Hiring a ‘cowboy’ builder is, unfortunately, an experience common to many… but what if you hired unqualified architect?
A Which? member commissioned an architect to manage a project on their home.
They had specifically wanted a professional architect to handle the stress of the project, but found constant errors in the drawings and administration of the work.
The Architects Registration Board later confirmed that the person they had hired was not in fact an architect, and that to describe themselves as such would potentially be a criminal offence.
The dispute escalated to the small claims court, where the trader claimed for unpaid bills. The member counterclaimed with advice from Which? Legal.
We advised the member of their rights in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, as the trader he’d hired did not demonstrate ‘reasonable care and skill’ as required by the Act.
Furthermore, they were in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, as they had failed to clarify their professional status.
When the trader issued proceedings against the member, Which? Legal advised them on how to respond to the court documents and to issue a counterclaim for breach of contract.
The trader did not attend the final hearing, and the judge decided in favour of the member for their claim of £4,864.05.
The Consumer Rights Act states that a trader must provide their service with reasonable care and skill.
In addition, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 states that it is an offence to mislead a consumer or use aggressive selling practices.
Furthermore it can lead to criminal sanctions. The law states that it’s always unfair for a trader to untruthfully claim or even imply that they are approved, endorsed or authorised by a public or private body.
These laws allowed the member to claim their losses. The court used its discretion to strike out the trader’s claim, as they failed to attend the final hearing and did not give appropriate notice to the court.
Have you ever hired an architect that didn’t live up to your expectations? What about hiring traders generally who didn’t do a good job?