/ Home & Energy

Brief cases: ever had bad work done on your house?

Which? Legal members came to us for help when¬†they were told their roof was in danger of collapsing. As they paid on credit card, they weren’t out of luck…

Linda and Ben Davies faced a £10,000 bill to stop their roof collapsing after repair work left it unsound. But with our help the couple were able to have it fixed without having to pay out a single penny.

The couple had contacted The Roof Revive Company Ltd, of York, when they saw that their 13-year-old conservatory roof was starting to show signs of age. The firm quoted more than £3,000 to do the job, including insulation.

The Davies accepted the quote and the work was finished in March 2012. But six months later the couple noticed some of the roof had begun to warp.

They contacted the company again, which tried to fix it, but, in January 2014, water started to leak into the conservatory. The firm again tried to reseal it in February but did the work in heavy rain and said they weren’t sure it would work.

Sure enough, it did leak again. Linda and Ben say they were then advised to wait for better weather. This left them with a leaking conservatory roof at the height of the wettest winter for nearly 250 years. They also faced paying for the work again. The company later stopped responding to enquiries and the couple found that it had gone out of business.

Which? Legal advice

legal couple

Linda and Ben contacted us. We advised that as the original cost was more than £100 and they’d used a credit card to pay for it, they should ask the card firm, Halifax, for help, as laid out in section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.  They followed our advice and were impressed at how helpful Halifax was.

It advised them to get an expert’s report (which Halifax would pay for). The survey found the whole conservatory roof needed replacing as the work was structurally unsound and in danger of collapse, due to the roof’s weight and the water now in the insulating layer. Halifax was again prompt and approved work at its expense for £10,000.

What the law says on the Consumer Credit Act 1974

If you buy something on a credit card and there is a breach of contract or misrepresentation, you can hold the credit card firm liable as long as the cost of the goods or service was more than £100 and not more than £30,000.

Section 75 doesn’t say how much you must spend on the credit card to be covered, so although the couple paid only £3,000 by credit card, they could still claim more than £10,000.

If you have difficulty with your credit card firm, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Have you ever had a similar situation and asked your card firm for help? Did you have any difficulty in getting them to pay up?

Cairney says:
30 January 2015

We had new windows and doors installed before christmas and the sub contractor who did the work for DALMATION WINDOWS did a very shabby job. The main problem however is the large window supplied by them which ‘bounces visibly when cleaning the window or if it is windy outside! We paid for half of the work up front and took out a loan with Barclays for the rest. Barclays have been involved and managed to get them to come out and patch up the work done by the first lot but done nothing about the window and both parties now claim job is closed and they are happy with it what can we do? Can we refuse to pay the loan until window is replaced? It seems that 4mm glass on a window that size is fine because a computer says so. The original surveyor who came out to check from THEIR company says 6mm glass would have been more sensible where do we go from here? and can we claim compensation for all the carry on and time wasted calling them, waiting in for defferent surveyors etc? Any advice would be welcome!

Since this work was done so recently I think you should cerainly pursue the manufacturer, not their installation sub-contractor, and possibly employ a solicitor to act for you. Without knowing the dimensions of the window it is not possible to say what thickness of glass should have been used but for a large window nothing less than 6mm would usually be suitable. The window should not flex in the wind or when being cleaned. Whether you can withhold further payment from Barclays might depend on the relationship between yourself, the main company and the bank: if the introduction for the bank came via the company, or if the money was paid direct from the bank to the company, or if the company were named in the loan agreement, or if the company could in any other way be related to the availability of the bank loan, then it might be worth informing Barclays that you intend to stop the repayments and await their response. If on the other hand you just happened to get a loan from the bank independently I believe you will be adding to your troubles if you get into arrears or default on the loan repayments. Bear in mind that your credit rating might be at stake. The window must be of suitable quality and fit for purpose, and it must be installed in a workmanlike manner: if not, you have legal remedies such as repair or replacement [if you put “Sale of Goods Act” in the index on this website, at the top right on this page, you will get a list of helpful articles which have links to guides to your consumer rights]. You might be able to get your local Trading Standards Service to take the case up for you, and Citizen’s Advice could probably give you free advice as well. In addition, the main supplier company might belong to an industry body that has a complaint-handling and dispute-resolution scheme. There are several other Conversations on this website about problems with double glazing installers so look for those in the index as well.