Disputes with contractors and eye watering debt collection fee?

by Readers Question

13:28 PM, 30th June 2017
About A year ago

Disputes with contractors and eye watering debt collection fee?

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Disputes with contractors and eye watering debt collection fee?

Dear 118 Readers and Team,

I’ve got an on going issue with a window contractor who overhauled the sash windows on a listed property we rent out, being listed means no UPVC so we upgraded the existing to be as efficient as they could be. Total job came to over £10k.

However, I have an issue with 3 aspects of the job, firstly materials have been invoiced for, but have not been used on the job. I can physically count the items used verses those on the invoice, there is a window that has a broken balance weight and won’t stay open. He has offered to fix this, but will not be responsible for the making good and repainting afterwards, and there are some additional charges for extra items undertaken that are eye watering.

I consider the level of these charges to be unreasonable and not representative of the time taken ie approx. £220 charged for 15mins work to fit 2 weather bars, one rubs the door frame, no sealant behind, no dowels to screw holes.

I will ad that my background is in the building trade, so although sash window joinery is not my area of expertise I have a good grasp of the tasks and processes involved.

So over the last few months the contractor and I have been arguing about the above points but we have failed to reach a satisfactory solution.The amount we’re arguing over here is the final £600.

Today a demand from a debt collector arrives with an eye watering fee added by them for late payment. So really I’m looking for some pointers as to which way to move forward. I was always under the impression that if an account is in dispute it can’t be collected until the dispute is resolved?

The debt collectors have now been advised that the account is in dispute so no further action by them can be undertaken, however they say that their charges incurred still stand to the date they were advised that account is in dispute, is this correct?

Thanks in advance

John



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:31 PM, 30th June 2017
About A year ago

Hi John,

I may be completely wrong but do you not have to go to court first to ascertain if you owe any money and how much.

Then if you refuse to pay a CCJ can be recorded against you and then the debt attempted to be recovered?

jenny oldfield

9:22 AM, 1st July 2017
About A year ago

hi. you do not have to pay late payment charges if you are not paying because you dispute the claim for money (and you can only have charges claimed where the contract you signed up to allows that (and even then they need to be reasonable) or they are in accordance with the late payment act). If I were you I would get an independent contractor (reputable) to assess the cost of rectification and send the quote to the original contractor and invite him to put right the works. if they don't then get the works done and counterclaim the cost. (All this of course assumes you are correct in your belief the works are incomplete). also look at the mediation services out there ... sometimes better than going to court. hope that helps.

John Frith

8:33 AM, 2nd July 2017
About A year ago

I'm not sure what your legal position is either, but if it was me I would have offered to pay the undisputed amount. Once this has been accepted it then becomes a commercial decision whether they want to take you to court for the disputed amount - less likely than if they are pursuing the full amount.

Paul Green

1:07 AM, 4th July 2017
About A year ago

Don't you take the builder to a small claims court for poor workmanship under damages.....


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