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  1. AdamDee
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    AdamDee EF Member

    I started a full house rewire for a client in December 2013,but because he was claiming all the work through an insurance payout the jobtook months and he was constantly changing what was quoted. We discussed thechanges as he wanted to have the loft converted and I sent him a quote that hewas happy with. Long story short, in June 2014 I had almost completed thehouse, just leaving the shower pull cord, under counter kitchen lights, hallway pendants to be second fixed, and testing/signing off the proprety.

    The reason I didn’t finish this is because he went to seehis family in a different part of the country and whilst he was there hismother died. He has just come back to Bristol after almost 2 years! I triedcalling him, left messages etc but no response in the last 23 months. I had acall from him last week saying he has been back in Bristol for 3 months now andhas had another electrical company into the house to finish off the work Ididn’t complete. I asked why he didn’t call me to do it and he said he didn’thave my number and couldn’t find me online, funny how he suddenly found mynumber when the other electrical company wouldn’t sign off my work.

    I said I would come over and test the property and issue anEIC but he wants £500 deducted from the £1350 bill because of the outstandingwork that he had completed by the other electricians.

    I said I wouldn’t reduce the bill as he only used the otherelectrical company to avoid paying me. He has now said he is taking this tocourt.

    I am obviously worried about this, and wanted to see ifanyone else has been in this situation and what I am legally responsible for.Can I refuse to sign off the work due to the time period, this guy is such ascammer and got almost £150k from insurance companies so I’m worried that in 6months time he might suddenly have an electrical problem and try and claim onmy public liability insurance.

    I’m happy to sign the job off but want to cover my back.

    Any advise would be great.

    Thanks guys.

     
  2. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Difficult:
    1 Have you been paid anything?
    2 Have you issued any certificates?
    3 Have you kept any correspondence?

    You are right it seems strange that he has just contacted you after all that time, a couple more questions

    4 Do you have insurance?
    5 Are you a member of any of the scams?
     
  3. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Adding to what Pete has already said;

    You are only responsible for the work you have carried out, and can only issue an EIC for your work. I think it would reasonable in the circumstances, to offer to finish the work you quoted for, i.e. testing and energising your work, which sounds like has already been done by another. If that is the case, you cannot issue an EIC, if it's already been energised. But it's also reasonable, to be expected to be paid for the work you've done. I expect he's using the threat of legal action, for you to drop your claim for works carried out.

    I suggest you start, by obtaining some legal advice, via CAB or a solicitor. You can get consultation from a solicitor for approx. £60, with a view on how to progress, which may be via small claims.

    As Pete mentioned, if you are in a scheme, they may offer a mediation service. Never used it, or know the charges. Wouldn't worry about the insurance side of things, they are pretty good at dealing with such people.
     
  4. Risteard
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    Risteard Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Derry, Ireland
    Business Name:
    Walsh Electrical Services
    I really can't see how he would have any case. I don't even think you would need to complete the work from two years ago given that he hasn't facilitated contact in that time.

    Even to go back and inspect and test it in my opinion should be chargeable now. Tell him to wise up. (Disclaimer: I am not a solicitor.)
     
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  5. Blademan_98
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    Blademan_98 Still Breathing

    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    I would seek legal advice.
    Perhaps a counter claim will be in order.
    Hope it goes well :)
     
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  6. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    agree with last 2 posts. the guy's a chancer. you've offered to complete the work in spite of him. he's got someone else involved and now he sees his error, as in they won't sign it off, and he's trying it on with you. i very much doubt that he'll take it to court.bang in a claim for what he owes you and call his bluff.
     
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  7. ruston
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    ruston Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northumberland
    I agree with the last three posts, you cannot do a job you cannot get at.
    It is unreasonable to expect you to chase this customer to complete this job as he had chose to disappear, then miraculously find you when it has gone t88s up.
    I doubt it will be seen any breach of contract will be found against you , especially as he was easily able to contact you when it suited him.
     
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  8. darkwood
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    darkwood It's all about Gmes Staff Member Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    It sounds like to me that he was trying to avoid paying up for the job as a whole but once the insurance requested documentation and certificates for work done he has found himself needing to get you back on board... do all correspondence by email if possible and keep copies, express your patience regarding his circumstances and your failure to be able to contact him. Take a log history if possible of your phone and like others have said, express you have not been given the opportunity to complete the works - I assume your quote was printed on an official document with your work title, address and contact details, if this is the case and you haven't changed any of them then he has little ground to stand on.

    Cannot comment much more without knowing what exactly he's trying to take you to court for but as the work has been completed by others I would make a good will gesture in Email form of say £200 reduction, wait for a reply then if he refuses it then reply that you are taking legal advice on the matter and will be in contact shortly. Sometimes in these situe's its best to meet in the middle as it cost you more in the longrun to start taking or defending legal matters.
     
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    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  9. ruston
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    ruston Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northumberland
    ^^^^^ Yes consider the offset against the legal fees. £200 won't go far hiring a solicitor to defend your case.
     
  10. Risteard
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    Risteard Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Derry, Ireland
    Business Name:
    Walsh Electrical Services
    Offering a token figure (e.g. £200) could be taken as a tacit acceptance of fault on your part. I wouldn't even offer him a glass of tap water.
     
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  11. stevethesparks
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    stevethesparks Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northampton
    So he was owing you money for more than 2 years! I'd say he would be owing you some interest. The fact that he lost your contact details whether true or not, is his mistake not yours, and as you said, he soon found out how to contact you after the works was completed.
    I do hope the £1,350 bill you mention was a final bill. What is he taking you to court for, I'm assuming he hasn't paid the bill yet, would it be for defamation as you said he is avoiding your bill?
     
  12. darkwood
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    darkwood It's all about Gmes Staff Member Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    You have a point but I did say Email 'Good will Gesture' which in itself cannot be mis-construed to mean acceptance of fault on the OP's part as long as it is clearly worded that it is a gesture of goodwill then that is what it is, we know the customer is trying on a fast one and its nice to see Karma when it happens but its just not worth getting into legal costs and the impact it will have for the OP through direct costs and indirect costs like lost labour while fighting the case. If this was 10's of thousands then possible different advice but for 500quid it really isn't worth the hassle hence my response to try meet in the middle, at the end of the day, the OP won't be doing the full work he quoted for and regardless why this is the case he isn't losing anything making that adjustment to the quote.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  13. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    as above^^^.give nowt. stand your ground. nil illegitimae carborundum
     
  14. Marvo
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    Marvo GMES....You absolute beauty. YOU ROCK DUDE!!!! Staff Member

    Location:
    South Africa
    I'm assuming there must have been some deposit and stage payments made surely.....or does he still owe you the entire amount?

    Don't worry about his threats of court action, he can't take you to court for money he's not payed, he could only instate legal action for breach of contract which from what you say would go nowhere given his abandoning of the property without arranging for you to get access.

    First thing is just get your ducks in a row. Draw up the entire timeline of the job and print all emails of messages he's sent that have caused the delays.

    Secondly I'd sit down with him face to face, mano to mano, and explain;

    1. You've accommodated his timeline at great inconvenience and expense to yourself already so unfortunately there's no way you can entertain anything less than full settlement of quoted amount.
    2. It was his prerogative to get another electrician in to finish the work but certainly not at your expense. The claim he couldn't contact you doesn't fly seeing as he managed perfectly well when he had no other choice. Also I assume your contact details are on the quote he originally approved and other correspondence since then.
    3. There's no way you can certify someone elses work in the same way they shouldn't be certifying yours. He'll need to get a cert of both you and the other contractor for the scope they completed or pay you extra for a full test.
    4. Finally there's the issue of interest owing on the settlement amount due to unreasonable delays cause by him. Obviously the chances of actually getting compound interest are slim if not bordering on anorexic but it's good leverage so use it wisely.

    If he pursues the line that he's going the legal route I'd threaten to drag his insurance company into the fray, tell him you're going to contact them and submit details of the entire job, including his attic/loft extension and request they pay the settlement amount. Obviously you won't get a cent out of them but you can kick the hornets nest enough maybe they'll get in touch with him. Also you could use building control as leverage maybe.??
     
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    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  15. stevethesparks
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    stevethesparks Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northampton
    Does your liability insurance cover any legal costs? Might be an idea to have a word with them for some advice.
     
  16. Marvo
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    Marvo GMES....You absolute beauty. YOU ROCK DUDE!!!! Staff Member

    Location:
    South Africa
    I'd look at any court option as an absolute last resort even if you have legal cover. Try hard to come to arrangement direct with him and if that fails go the arbitration route via your scheme if possible. Ending up in court without exhausting all other options is a lot of stress and expense and courts don't like cases where insufficient effort has been made to resolve the dispute before the case unless the amount falls under a small claims court which is geared up to sort out petty disputes quickly and efficiently.
     
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  17. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Or as it was 3 years ago, and you haven't chased after your money before now, just cut your losses and forget about it and learn the hard way, or hard drive way!
     
  18. Murdoch
    Online

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Really? Are you mad!

    Sure agree to sign off your work, but not the other companies.

    My advice to you is to wait until the Court Papers turn up.... then you will know what you are actually dealing with. Until then you and we can only speculate.

    Remember, this will be a small claim so you will have your opportunity to present your "side" in writing - most of these "claims" never make it into the actual court room!
     
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  19. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    There has been some good advice posted above
    As above sign off your work could always do condition report on other works but other company should have done minor works etc.
    If they ave powered up it is their legal resposabillity
    If you had done the work to complete eg under unit lights hall pendants etc.what would this cost be ? you could only knock this off the bill as said above as good will there should be no reason for you not to get paid for what you have done.

    Regards
     
  20. PEG
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    PEG Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Manchester
    We can only go off the information given,but i would forget about him.

    If you did not start any legal proceedings,to recover your money,then the very least he is,is on your bad debtors list.

    The time scales involved,will massively limit,anything he can threaten.

    Even the police only have 6 months to execute an arrest warrant,and if not,a judge wants a very good reason,why they have not,if a new one is to be approved.

    When i was a kid of 8,i did some car washing down me mums street,and one of the neighbours never paid,because they thought it was a freebee...

    If they're still alive...i'm getting legal with'em :phone:
     
  21. Murdoch
    Online

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    If and I say if, this goes to Court then the first question the customer will have to answer is why they didn't invite you back tho complete the works.

    Sit tight and see what happens.

    What do your scheme recommend?
     
  22. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    Criminal and civil law is different,any judge will see the contract was paused due to compassonate grounds I am sure that one of your insurance providers/part P can provide you with free legal advice.If you want to claim through small claims court note that you can not claim for your legal cost if you win as it is thought you shoud be able to present your case
     
  23. AdamDee
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    AdamDee EF Member

    Thanks for all the comments. I am with the NICEIC and have contactedthem today for advice.
    Luckily I'm good with paperwork and have over 20 emails to him with the quotes, invoices, changes to original quote and emails trying to contact him.

    Also the last email I have before he disappeared was a final invoice for £1350with he agreed to pay and I have that email.

    Reading back over the original quote, I never agreed the undercounter lightingand on a separate email I said once he has picked the LED strip light hewants I would buy them and this would be added on to the final invoice formaterials and labour.

    My ex-wifes dad is a solicitor so is on the case and has adviced me totake the client to a small claims court. I contacted the clienttonight and I'm going to his house on the weekend with all the email proof andmy phone logs which are highlighted with 32 calls over the first 5 months hewas away for. I think he will pay the bill and I will sign off only the work Ihave completed.
     
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  24. rolyberkin
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    rolyberkin Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Chelmsford
    Tell him to pay what he owes you and then you will come and certify, then tell him to jog on!
     
  25. Marvo
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    Marvo GMES....You absolute beauty. YOU ROCK DUDE!!!! Staff Member

    Location:
    South Africa
    Good luck, I hope you get whatever is outstanding. Pop back and let us know how you get on.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  26. ipf
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    ipf Trusted Advisor

    No solicitor needed, small claims court....from experience. If everything is as said, there won't be any problem winning the case. You put your claim in. He puts his case, you put yours...the judge makes his decision, amount decided, along with the interest and expenses he decides, all from the details given. Just get as much fact and proof as possible.

    Oh, and claim back the expense of taking out the action, probably still less than £100.
     
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    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  27. ruston
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    ruston Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northumberland
    All I was thinking was that the time it takes to go through all that time consuming process and stress was that the situation could have bee solved amicably with a 'without prejudice' proposal .
    The money was gone anyway, he would not have had anything at all the way the situation was.
    Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  28. richy3333
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    richy3333 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    UK
    Sounds like a plan, good luck mate.
     
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