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Discuss Non paying customer - what are my rights?? in the Electrical Forum area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. Goldsparky
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    Goldsparky Guest

    Hello all,

    I'm in a bit of a complicated situation and can't believe in the current climate that there isn't anyone else out there who has experienced something similair.

    I recently completed a rewire for a small building contractor, whom I have worked for previously with no problem but seem to have taken him on his word one too many times. I have never previously had a problem with getting money out of him so when he asked me to do a rewire on a two bed flat I obliged, expecting payment on completion as has always been the case. it seems the builder has stretched his resources too far and long story short, he's liquidated his company and I have yet to receive a penny for the work. I have spoken to the client in the hope of some sort of reconciliation of funds and damage limitation but he is of opinion that he has already payed the builder for the electrical work and hence it's not his problem, even more so when he has no kitchen, a half finished bathroom and the only running water he has is from the bath!

    I feel pretty screwed, I know you'll ask so, no there was no written contract and as I say payment has never previously been a problem or I would have taken money up front. the builder was a limited company.

    I don't really want to just take this lying down, can anyone shed some light on where I would stand legally in removing the installation? I think the flat is still unoccupied but could gain access with the builder to remove the materials though he would obviously be unaware what my intentions were.

    any help would be greatly appreciated,

    cheers
     
  2. pushrod
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    pushrod Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    leicestershire
    citizen's advice or if you have legal advice on any of your insurance policies might be worth trying. The wife was able to use our house insurance legal advice for a completely unrelated matter.
     
  3. Des 56
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    Des 56 Forum Mentor

    Location:
    Gliese 581C
    I feel for you with the situation
    You are unfortunately in a very bad position,the monies owed,now that the builder has gone bust, are virtually irretrievable
    You come well down the list of creditors when it comes to payment,needless to say the inland revenue are No 1, and you will be fortunate to get in the top twenty

    The materials you have installed (as far as I know) still belong to you,you could remove those materials, but must not incur costs by the way of damage when they are removed,to be done also with approval of the property owner,
    The only consolation I can see,is that the costs to yourself,both material and labour can be offset against this years tax bill
    Good luck with your problem
     
  4. accordfire
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    accordfire Guest

    Hi Goldsparky

    Okay. Seems like the contractor you worked for was a limited company. Was he? Are you? Or do you trade self employed? Are you VAT registered?

    What you can do, depends in part also how much he owes you.

    What you can't do at the moment is remove anything you installed. The end customer (you're customer's customer) has entitlement to the job, as things stand, although at some point he may need to prove that. Your contract, however, was with the contractor and NOT the guy who's benefiting from your work.

    Next up, you need to know exactly what the agreement between you and your customer entitled you to by way or remedy - and at this point, hopefully you got something in writing - a specification as to the work you'd undertake, a purchase order? Those things good. Your terms of trading - did your customer receive a copy when he agreed for you to do the work?

    You run the risk of falling foul of the law yourself if you interfere with the installation at all, and more so if you have certificated any of it. Don't go down that route for now (not without a court order anyway). Even if your terms and conditions contain a clause in which you state an entitlement to remove goods for non-payment, it isn't that simple. The end customer has them in good faith, and has paid the agent in good faith - your customer (so long as if necessary he can prove, by way of receipt, cheque imprint, card statement a proportion of the money he has paid is equivalent to the amount of your work, it can be deemed that he has reasonably paid for your work).

    You may have a remedy in law, in several ways, and one of the key things you'd want to do is prove that he knew, before asking you to do this work, that he had a reasonable belief he wasn't going to be able to pay you - this will probably require a solicitor's help,. as you may need to subpoena bank records.

    Statutory demands are another avenue, and would force him into bankruptcy if he can't pay. Again, much depends on your contract with him, and the amount owed.

    One of the easiest ways to deal with this would be to gather evidence from the end customer, and your own paperwork, and confront him in writing (preferably via a solicitor) with the threat of chasing him personally for the debt.

    It is hard to advise specifically, however, without knowing more of the facts.
     
  5. IQ Electrical
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    IQ Electrical Electrician's Arms

    Revenue & Customs lost this disgraceful privilege a few years back.
     
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