Builder won't finish job after being paid (V2)

Hello All,
I'm struggling with this one, I'm finding it quite stressful and don't know what to do.....
I had a look and found another thread similar to mine but there are some key difference hence this is (V2)

I went on MyBuilder website and posted a job for full plastering of my 4 bed semi, found a guy, he quote the work in a written email, we agreed and he started.
The job was split into two parts (Phase #1 & #2), which straddle the summer holidays and gave us a bit of a chance to save to get it done.

It was all going ok-ish, there were some issues which were getting tallied up on a Phase #1 snagging list, which we agreed would get dealt with when they returned for Phase #2. There's about 10 items which can be linked to the quote, i.e. one wall in the living room is not plastered, quote states all walls in living room to be plastered. All 10 are all similar to this where either a wall has been missed, or he's plastered over cooker socket cable entries or not plastered the light switch hole so the switch doesn't cover the hole, cracks on the plaster etc 

He asked to be paid cash (.....i can feel the wincing from the reader!!),which I paid him £4000 to finish Phase #1, which we agreed on the bases of him returning to finish the job (snagging list + Phase#2).

He said he would return in September and he hasn't, he's not returning my phone calls, I've tried about 10 times, sent about half a dozen text messages and a couple of WhatsApp message, which I know he's seen because you can tell he's read them - so he's ignoring me. I'm sending him very politely messages, asking if he's ok and if anything's wrong I'm happy to discuss - I'm easy!

I've then done a bit of research into his company (.....more wincing from the reader!!), and he states he's a limited company, but is not registered on Companies House nor is there any reference numbers in his quote or addresses. He has a Facebook account for his building company but that states a different name, but references the same email and phone number that is in his quote, he also gave a postcode on his Facebook account.

Basically at this point I done a whole load of flapping and started to panic a bit as I didn't have much information about this guy, not even sure of his full name, and now I'm thinking he's not coming back, even though I've asked him really nicely!!

So I done a bit of detective work with the information I had and with 192.com then the post office website then back to 192.com advance search, about 45 minutes later I managed to get his full name and address or address from the Electoral Roll from last year but I believe he is still there - all for free.

Basically, he's done (less than) half the job - which he's been paid for, left quite a few issues or unfinished parts, and won't come back to correct the issues or finish the job (Phase#2), however I would let him back to fix the snagging list, finish the job and I would pay him what he quoted - I just want the work done.


What to do next.....

I have been um'ing and arr'ing about following this up with a written letter to his property and business email stating that I want the issues fixed and for him to complete the work detailed in the quote, and I would pay him to do so, and state that if he didn't then I would take legal action.

This is based on my thinking that he started the work he quoted, which essentially forms a contract?
Him accepting cash and him not being registered on company house even though he states he is - HMRC would be interested about?
Him being a sole trader and this going to the courts could be quite painful for him?
Should this go to the Small claims court?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, please be gentle - I'm already beating myself up!

Comments

  • marcia_
    marcia_ Posts: 1,494
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    edited 9 October 2023 at 5:44PM
     If it was me i would send a letter before action letter to the address you have found. Then small claims.

     HMRC won't be interested as taking cash is fine and you dong know if he's paying tax or not.?
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 13,775
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    As above, send a letter before action.

    Forget the cash and HMRC matter.  Accepting cash is perfectly legitimate and if you thought it might be a tax avoidance measure, why did you pay that way?  That's a rhetorical question, but you can see why it's not a route you want to go down.
  • Thanks @Marcia_ & @Alyesbury_Duck.
    My question about cash & HMRC was a question as i didn't know if i would get in trouble for paying him in cash.

    Good shout, i'll send a letter detailing issue first and give him time to respond.

    Would you send a separate letter saying you're now taking him to court if he doesn't respond? Or just file a case? 
  • marcia_
    marcia_ Posts: 1,494
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    Thanks @Marcia_ & @Alyesbury_Duck.
    My question about cash & HMRC was a question as i didn't know if i would get in trouble for paying him in cash.

    Good shout, i'll send a letter detailing issue first and give him time to respond.

    Would you send a separate letter saying you're now taking him to court if he doesn't respond? Or just file a case? 
    See here for a template and explanation 

    https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter/letter-before-small-claims-court-claim-aSFAC8Q6Jqan
  • Thanks @Marcia_ & @Alyesbury_Duck.
    My question about cash & HMRC was a question as i didn't know if i would get in trouble for paying him in cash.

    Good shout, i'll send a letter detailing issue first and give him time to respond.

    Would you send a separate letter saying you're now taking him to court if he doesn't respond? Or just file a case? 
    FWIW - I agree with sending a letter first. A letter before claim/action is a hostile act in my opinion and is only done when you are happy for the contract to be terminated. Also be careful on what you claim for - they are entitled to the money for the work they’ve done but you can claim the money required for the snagging. For example if he’s done 30% of the work he is entitled to that portion of the overall work, and you can’t claim those as damages. 

    But yes, I would send a letter giving a week to respond with a date he is able to come and visit the house (and potentially put in there a date you want the job completed by), to try and bring them back to the table to get the work done. Then failing that, I would look at legal action. Hopefully it won’t come to that. 
  • Thanks Marcia for the link.

    Don't know if any has heard of the below: 
    I read that if i were to make a claim I could claim the difference to finish the job as well i.e. if he was going to charge £3200 to finish the job as per the quote/contract and i got a new quote and they say it would cost £4000, I could claim the difference - £800??
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,618
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    You can only claim for the work still due but done i.e. the snagging work. 
     You have not paid for phase 2 so cannot claim for that
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