Pursuing a small contractor

wonka

RMS Regular
Messages
2,983
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Saab
Without going in to too much detail, I’m looking for some advice on how to proceed with an issue we’re experiencing at the moment.

We’re doing up our kitchen at the moment. We had our painter/decorator spray our kitchen cupboards and all of our skirting/architrave - no issues. Then we brought in a company to pour epoxy on our worktops and floor, along with splashbacks. We were basically out of our kitchen for a week while the work was carried out as they needed a dust-free environment, etc. Upon everything being dry, etc. we had the chance to review the work and it was really awful. The plan was that they would pour self-leveller over the existing tiles, then pour the epoxy over that. Basically it looks like they haven’t worked the self-leveller correctly - the floor is not level and there are ‘bubbles’ through the epoxy. In addition to this, the finish is awful, epoxy doesn’t even run right up to the edge of the floor in several places, etc, etc. The worktops are also awful (I have a list of issues with them) although there’s some confusion around whether or not they were ‘finished’ - they claim they hadn’t finished, yet they were coming to fit the sink when I stopped them. We had to pay a 40% deposit upfront and I have asked for this to be refunded, based on the state they left our floor in and the fact I have zero confidence in them finishing the worktops to an acceptable standard.

If I were to go down the legal route, what would be the likelihood of us recouping the costs of the deposit?

If we weren’t to go down the legal route, what are people’s thoughts on posting an honest review on Facebook and sharing it around the place (a 5min video pointing out the various issues). Does that then make me the d1ck? While it would feel good to hit them where it hurts, ultimately would it be eirth
 

Big Pimp

RMS Trader
Messages
12,862
Location
Downpatrick
Drives
X5 50d & M3
Firstly, when epoxy is down its down forever pretty much.

On the floors , nothing short of a kango on the floor will lift it

work tops will be f*cked too mate.

no matter what the outcome, be prepared for a long job to fix that. And if the contractor isn’t prepared to put it right, let them know you’re intending to put it all over social media
 

Alemsee

RMS Regular
Messages
618
Maybe best to discuss a way out with the company to either finish it to the standard expected or refund the deposit. If they finish a good job then you’re happy. If they refund the deposit then you’re no worse off and you replace the worktops and floors.

Have you seen other works done to a good standard by this crowd and do you know how long they’re in this line of work?

I’m guessing it’s really a one man band outfit?
 

wonka

RMS Regular
Messages
2,983
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Saab
Firstly, when epoxy is down its down forever pretty much.

On the floors , nothing short of a kango on the floor will lift it

work tops will be f*cked too mate.

no matter what the outcome, be prepared for a long job to fix that. And if the contractor isn’t prepared to put it right, let them know you’re intending to put it all over social media
I have the floor ripped up already - my wife couldn’t look at it, so 3 of us got tore into it on Saturday with kangos. Tiler coming next week to put tiles down. Going to see about a new worktop during the week - it’s basically just a case of sliding the old one out and sliding the new one in (at least that’s what a couple of kitchen fitters have told us).

Initially I was prepared for them to put it right - I basically sent them an email giving them 2 options - come back and fix it (at no further cost to us) or walk away from it. I made it clear that if they put it right, there would be no negative reviews, we’d consider the matter closed, etc. I gave them 24hrs and they didn’t respond.

During that time I had 2 people come to look at it to give me their opinion and I also did a bit of digging into the company who did the work and also the company who certified them. This highlighted several things they had lied to us about from day one. I then emailed them back saying that due to the breakdown of trust/confidence we didn’t want them to fix it - instead we wanted them to refund our deposit.

I’m used to writing emails like this in work, although I did have a solicitor advise me on how to bring up the social media aspect - I didn’t want it to sound like a threat
 

wonka

RMS Regular
Messages
2,983
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Saab
Maybe best to discuss a way out with the company to either finish it to the standard expected or refund the deposit. If they finish a good job then you’re happy. If they refund the deposit then you’re no worse off and you replace the worktops and floors.

Have you seen other works done to a good standard by this crowd and do you know how long they’re in this line of work?

I’m guessing it’s really a one man band outfit?
Therein lies part of the problem. They showed us examples of ‘completed work’ when they first came out to us. However, now that I have dug into them a bit I have found that they didn’t actually work on those projects and have actually only been certified fairly recently.

For example, he showed us a garage floor he had allegedly completed for a woman in Carryduff who had won money on the Euromillions, bought a nice car and built a garage for it, with epoxy floor and the car logo on it. However, when I did a little digging, I initially went to the company over here who certified him (who actually look like bigger cowboys than him) and then to the parent company in the USA. I found the same picture on the USA website, but without the number plate blurred out. It’s an American plate and it’s a left hand drive car. I’ve put it to him in the email that while I can’t prove he didn’t do that floor, it seems highly likely he’s been lying to us from the first time he stepped through our door. My brother-in-law and his wife were also with us when he came that first night and confirmed to me that I hadn’t picked him up wrong.

They have successfully completed other projects. There’s a guy a few doors down from me, who owns a physio practise and they did the floor in his treatment room, which he is more than happy with. I imagine it would have to have been finished to a high quality, but it’s a small square room, whereas ours is our kitchen and utility, with breakfast bar in the kitchen and dig leg in the utility, etc. They’ve also done a local gym floor, which is obviously a big area, but I imagine a more industrial finish wouldn’t look out of place there anyway.
 

salster

RMS Regular
Messages
308
Location
belfast
Drives
mini
i seem an advert for a 3 day city&guilds certified epoxy course. for me that says it all because i could be a fully qualified epoxy installer in 3 days. how anybody can be an expert and master a craft in 3 days is beyond me. a load of chancers if you ask me. if the company are not fair with you tell the world of your experience.
 

Alemsee

RMS Regular
Messages
618
I hate to say I’m not one bit surprised but good to hear you’re getting sorted. Nothing worse than getting caught by a cowboy but lesson learnt I guess
 

wonka

RMS Regular
Messages
2,983
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Saab
i seem an advert for a 3 day city&guilds certified epoxy course. for me that says it all because i could be a fully qualified epoxy installer in 3 days. how anybody can be an expert and master a craft in 3 days is beyond me. a load of chancers if you ask me. if the company are not fair with you tell the world of your experience.
The particular one they seem to have used is either a one day or two day course for something like £485 + VAT. I completely agree, there’s no way that could be learnt in such a short time. I’ve highlighted that in my email to them and pointed out that under construction law there’s a huge difference between being qualified/certified to do something and being competent at doing something.
 

Coog

Admin
Messages
40,302
Drives
MK2 Golf
First of all how did you pay the deposit?

Secondly, I don't think going legal will be particularly fruitful given you've not really given them much opportunity for resolving. 24hrs isn't a long time. Presumably you've an independent report for all the problems and evidence to support the lying? They should have had opportunity to respond to that.

Lastly, social media naming and shaming only works for bigger established or honest outfits. If they're a fly by night operation with a Kellogg's gift bag certificate they can quite easily just create a new social media profile and crack on.
 

wonka

RMS Regular
Messages
2,983
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Saab
First of all how did you pay the deposit?

Secondly, I don't think going legal will be particularly fruitful given you've not really given them much opportunity for resolving. 24hrs isn't a long time. Presumably you've an independent report for all the problems and evidence to support the lying? They should have had opportunity to respond to that.

Lastly, social media naming and shaming only works for bigger established or honest outfits. If they're a fly by night operation with a Kellogg's gift bag certificate they can quite easily just create a new social media profile and crack on.
Deposit was paid by bank transfer.

I gave them 24hrs from my initial email to get back to me and confirm how they were going to fix the work. Essentially I had pulled together his quotations, broken them down between floor and worktop, shown what we have paid to that point, etc. and emailed this across to him. I also sent him a WhatsApp to let him know I had sent the email and asking him to give me a call when he had looked over it. I hate it when a client phones me to discuss figures and I don’t have them in front of me, so I was trying to give them the opportunity to review and confirm.

I don’t have a report from anyone - just a lot of photos and a video of the work. I think any independent observer would agree that the work is sub-standard. Anyone would expect that if you’re having an epoxy floor poured it should go right up to the edge and they shouldn’t be pouring laquer over self-leveller. That’s how bad it is - I’m not talking about a few minor imperfections that only an expert would notice. But I do take your point that if it was to go to court something more official could be required.

To clarify, I gave him from Friday to COB Monday to confirm his proposal to refund us (which he hasn’t done). While I appreciate this is much shorter than the normal 7 days, the solicitor I have spoken to off the record agrees that it’s reasonable given the level of disruption caused and given that if we were to instruct a solicitor to pursue them there would be an additional 7 days for them to respond to the solicitors letter anyway.

I’m well aware that when it comes to any form of adjudication, there is an expectation that the contractor is to be given the opportunity to rectify defects in the first instance, however given the breakdown in trust/confidence and their initial failure to respond, I don’t believe I’ve been unreasonable.

My intention with regard to social media would be to put the video on my own page, tagging his business page and the company who certifies him. I know plenty of people who would share this around our area. In fact I actually manage 2 pages with a combined following of almost 1000 people in our local area. However, while I’m prepared to go down this route, it’s not something I want to do. I certainly wouldn’t have a lot of respect for someone doing the same thing if you know what I mean. I do think it would be effective though, as this is very much a local business to me - his address is only 3 or 4 miles from me - so I do believe it would impact his reputation. But you’re right - he’d have nothing to lose by just starting a new page (he already has 2 different personal pages, although one seems to start where the other ends).
 

Coog

Admin
Messages
40,302
Drives
MK2 Golf
Deposit was paid by bank transfer.

I gave them 24hrs from my initial email to get back to me and confirm how they were going to fix the work. Essentially I had pulled together his quotations, broken them down between floor and worktop, shown what we have paid to that point, etc. and emailed this across to him. I also sent him a WhatsApp to let him know I had sent the email and asking him to give me a call when he had looked over it. I hate it when a client phones me to discuss figures and I don’t have them in front of me, so I was trying to give them the opportunity to review and confirm.

I don’t have a report from anyone - just a lot of photos and a video of the work. I think any independent observer would agree that the work is sub-standard. Anyone would expect that if you’re having an epoxy floor poured it should go right up to the edge and they shouldn’t be pouring laquer over self-leveller. That’s how bad it is - I’m not talking about a few minor imperfections that only an expert would notice. But I do take your point that if it was to go to court something more official could be required.

To clarify, I gave him from Friday to COB Monday to confirm his proposal to refund us (which he hasn’t done). While I appreciate this is much shorter than the normal 7 days, the solicitor I have spoken to off the record agrees that it’s reasonable given the level of disruption caused and given that if we were to instruct a solicitor to pursue them there would be an additional 7 days for them to respond to the solicitors letter anyway.

I’m well aware that when it comes to any form of adjudication, there is an expectation that the contractor is to be given the opportunity to rectify defects in the first instance, however given the breakdown in trust/confidence and their initial failure to respond, I don’t believe I’ve been unreasonable.

My intention with regard to social media would be to put the video on my own page, tagging his business page and the company who certifies him. I know plenty of people who would share this around our area. In fact I actually manage 2 pages with a combined following of almost 1000 people in our local area. However, while I’m prepared to go down this route, it’s not something I want to do. I certainly wouldn’t have a lot of respect for someone doing the same thing if you know what I mean. I do think it would be effective though, as this is very much a local business to me - his address is only 3 or 4 miles from me - so I do believe it would impact his reputation. But you’re right - he’d have nothing to lose by just starting a new page (he already has 2 different personal pages, although one seems to start where the other ends).

All the best with it. I absolutely hate getting someone in for work on house or car for this reason.
 

Big Pimp

RMS Trader
Messages
12,862
Location
Downpatrick
Drives
X5 50d & M3
The particular one they seem to have used is either a one day or two day course for something like £485 + VAT. I completely agree, there’s no way that could be learnt in such a short time. I’ve highlighted that in my email to them and pointed out that under construction law there’s a huge difference between being qualified/certified to do something and being competent at doing something.
I'm nearly certain I seen something on Facebook the other day about it, and a rag tag looking lot who had just completed their course!
 

Wild Thing

RMS Regular
Messages
4,090
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Fast Cooper S's
Sticky one, is 7 days not the legal timeframe to make restitution, also back up email with recorded delivery. Hateful situation, if you took it to court they may win and walk as the timeframe was too short and no proof an email ever landed at their end to make them aware.
 

Davytog

RMS Regular
Messages
141
Drives
GTD
When you mention Epoxy I assume you mean a self levelling epoxy coatiing? In general terms they are relatively simple animals and if all the installation requirements are met quite simple to install. On the commercial side its common to run spike roller over the wet coating specifically to get the air from the mixing/laying process out. Doesnt sound like this was done in your case. Chemically its a real bugger to de-gas these formulations through additives meaning the use of a spike roller is a nescessity.
 
Top