Agents appointed builders who're suing me- contracts?

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    Agents appointed builders who're suing me- contracts?

    Hi,

    I have an urgent issue, I hope someone can help me what I should do as the builders is threatening to take legal action against me:

    Last year I let my house out and managed by an agency. Around October we needed to change the gas pipe from plastic to copper which is about 10m long (as the result of gas checks), the agency recommended me over the phone one of their builder suppliers with the rate of £45 per hour and I agreed for them to carry out the work. The work was carried out in two days but scatering out to three days (half day on first and last days).

    However, in late December the builders sent me three separate invoices for each day of work and claimed that the work was emergency and charged me around £2000 in total. I was not happy but still paid them around £1000 which I thought was much more than I expected and asked the agency to sort out the issue and summarised below are the main points:

    1) The person from the agency who got me the builder and her manager confirmed with me on 5 separate emails that the rate of £45 was correct and the builders should have revised their invoices and send me a new one.
    2) The manager from the agency told me that he would try to sort out the issue. He told me that he tried to contact the builders but they did not reply to his email, he did send me the email he sent to them.
    3) 4 weeks ago the builders threatened to take me to court, I tried to resolve the issue by working out the hours with the rate of £45 per which I thought they spent on doing the work and sent them the remaining cheque.
    4) Today I received another letter from them and threatened to take me to court if I do not pay within 7 days. They also told me that they tried to contact the manager at the agency but did not receive the reply, they also told me that the price was agreed with the agency.

    I now no longer use the agency so it is difficult for me to ask them to do a favour for me.

    Could you please let me know if I have done correctly or am I on the losing side if they take me to court. Also if they intend to take me to court then could I use the emails the agency sent me as proof of the agreement (rate of £45) or this is not enough.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Martin.

    #2
    Was the builders' appointment (contract) in writing? Did agents themselves contract, or did they commit you as contracting party?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Hi jeffrey,

      Only in the latest letter they told me that it was agreed with the agent. So I have not seen any contract betwen them. They first invoiced Foxtons on my behalf (cc) but then wrote letters directly to me. So not sure of what you mean "did they commit you as contracting party?"

      Thanks.

      Martin.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Martin_H View Post
        Hi jeffrey,

        Only in the latest letter they told me that it was agreed with the agent. So I have not seen any contract betwen them. They first invoiced Foxtons on my behalf (cc) but then wrote letters directly to me. So not sure of what you mean "did they commit you as contracting party?"

        Thanks.

        Martin.
        OK: builders entered into a contract: but with whom? Was it with:
        a. agents; or
        b. you (via agents)?

        If agents contracted, they become liable. Builders think that work is for agents; they don't know you.

        If agents commit you to the contract (even though you haven't seen it), however, you become liable.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Martin_H View Post
          Foxtons
          Hmmm. This name pops up a lot in such cases.
          Now signature free.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Martin_H View Post
            Last year I let my house out and managed by an agency. Around October we needed to change the gas pipe from plastic to copper which is about 10m long (as the result of gas checks), the agency recommended me over the phone one of their builder suppliers with the rate of £45 per hour and I agreed for them to carry out the work. The work was carried out in two days but scatering out to three days (half day on first and last days).

            However, in late December the builders sent me three separate invoices for each day of work and claimed that the work was emergency and charged me around £2000 in total. I was not happy but still paid them around £1000 which I thought was much more than I expected and asked the agency to sort out the issue and summarised below are the main points:
            I'm flabbergasted - how on earth can it cost £2000 (or even £1000) to swap in 20m of pipe?

            I had a boiler and hob fitted to a property a few months ago and it took the CORGI just over a day to do it (with a second guy for part of the time); they had to install about 15m of new pipe as part of the work.

            Labour cost was £300.

            Comment


              #7
              Hi jeffrey,

              How do I know who they contracted to?? As I said the builders was recommended by the agent, I have never signed any paper with the agent. Also in one of the emails the agent sent me confirming about the rate they did mentioned that subject to their terms and conditions (so I guess in a way this is a contract between themselves). But this is only email they sent to me.

              Thanks and very much appreciated.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Martin_H View Post
                Hi,

                I have an urgent issue, I hope someone can help me what I should do as the builders is threatening to take legal action against me:

                Last year I let my house out and managed by an agency. Around October we needed to change the gas pipe from plastic to copper which is about 10m long (as the result of gas checks), the agency recommended me over the phone one of their builder suppliers with the rate of £45 per hour and I agreed for them to carry out the work. The work was carried out in two days but scatering out to three days (half day on first and last days).

                However, in late December the builders sent me three separate invoices for each day of work and claimed that the work was emergency and charged me around £2000 in total. I was not happy but still paid them around £1000 which I thought was much more than I expected and asked the agency to sort out the issue and summarised below are the main points:

                1) The person from the agency who got me the builder and her manager confirmed with me on 5 separate emails that the rate of £45 was correct and the builders should have revised their invoices and send me a new one.
                2) The manager from the agency told me that he would try to sort out the issue. He told me that he tried to contact the builders but they did not reply to his email, he did send me the email he sent to them.
                3) 4 weeks ago the builders threatened to take me to court, I tried to resolve the issue by working out the hours with the rate of £45 per which I thought they spent on doing the work and sent them the remaining cheque.
                4) Today I received another letter from them and threatened to take me to court if I do not pay within 7 days. They also told me that they tried to contact the manager at the agency but did not receive the reply, they also told me that the price was agreed with the agency.

                I now no longer use the agency so it is difficult for me to ask them to do a favour for me.

                Could you please let me know if I have done correctly or am I on the losing side if they take me to court. Also if they intend to take me to court then could I use the emails the agency sent me as proof of the agreement (rate of £45) or this is not enough.

                Thanks in advance for your help.

                Martin.
                £2000 for 10m, are you sure they didn't use solid gold pipe?
                If they push it, let them take you to court, they are taking the P*ss big time by trying to charge you that amount for such a simple job.
                I think ( I, don't know for sure ) that any judge will see sense in the matter.
                If they do issue a county court summons, back your case up, go and get 2 or 3 quotes from other plumbers ( you should have done this at the start, but that is a different matter ) and see how they stack up again the amount these cowboy's are trying to rip you off for.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Where do I stand from here??

                  Hello Martin,
                  I think that you should ask for a detailed invoice for the work which the Contractors are claiming to have carried out.
                  On the face of it, replacing a few metres of pipework should cost perhaps in the region of a couple of hundreds of pounds.
                  For £2000 you would expect to see a large amount of shiny new equipment. eg. I recently had a new CH boiler supplied and fitted for £1350. Eric has made a similar point in an earlier post. You need to see the breakdown of parts and labour. You would obviously dispute a bill for say £200 worth of pipe and £1800 worth of labour.
                  When you have the detail you will be in a better position to dispute the bill. I also don't think you need to feel that you are asking a favour of your former agents to ask them what instructions they gave to the Contractors. You may find that you have a dispute with the Agents.
                  I'd expect to have a detailed discussion about work costing £2000 and I'd probably get at least a couple of estimates. It's unlikely that you would give your agent free rein to get the job done at any cost.
                  Best of luck,
                  John

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi,

                    Thank you for your comments on the matter. I think we all know the cost is over the top which I tried to explain them but they still stood their ground with the excuse it was an emergency work. My agent told me that it was not an emgergency work as they did not have to work out of working hours or weekend, also they confirmed the rates with me but all through emails.

                    I think what I am looking for here is from the legal point of view if I have fulfilled my duty (in total I already paid them £1400)? Also could I use emails as evidence in case they go ahead and take me to court.

                    Thanks.

                    martin

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I suspect they are bluffing with the court threat. If they did choose to sue you they would probably go down the small claims route. If so you would get notice from the court (particulars of claim) and you would have a chance to write a defence at that point. The judge will then look at the matter and decide how to proceed. I think it very unlikely that they will do this but you would have a chance to defend yourself and you would submit emails and quotes as part of your reply to the particulars of claim.
                      Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                      Comment

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