Opinions please - Plumbers


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Thu May 08, 2008 11:51 am

I don't want to go into too much detail because I am taking legal action against these people.

Basically, I was in the process of installing a new bathroom, out of the blue, the people pulled the job from me, a tiler and a plasterer.

They asked me to invoice them for the work I had completed, which I did, but they then refused to pay, and started making false claims of leaks.

One of them was that a blanking nut (22mm) was only hand tight and over time water accumulated before coming through the ceiling.

They had already had leaks coming through the ceiling prior to my ever meeting them.

They claimed that they had to call out an emergency plumber to fix a separate leak, (not the one mentioned above) two days after I had finished working in their home.

So my question is this: In your professional opinion, if the blanking nut was only hand tight, what is the likelihood of them not noticing right away that it was leaking, (not to mention the emergency plumber) and how long would you expect it to take for the water to start coming through the ceiling?
Mac-the-Wrench
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm

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Postby plumbbob » Fri May 09, 2008 5:48 pm

This is a tricky one to answer as a hand tight fitting can leak immediately the supply is restored but saying that, I have seen fittings that have remained
dry for years. I have also seen leaks that have just started unexpectedly after a period of time and yet joints that have sealed themselves after leaking for a while.

I would always expect an opportunity to rectify any faults with my work before another party is involved. If a customer chooses to engage someone else first, then the cost becomes their responsibility not mine.
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Postby bobplum » Sun May 11, 2008 12:14 pm

good morning
as we all know there is two sides to every story!
firstly why did they pull the job from you,can you give a reason.
had you worked for them before,did they find you or you find them
without any information its hard to really judge
i would look at this way have i really been shafted,if yes then go get them
or do they have some justification,at this point you have to be honest with yourself if you think its 50/50 you may have to way up the cost against the gains
if you feel your justified you may consider also claiming against the client of the tiler and plasterer because im sure somewhere in law they are equally liable,but i could be wrong,as for them calling someone out to make repairs i would want to see the receipts how it was paid,cash ?
and yes they should have given you the right to correct any mistakes
look forward to your reply
bob
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Postby Barry Bunsen » Sun May 11, 2008 5:52 pm

Hi
Im no expert but I can give you some thoughts. If I understand correctly during a job yourself and 2 others were told by your client to invoice and leave for reasons unknown. Following that 2 or more leaks allegedly developed and so you received no payment. Your client must be thinking the cost of the leaks matched the cost of your invoice.
Clearly if this went to court it would get messy and no doubt expensive. Without admitting liaibility you could ask the client to prove those 2 costs balance (ie receipts etc). You could also ask for the return any of your materials if you paid for them. If your client knows he is in the wrong he wont want the hassle or the thought of legal action and may reach a compromise to avoid it.
However, I would first chat to the tiler and the plasterer to share thoughts and find if they actually got paid or have been treated similarly to yourself. If that is the case a joint plan of action would be a good idea.
I hope you get a satisfactory outcome.
Barry Bunsen
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:23 am


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Thu May 29, 2008 9:04 am

[quote="bobplum"]good morning
as we all know there is two sides to every story!
[/quote]

Hi bob, thanks for your reply.

"firstly why did they pull the job from you,can you give a reason."

I don't know, and I gave them no reason as far as I am concerned.


"had you worked for them before,did they find you or you find them"

They were referred to me by a relative of theirs that I had done lots of work for, on a regular basis.


"without any information its hard to really judge"

What is it that you are judging? I am asking for professional opinions on this question:

So my question is this: In your professional opinion, if the blanking nut was only hand tight, what is the likelihood of them not noticing right away that it was leaking, (not to mention the emergency plumber) and how long would you expect it to take for the water to start coming through the ceiling?


"i would look at this way have i really been shafted,if yes then go get them"

I feel shafted. lol

"or do they have some justification,at this point you have to be honest with yourself if you think its 50/50 you may have to way up the cost against the gains"

I think they are totally at it.


"if you feel your justified you may consider also claiming against the client of the tiler and plasterer because im sure somewhere in law they are equally liable,but i could be wrong"

I don't understand what you are saying here. The tiler and plasterer were both put off the job at the same time as I was.


"as for them calling someone out to make repairs i would want to see the receipts how it was paid,cash ?"

I asked for copies of quotes and receipts, and they said that they had been told that legally they were under no obligation to show me anything.


"and yes they should have given you the right to correct any mistakes"

I agree.
Mac-the-Wrench
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Thu May 29, 2008 9:21 am

[quote="Barry Bunsen"]Hi
Im no expert but I can give you some thoughts.[/quote]


Hi Barry, thanks for your reply.

"If I understand correctly during a job yourself and 2 others were told by your client to invoice and leave for reasons unknown."

Almost right but not quite. The plasterer was in the middle of his job, he'd taken the plaster off the wall. He got paid, but I don't think he was charging very much in the first place. The tiler wouldn't start his work until the plasterer was finished, and as he was subbing for me, he didn't have anything to bill them for; and then all that was left was for me to connect the suite to the pipework that I had already put in place. I was asked to invoice for the work carried out by me and parts and materials that I had supplied.


"Following that 2 or more leaks allegedly developed and so you received no payment. Your client must be thinking the cost of the leaks matched the cost of your invoice."

This part became a bit of a saga. The first leak took 5 weeks for them to tell me about, it allegedly happened 2 days after I left the property, and they spoke to me the day after that, but never mentioned it. The second alleged leak was mentioned 2 months after I left the property. Two weeks after that, I was informed that the ceiling was damaged by the second alleged leak, but was never mentioned at the time they informed me of the 2nd alleged leak. All of this was done by letter, which took them weeks to respond to, and in one case, my letter was completely ignored.


"Clearly if this went to court it would get messy and no doubt expensive."

I've already had the first hearing, and will have a final hearing in a couple of weeks. It's all small claims, so the costs are minimal; the hassle is a bigger trial, along with the time having to do all of this.


"Without admitting liaibility you could ask the client to prove those 2 costs balance (ie receipts etc)."

I did, see my reply to bob above.


"You could also ask for the return any of your materials if you paid for them. If your client knows he is in the wrong he wont want the hassle or the thought of legal action and may reach a compromise to avoid it."

I think they have let things go too far, and the guy is now bloody minded about it all, so compromise is out of the window. The judge told them they need more proof than they have provided so far, and to lodge it with the court. I am watching this space with interest.


"However, I would first chat to the tiler and the plasterer to share thoughts and find if they actually got paid or have been treated similarly to yourself. If that is the case a joint plan of action would be a good idea."

Already covered this above. :o)


"I hope you get a satisfactory outcome. "

Thanks so do I

Mac
Mac-the-Wrench
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Thu May 29, 2008 9:25 am

[quote="plumbbob"]This is a tricky one to answer......[/quote]

Hi bob, thanks for your reply.

"This is a tricky one to answer as a hand tight fitting can leak immediately the supply is restored but saying that, I have seen fittings that have remained
dry for years."

I've never known a hand-tight fitting to remain dry, that's why I wanted others professional opinions.


"I have also seen leaks that have just started unexpectedly after a period of time and yet joints that have sealed themselves after leaking for a while."

I've seen that too.


"I would always expect an opportunity to rectify any faults with my work before another party is involved. If a customer chooses to engage someone else first, then the cost becomes their responsibility not mine."

I would agree with that, but I think their argument would be that they had lost confidence in my abilities, and therefore would choose to get someone else in.
Mac-the-Wrench
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm


Postby bobplum » Thu May 29, 2008 6:59 pm

mac the wrench
how are you getting on with the court case
i thought the tiler and plasterer dumped you sorry misread the email
bob
bobplum
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:35 pm


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:33 am

[quote="bobplum"]mac the wrench
how are you getting on with the court case[/quote]

Hi bob, thanks for your reply.

I have a final hearing in a couple of weeks, I am confident of winning the case.

[quote="bobplum"]i thought the tiler and plasterer dumped you sorry misread the email
bob[/quote]

No problem, probably lack of sleep. :lol:

Mac
Mac-the-Wrench
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm


Postby Mac-the-Wrench » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:03 am

An update!

I went to the small claims court in mid-June, the day before I went on holiday for two weeks, and they didn't turn up, so the judge gave the decree to me. I thought great, I can go away and stop thinking about this and come back to a nice cheque! :lol:

I came back from holiday on Tuesday and found a letter from the court informing me that they have appealed the decree on the grounds that they thought the hearing would be at the same time as the first hearing. So it goes back to court soon, unfortunately I can't attend due to work commitments 400 miles away. So I won't find out more until I get back. More later. :cry:

Mac
Mac-the-Wrench
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:48 pm


Postby bobplum » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:32 pm

keep the faith brother keep the faith
its like a good book ,i cant wait to get to the end
bob
bobplum
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:35 pm


Postby Skids » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:33 am

Hi Mac-the-Wrench

Sorry for all the questions, it’s a lesson for all plumbers not just you, as well as clients.

Have you got ‘Terms & Conditions’ as in customer complaints procedure?
Were T&C given to client?
Did you give the client a/some kind of written ‘agreement of work’?
Did client sign a ‘contract of work’?
Did you take any ‘pre work photos’?
Was the defects noted in the ‘contract of work’?
Did the client put their complaints in writing? Seems strange to “ask for a invoice them for the work you had completed” if client is not happy I would have thought they would not be paying!
Did the client make ‘false claims of leaks’ in writing?

Water dose not “accumulated before coming through a ceiling”

A compression fitting ‘blanking nut only hand tight’ would leak as soon as you turned the water back on!

“separate leak”, was it connected to the work you did?

Did the client not give you the opportunity to fix the leak even an emergency one? Or had they stated that they did not want you back on site?

Was the ‘emergency plumber’ shown the blanking nut, if it was the cause of the leak it is strange he did not find it.

All the best

Skids
Skids
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:35 pm


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