Heat pump supplier charging for work done by builder, court claim potential?
I'll try to keep this
brief, leaving out a lot of finer detail, but hopefully this conveys the gist
of it all. I bought a house that needed a lot of work doing to it and decided
to get a heat pump fitted, which also required new radiators to be supplied by
the heat pump company (HP). From placing the initial order to installation was
about 2 months.
During this time my builder and I were getting on with renovations including altering pipe work, fitting the new radiators, installing electrical cable and making suitable bases for the heat pump/hot water tank. We had a few discussions with the HP in person and over the phone about what we were doing to keep them updated. In short, we did a lot of the work that the HP company was meant to do as per their agreement. They were very vague, wouldn’t discuss money but assured me that they would sort it out later. I paid the initial deposit on time as well as the second payment.
In the HP agreement it stated that the installation would take 2 to 3 days, because of the work that we did they had everything finished in 1 day. The fitters were subcontractors. At the end of the day of the install the MD of HP turned up unannounced in his new Audi A6 and young son (who was constantly interrupting both of us) asking for the final payment straight away, I pointed out the work that we had done that the sub-contractor didn’t have to, thus enabling them to complete in a single day. HP MD pleaded poverty and said that the subs were on a fixed rate and agreed to knock off £200. This didn’t even cover the cost of materials I had paid for in their stead, let alone the labour I paid my builder. Also, HP was aware well in advance of the subs coming that we were doing this work so they wouldn’t have to. The following week he agreed to a £300 reduction, however we worked out that it should be £800 and that was being generous.
I paid the final balance less the £500 difference. However, HP withheld the information required for me to sign up for the RHI payments which were due to end in the following month (£10K over 7 years) as well as not removing the rubbish the subs had left. I sent them a few emails which detailed everything and tried speaking to them but in the end, I had to pay the disputed £500 to avoid losing out on the RHI payment. I have been in touch with the trade bodies that HP belongs to, submitted the evidence and not gotten anywhere.
Finally just to illustrate the type of person that I am dealing with but a separate irritation, when I placed the order for the heat pump HP said that if I ordered Solar PV at the same time it would be £4800 all in, I said yes (I have all of this in emails). Over the two months I kept asking about the solar and kept being told ‘We’ll sort it out later’, on heat pump installation day they sent a new quote which was £5200. When I queried where this extra £400 had come from I got some vague answer about scaffolding costs. I got someone else to do the solar PV.
I am considering ‘small claims’ court for the disputed £500 on the heat pump and would like to know what people’s opinions are.
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If the HP company had quoted X amount to install a heat pump and your builder did a lot of the work without agreement then unfortunately I think you're still on the hook for the amount that was quoted, it's not the HP company's problem that they had less work to do, you were quoted for the job as a whole.
I'm not saying that an absence of such agreement would scupper any case that you might have, but you must see that if there were such an agreement that you could evidence, that it would make your claim much simpler?
For all you or I know, their costs might have been the same whether you had done the work in question or not. If they've engaged contractors for two days work but they only do one, they might still be obliged to pay them for two. You might argue that they should have realised that because of the work you did that it should have been obvious, but unless you had discussed it and agreed it in advance, maybe it wasn't obvious...
The reason I got my builder to do the work was because he did it tidier than the HP would have and the MD even confirmed this when we all met in person, for example; HP would have routed cables around the exterior of the house, my builder put them under the floorboards as we had them up anyway. For the new radiators, the pipes did not align, HP would have just put in right angled joints, whereas my builder altered the pipes under the floorboards (as they were up anyway) to make it all neater - admittedly I cannot expect HP to cover the full cost of this, but it still saves them quite a lot of work not having to mount radiators and put rubbish looking pipes in. Also other things.
Please see my response to Shiraz, I feel like I've been strung along by HP, they made me feel like it would all be ok, but now I realise it was delay tactics so they could wriggle out at the end. We had to get the work done so that we could move in and also there was the looming deadline of the RHI changing.
Yes of course.
Well that's what HP MD claimed, BUT he knew so far in advance about all of this and we did discuss it in person and over the phone several times.
You had an agreement to pay £XXXX to have the a heat pump fitted.
Just because you wanted to do some of the work yourself and made them aware of what you were doing, doesn't mean you can just demand money off the bill.
They had contracted so many man hours to the job and can't just redeploy people to make back that money.
I appreciate that is frustrating, but unless you have a contract in place agreeing to a specific reduction based on you doing the work, then you need to pay the bill in full.
We had a bathroom fitted and the bathroom fitter wanted a ridiculous (IMO) amount. We then agreed a much lower amount on the basis we ripped the old bathroom out and we did the tiling work ourselves and installed the floor ourselves so the contract was agreed upon and amended.
Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')
No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
You and HP agreed a price and what work needed to be done.
You got someone else to do some of the agreed work without agreeing how much discount you would get.
HP agreed to a £300 discount.
After that you want £800 discount.
Just because you want a bigger discount, I can't see how legally you would be entitled to one.