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Money Moral Dilemma: A building firm hasn't invoiced me for shoddy work - should I chase it up?



  • Bonnypitlad
    Bonnypitlad Forumite Posts: 71
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts
    The builders are probably sending their invoice to your old address, the one you sold to the unsuspecting buyers who discovered the dodgy bathroom after they moved in
    I bet you didn’t leave the new owners your forwarding address?
    The builders and the new owners are probably trying to chase you
    I would start saving now and not spend money on holidays if you want to be able to sleep at night 
    The poor builder may be trying to support an aged parent and Tiny Tim needs an operation 
    On the other hand he may be a crook who scams pensioners... so good luck to you
  • ka7e
    ka7e Forumite Posts: 3,029
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic
    I have a similar dilemma and have had the money put aside for 2 years, but I'm pretty sure it's been written off. The fitters (who were paid) made a relatively small error fitting flooring, but to correct it, it would probably require the whole lot to be replaced. The owner acknowledged the mistake, but despite several phone calls, never arranged for it to be rectified or submitted an invoice.

    "Cheap", "Fast", "Right" -- pick two.
  • DRP
    DRP Forumite Posts: 4,255
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Hell no. When you receive contact and an invoice, then you pay.
  • wicked-weasel
    wicked-weasel Forumite Posts: 4
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    So 2 things:
    1. I have put questions myself on here and know they 'simplify' the phraseology somewhat and sometimes miss key nuances 'condensing' the question...
    2. I have had a very similar thing occur (although I didn't sell my house at the time).

    In answer (and assuming the works were put right to a 'serviceable' standard regardless of what you, perhaps, actually wanted initially):
    As long as they have a valid way of contacting you - the onus is on them to contact/invoice you. After this occurs, you can, indeed, argue your point and as long as you stay in active and reasonable contact with them (being the critical thing), you are freely entitled to dispute / argue your point(s) with them on the 'sub-standard' works etc to negotiate a 'settlement' and by all means - go to small claims court if needs be. 
    Having said all that - strongly suggest, as others have, put money to one side that you 'would' have paid them and leave there of a few years. After which point (assuming they came back to you in 3-4 years for example), most small-claims judges would throw out invoices exceeding this period without mitigating circumstance from the contracting company but this is NOT a legal precedence but 'reasonable expectation' in light of circumstance. ** I am NOT a Lawyer - I can only speak to what happened in my case and there are many parameters to consider so I can't say this will/will not happen in yours... I 'think' the legal threshold is technically 6 years ...
    If you want to get something more definitive on this, suggest an hour of time with a lawyer (there are online legal experts who will not charge much) but do give them all the info and not bias towards the outcome you want ;-)

    You can, of course, reach out to the company with a letter advising you are not happy with the standard / parts supplied where not as originally spec'd and as such, offer to pay them £x and get the situation resolved. Odds on, assuming you are reasonable and note all valid key points - they will accept and you can move on and 'save a few pennies' for a rainy day.

    There might also the possibility (perhaps?) the company has gone into liquidation/wound up and administrators are trying to sort through so that might account for the long lead time in contacting you to invoice...
  • Mobile232
    Mobile232 Forumite Posts: 1
    First Post
    You've had the work corrected now and since moved house? Does the contractor have your new address ( or contact details?) If not I'd contact them as they may not know how to contact you
  • keithyno.1
    keithyno.1 Forumite Posts: 81
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 24 August 2022 at 11:36AM
    Technically you are committing theft if you don’t pay, even for shoddy work. However, if they have written it off, that is another matter, but you need to contact them and ask. 

    Sorry, but that’s just rubbish. Theft is a criminal offence, which would be pursued through the criminal justice system by the Crown Prosecution Service if they felt there was a reasonable chance of a trial leading to conviction. 
    This ‘dilemma’ relates to a contract in law created by a seller/service provider and a customer. Non-fulfilment by either party may eventually be dealt with by the civil courts if an agreement/compromise could not be reached. Non-payment of a bill or invoice has never been classed as theft.
    As it stands in this case, the poster could not reasonably be expected to pay for the work if they haven’t received a bill or invoice for it (assuming they advised the company of their new address or where to send it to) and it’s highly unlikely that any civil court would find against them if the company could not provide evidence of one being issued (e.g. a copy of it). It shouldn’t be incumbent upon the customer to have to request a bill or invoice and as such I would advise them not to pay a penny until one is forthcoming from the company, and even then they may be able to dispute the invoice amount due to the work being carried out to an unsatisfactory standard.

  • honestcove
    honestcove Forumite Posts: 67
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    If you haven’t paid for the bathroom, you do not have title to the goods comprised in the work. You have then sold the bathroom (as it has become part of the building/land) and unless this point has been specifically mentioned in the legal contract of land sale you have probably made a false or incomplete declaration and are liable to be sued by the house purchaser for any losses that they might incur as a result of this.
  • annieshb
    annieshb Forumite Posts: 29
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts
    You may yet receive an invoice. I’ve had good contractors who have taken an age to send invoice.
    If faults were corrected I’m not sure why you wouldn’t pay . Mistakes happen . The owners may now have laid off poor workers etc. small companies work on a shoestring and as you were happy to sell your house after work was done I think you should pay.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Forumite Posts: 15,737
    Ninth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper PPI Party Pooper
    Keep the money for the job available and do not assume the payment has been written off, but I certainly wouldn't be chasing them to pay. 
  • astroL
    astroL Forumite Posts: 69
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    You sold a house with a dodgy bathroom ?

    I hope that the new owners pursue you.

    It doesn't work like that.  The buyers instruct a surveyor to check many things, the solicitor checks the legality and the buyer has to satisfy themselves that everything is OK. The seller has a moral obligation to answer questions accurately but otherwise - what you see is what you get.
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