer must or must not obtain. Rather the customer must be able to demonstrate that she is attempting to mitigate losses so far as possible - in other words, she cannot simply claim from you whatever she wants is a consequence of the breach of contract. In this situation, demonstrating that she has mitigated losses would normally be accepted by a court if she can show at least two or ideally three quotes from different fitters. the more you can demonstrate that the quote "she has received are in reasonable the more likely a court would be to expect it to demonstrate she has obtained a reasonable number.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

what about if the original fitter said he was willing to put the mistakes right? but not given the opportunity? thus the customer saying they didn't want him in their house because of the damaged he caused?

Joshua :

the customer is required under the terms of the supply of goods and services act and common law to allow you a reasonable opportunity to correct any mistakes. If the customer is unreasonably refusing to accept your rectifying mistakes by virtue of your subcontractor attending again, then they will be limited in what they can claim from you for breach of contract. However, if the customer can demonstrate that their decision to refuse the subcontractor access was reasonable in the circumstances the above would not apply. It would therefore come down to an assessment as to how reasonable the customer's position is at assessment ultimately is carried out by a judge if you cannot agree between you

Customer:

ok, I think that's answered my questions. thank you for your time and advice.

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Customer:

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX need a reference no or something inorder to speak to you again if need be?

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. this will also save the thread to your account and you can return to it either from a link in your email which you should have received or by logging in. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Customer:

ok great. thank you again!!!

Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Verified
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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
26,070 Satisfied Customers
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice

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