Builder Disputes – Claims Against Building & Construction Companies

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How To Deal With Cowboy Builders

The best course of action is to avoid them like the plague and to look for obvious signs such as asking to be paid for all the work in cash. The cowboy builder is unlikely to put anything in writing to provide a proper quotation. One of the best ways of protecting yourself is to ask for references and check with the people for who they claim to have carried out previous work. If they cannot provide suitable references of previous work then give them a wide birth.

The Con Is On

Unfortunately, however hard you try to avoid these builders there are thousands of householders who are lured in to giving them work which turns out to be a shambles. The first thing they concentrate on is how much cash they can take off you in the form of a deposit. Usually it is on the premise of buying materials and once you have paid them a substantial amount up front you will be working from behind all the time.

Some will take the money and simply disappear while others will keep asking for more money for very little work having been carried out or more likely what has been done is of a very poor quality. This is where the builder dispute arises!

The Horror Stories

Leaking Conservatory – paid £18,000 – builder claimed he had no money

Took on a building job at an agreed amount of £50,000 – kept asking for more money – said unless he was paid £20,000 more he would walk off the job – he was paid but there were so many faults they had to find another builder to rectify – total job cost £90,000

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What To Do If You Have Been A Victim Of Cowboy Builders

The work done is totally unsatisfactory which you have paid for and he won’t come back to fix it.

Find an alternative independent trustworthy builder and obtain a written report on all the faults and the cost of repair OR replacement.

The important thing is to make contact under the protocol with a letter before action stating the section of law that you are claiming under and why you are offering him a chance to repair the damages. If the faults are so bad and not fit for purpose, demand a full refund.

You can do this through the Money Claim Online system but most builders will throw your letter away if it’s not recognised as being written legally. Also you will receive back from the Courts numerous forms including allocation questionnaires, court directions including requests for statements (look at our page XXX for examples) and if these forms are either not completed correctly or by the time specified your claim can be struck out.

We can assist you in preparing draft court claims forms to send to your rogue builder together with the protocol letter before action so he recognises that you are serious as well as assisting you complete most forms originating from the court at no additional charge.

How to avoid cowboy electrical contractors

All work carried out involving your electrical supply must ONLY be undertaken by a competent electrical engineer. Do NOT allow any one purporting to be able to do work on your electrical supply unless you have checked that that person is competent.

There are other questions you can ask that will give you a fair idea of the experience of the contractor and help you to avoid future problems – many are just common sense and if he is genuine and experienced he should be able to answer quite easily:-

In March 2006 the Electrical Safety Council published some amazing figures:

  • 42% of home owners stated they had never had their electrics checked
  • 32% of DIY enthusiasts said they had experienced electrical shocks while working on their homes
  • A staggering 59% of people do not use, or refer to a qualified electrician when doing electrical work
  • 35% of homeowners said their electrics were older than 15 years and had not been checked.

Electrics should be checked at least every 10 years.

ELECTRICAL WORK CARRIED OUT BY A NON-QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN CAN HARM YOUR FAMILY AND YOURSELF

HOW WE CAN HELP IF YOU HAVE PAID FOR A POOR QUALITY JOB?

Contact us for a no obligation call back.

How to avoid cowboy Gas and Heating contractors

All work carried out involving your gas supply must ONLY be undertaken by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Do NOT allow any one purporting to be able to do work on your central heating boiler, hot water or plumbing that involves working on your gas supply unless you have checked that that person is registered.

How do you find that out? – click on the link below and fill in the name of the contractor – if he is registered his photograph and registration number will come up.

Click here.

There are other questions you can ask that will give you a fair idea of the experience of the contractor and help you to avoid future problems – many are just common sense and if he is genuine and experienced he should be able to answer quite easily:-

  1. How long have you been trading?
  2. Can I see proof that you are insured?
  3. Please supply me with details of a couple of other customers who would be happy to vouch for you – where their job was similar to ours?
  4. How long will the work take, what happens if it takes longer?
  5. When could you start, and is that a guaranteed start date? Is it cheaper for me to replace my old boiler in the same place or can I move it? How much extra would it be to move it if I can?
  6. What capacity will that boiler have, and will it meet my needs? What if my needs change, do I need to replace any radiators or add any pipework? Is there any other costly work required to get a good job such as; will my timer and/or thermostat have to be replaced or will my water tank need to be altered?

HOW WE CAN HELP IF YOU HAVE PAID FOR A POOR QUALITY JOB?

Contact us for a no obligation call back.

Winning Your Claim Is Not The Same As Obtaining Back Your Money

There are various methods of enforcing the debt against cowboy builders once judgment has been obtained. These include charging orders against the defendant’s property which is a difficult but worthwhile process. A County Court Judgment (CCJ) if obtained, will mean that even if the defendant pays it off (although it will show as satisfied) it will still remain on his credit record for six years meaning no credit, no mortgage etc. so he will be encouraged by us to make payment to you.

Our Fees – Who Receives The Money

The easiest way is to give an example of one of our claims against a builder is to call him ‘Bent Roofers‘ for our client, ‘Mr and Mrs T‘ (these are not the correct names) in October 2018.

Mr and Mrs T approached us to assist them with a claim against a builder that had carried out work in repairing their roof in the sum of £3,200 offering a 10 year guarantee. The couple who were due to go on holiday paid in full by cheque with a promise that the invoice and guarantee would follow but it never did and upon their return from holiday noticed that the whole house smelt of dampness as the rain had been leaking through the roof into the house. Mr T contacted the builders who promised to come and repair the faulty roof but never did so Mr T obtained the services of a different roofing company who advised that the work was so badly done that it needed completely replacing in the sum of £8,700.

Money Claims Help Ltd prepared the draft court papers and letter before action which remained undefended. There were further court papers that required completing that we assisted with for Mr and Mrs T, who eventually obtained a judgement for the full amount and were paid in full together with the court fees.

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