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What to do if you're Unhappy About Work Done by a Tradesperson

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 15 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Unhappy With Tradesman Unhappy With

Most people will hopefully never have to deal with an unhappy encounter with a tradesman, but for the few that do, it can be a very stressful and worrying time. If you’ve had work carried out on your home and you are unhappy with the outcome, there are a variety of different routes you can take to try and have the matter resolved. Although they may seem daunting at first, remember that you’re paying someone whom you consider to be a professional to conduct work on your behalf. If you feel they haven’t lived up to their side of the contract, then it’s entirely within your rights to pursue it further.

Take the Personal Approach First

If you feel unhappy about work at your home, the first point of contact should always be with the individual who carried out the job for you. Most reliable tradesmen aren’t going to want their good name tarnished, so they’ll be open to listening to your complaints about any work they’ve conducted for you. If you feel that you can’t speak to your tradesman, contact the owner of the company he or she works for and if they are the owner then your next step would be contacting the trade association that governs your tradesman. If you really feel that you have to take this approach, it’s better to ensure that you know exactly what your contract specifies with regards to being unhappy with your tradesman.

A Good Contract Saves a Lot of Stress

When you first entered into a contract with your tradesman, you should have hopefully put in some provisions there about what happens when things go wrong. One provision should have included the option of either you or your tradesman getting out of the contract if they need to. Another should have been that your tradesman must return to fix any problems you are unhappy with when the contract has ended.

Many people also add in a clause that states that they don’t have to pay until they’re fully satisfied with the job. This is a great way of ensuring that your tradesman is always willing to fix any problems and be available to talk about any issues you’re having. If they aren’t getting paid, they’re going to want to get things wrapped up as soon as they can so the money is in their bank and not yours. Another great aspect of checking your contract before approaching outside agencies for help is that you’ll fully know your rights and know what legalities you’re entitled to through the contract. If you’re unhappy with your tradesman, but your contract has no provisions for that, you could be facing an uphill battle. You can however cancel a contract with a tradesman and employ another if the original tradesman has failed to complete the work to your satisfaction after a specified time limit.

Getting Help from Outside Agencies

If you feel you’ve exhausted your personal contacts with the tradesman or his/her firm, it’s time to look for outside help. You can find many useful mediation points in outside agencies who specialise in helping customers deal with tradesmen they’re unhappy with. Your first stop should be to look for some kind of arbitration scheme, but remember that when a decision is made through such a process, it is binding. You can’t then take the tradesman to court if you’re unhappy with the decision made. Another option is to speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau and ask for their advice. They can often provide you with a variety of options to pursue before you have to go down the road of local courts and large legal costs. You can also speak to a private solicitor if you have one, as this way you’ll be dealt with in a timely manner and on an individual basis. This will cost you though, so ensure that all other avenues have been exhausted before trying this.

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I had a fencer do a job. Build a fence in my garden. Most of it was great, but one section he fitted faulty wood, I asked him to replace 5 planks, he has done that. There were a few other planks that dont look as good quality and were lighter in colour, he said that it was the treatment and it will come off. I have tried to wash it off and it won't. I am really upset that I am having to ask him to come back again.
Ellen - 5-Sep-20 @ 7:10 PM
I've just had a rendering compay in called Insurend quoted me £2040 for the back of my bungalow. Luckily for us my husband is a plasterer by trade so new what was supposed to happen in stages! First day they turned up and asked my husband if he had a drill & screws!!!! they put the first coat on without putting the beads on round the windows and edges of walls, left the garden a mess, cigarette dimps over the floor half eaten buttyson my chairs in a bag for my dog to find!! Couldn't let my dog out! Complained my husband asked the worker the next day has he done it before to his reply "a little bit! " He poured all the excess material down the outside grid which is now blocked! They even asked us if we had a cigarette!Got in touch with the firm said we don't want them here send someone who knows what there doing! He sent them again while we were at work to put the beads on which were loose the walls were a mess, patchy, uneven, we then said do not send them ever again which obviously they realised they were annoying us "the customers" they sent one of the best renderers which they have working for them to be told this is the 4th job he's had to put right! When finished asked about the price for everything we've been through they said as a good wI'll gesture we will knock off £150-200 what a joke! I wouldn't have paid a penny for the trouble and stress it put us through but my husband came to an agreement of £1500 which totally caused arguments in my home! So I am telling anyone who wants there home rendered do not have Insurend do it !!!
Jackie - 6-Aug-20 @ 7:04 AM
Just had a plumber from North Cowton which is near Darlington County Durham fit a new bathroom suite. Ended up wishing I’d done it myself and saved myself £600 for 11 hours work. Some tradesmen think that because they are in demand they can charge ridiculous prices and as long as people like me are paying those prices they will keep quoting them. Please don’t even think about having this tradesman on your property.
Yeti - 27-Jul-20 @ 5:55 PM
i had a handyman to do work for me hespent all his time on phone or not turning up charged me for 160 hours work when he done as little as 16mthe work he done was to a shoddy standard gave him 1.000 for materials. did not supply invoices or receipt for materials even though i kept asking him most of goods supplied was seconded hand not in boxes or with instructions i refused to pay i am now being sued by him what a joke. the laws in this country seem to favour people like him l have used checkatrade my builder for other work and the workmanship is as bad. i have lost all faith in the trades who just seem to want a quick buck and move on .
none - 19-Jul-20 @ 10:55 AM
Oasis landscape flint ie brian oxton trades in around Chester area of uk . Paid £5500 .to get garden done ,laid slabs all uneven ,not fixed down ,artificial grass put down but not even fixed ,weeds all coming through after 3 x weeks . On trust a trader website . Invoice on scrap paper .
Star - 14-Jul-20 @ 1:13 PM
Dean blues. Must be the United Kingdom's biggest con man. A career criminal. His next 'company' which is company number 10 is called d b electronical and is in the North east of England. AVOID
Sal - 30-Jun-20 @ 8:10 PM
I'm dissatisfied with work done by a roofer to repair a leak they fleeced me dry and wanted more money to repair the same leak didn't replace any broken tiles or flashing tape for the chimney and valley and never found the leak. now I've got get in a new roofer which going too be more costs .Kept on telling me I needed a new roof Don't know how to make a complaint for the poor work from this trader
Gray - 14-Jun-20 @ 10:19 PM
@ MM - I'm in similar position but with plumber. I fear he may have installed an unsafe pressurised system. Luckily, i picked up on it and turned it off. I'll have someone else come check. The guy is qualified on paper to do the work but not sure if he's just incompetent or lazy. Either way if i'm right he's not coming back into this house. Luckily I haven't paid for the work yet.If there's anything left after fixing the problems i may pay him it.
HollandA - 6-Jun-20 @ 10:11 PM
On 19 November 2019 firm called XLROOFING(smart van logo onside) did some lead flashing round chimney base and pointing. Originally told us it would be approx £200, then when his labourer up on roof came to door, said it wouldbe £750 !!. CASH only. Husband was away for day, and as they were already starting work, thought I could notrefuse and leave chimney stack vulnerable. Had to go to bank for cash. We got receipt. In April, part of the lead - well its not lead as it was flapping about ! came away from chimney. Showed it to our son, who commented was the pointing done in the dark !it is appalling ! I phoned about problem - he sent another man - A LINE ROOFING -who looked at it, and said I am not touching that, thought it was a small job !! (he then said we can do it for you at a price !!)I said will you tell Joseph (from XL) as we need it sorting. Joseph phoned keeps promising to come I have e mailed, phoned but nothing. He did work for a neighbour, BUT their receipt shows a different trading name J G & SON ROOFING - I am extremely upset - I have googled their name an address comes up but it appears to be on a road and what appears to be a load of caravans, I think they are travellers (could use a stronger word here) We have been robbed.I have just composed a letter threatening legal action if they do not come back but I am not optimistic . So please people DO NOT EMPLOY - XL ROOFING, A LINE ROOFING, OR J G & SON ROOFING. They are thieves.
Juggo - 3-Jun-20 @ 11:30 AM
Carpenter installed kitchen and they are problems everywhere, draws wont close, wall cupboards have been fixed wonky on the wall. chip, knocks, gashes! reunied worktop. I havent paid him yet and he has offered to put the work right but there is so much wrong i have no faith in him doing a good job. There are panels that will need replacing and if i pay for more what happens if he messes those up? Advice please, do i let him try and fix or get someone else? thanks
MM - 2-Jun-20 @ 10:00 PM
I had my front garden cleared and earth put in instead of compost as promised by the gardener, within two weeks grass started growing and weed came and for this I paid £150 cash. I called him to complain and write messages, he was rude and said it was me who put the wrong compost. The oddasity of him is the he comes and dies my opposite neighbours garden and parks his van outside, he does not make eye to eye contact. It’s frustrating, I have his car reg and number but don’t know what to do. I don’t want my sons or husband to confront him as I don’t want trouble. He is actually doing work at my neighbours today. Help and advice please
Nors - 8-May-20 @ 1:27 PM
my daughter gave a man who does odd jobs £220 to do some tiling for her he hasn't turned up to do the work as he keeps making excuses & wont give her money back is there anything we can doplease
jules - 7-Dec-19 @ 11:17 AM
Hi, I’ve had garage doors made/fitted by a joiner 2.8m x 2.1m approx 3 months ago. He made them ledge & brace (not ‘framed’) using 16x2cm soft wood planks (not T&groove). The planks shrank and there were upto 1-2mm gaps between them (largest 4mm gaps) .. enough to see into garage .. I complained & he caulked the gaps .. which obviously got squeezed out.. now he has gorilla glued the gaps (foam type and sanded back). There were other basic issues now fixed but have caused loss of confidence & to me they remind me of barn doors.He now wants final payment & has said this will resolve the gap problem but I believe the glue will get crushed out, that the planks will warp, the doors droop/drop (but on this last point there are big 60cm galvanised hinge arms to stop that) ... I’ll be back to having gaps/problems& the doors won’t last the 10-15 years minimum I’d expect. Can you tell me if I am wrong, will glueing the gaps this way work, and I should pay up or how else I can get an unbiased/independent2nd opinion .. thank you in advance
tp mortgage - 30-Jul-19 @ 10:24 AM
Hi, I’ve had garage doors made/fitted by a joiner 2.8m x 2.1m approx 3 months ago. He made them ledge & brace (not ‘framed’) using 16x2cm soft wood planks (not T&groove). The planks shrank and there were upto 1-2mm gaps between them (largest 4mm gaps) .. enough to see into garage .. I complained & he caulked the gaps .. which obviously got squeezed out.. now he has gorilla glued the gaps (foam type and sanded back). There were other basic issues now fixed but have caused loss of confidence & to me they remind me of barn doors.He now wants final payment & has said this will resolve the gap problem but I believe the glue will get crushed out, that the planks will warp, the doors droop/drop (but on this last point there are big 60cm galvanised hinge arms to stop that) ... I’ll be back to having gaps/problems& the doors won’t last the 10-15 years minimum I’d expect. Can you tell me if I am wrong, will glueing the gaps this way work, and I should pay up or how else I can get an unbiased/independent2nd opinion .. thank you in advance
tp mortgage - 30-Jul-19 @ 8:01 AM
We have a tradesman in at the moment who is capping our fascias and soffits and replacing our gutters. Over the weekend, when he wasn't there my husband and I had a look at the work so far and to be honest it looks pretty shoddy - joints are mismatched, no air vents (he has covered over the original air vents with new plastic) We also had a neighbour call over to warn us that she was currently in a dispute with him over poor quality garden work he has carried out for her. We have not paid up front but as he is due to finish in the next few days payment will be due. Is there a service I can access were a surveyor would come and assess the work before we pay? Happy to pay for the peace of mind!!
Karen - 23-Jun-19 @ 9:16 AM
Had our drive powered washed, sanded and so called sealed. After a few days weeds appeared worse than ever, contacted the Wcompany, Affordable Paving who said they would return as the work was guaranteed for 5 years, but of course no one has returned and now will not speak to us on the phone. It seems they live on a Gypsy camp and the address on the invoice is not the correct address. Beware of this company they are cowboys. They did the same thing to our neighbours. The sealant they used was diluted.
Wadie - 17-Jun-19 @ 5:48 PM
I paid quite a lot to have my paved drive cleaned and sealed, it only took one person a few hours to do, and I wasn't really sure that they had sealed it, at a price of £1,100 I think I must have been well a truly conned, and now a couple of weeks after the work was done weeds are starting to appear again, what should I do, I phoned the company and was told they would come and see what has happened, but what do you now they didn't turn up, what should I do now
Gioia - 24-Mar-19 @ 4:33 PM
A painter and decorator did a job for me which was to paint the living room, toilet and ensuite. He charged me a day rate of £220 for 3 days. My new born was in hospital so I left him a key and let him get on with it. I came home 1 day and picked up on something I wasn't happy with and let him and he told he'd sort it. When I came home after the 3 days with my newborn I was disgusted with the finish in every room, I could have done a better job. He offered to come back and sort but I don't want him back it was that bad. I don't want to pay him a penny either as he's caused me a lot of distress and I'm now going to have to pay someone a fortune to correct. Where do I stand?
Mark - 1-Oct-18 @ 11:57 PM
O paid a £50 call out fee which was to cover first hour of work to restore signal to my TV. Fixed in 5minutes however one week later problem back and he has failed to turn up to fix. What redress have i got ?
Jean - 20-Sep-18 @ 12:55 PM
I have just been scammed by trades man who came in to fix a broken reeded glass panel at my front door. He claimed he bought the sheet of reeded glass for £220 and spent less than 30 mins to fit it. for which he charged me 80 pounds. I have searched on the internet and a sheet of ribbed/ reeded glass on the internet cost on average less than 50 pound. I am gutted and don't know what to do as he capitalized on my ignorance in the first instance. Who can I report this to? what should i do? I know this is not right and he did not tell me the price before he started working as i was on a work call at the time
Mule - 21-Aug-18 @ 5:07 PM
I had an estimate from a renovating to refurbish my kitchen, which included taking down a stud wall which divided the kitchen from a utility area and toilet. He also removed the small toilet window and replaced it with a much larger window, which looks out on to the garden. Since removing all the above things cracks started to appear in the brickwork directly on the window above and continue to the top of the house, now plaster is falling from the brickwork too. The builder and I agreed on an estimate to include rebuilding cupboards to fit the space where the utility area had been, and when he realised that it would take longer to do this, he asked I pay much more. Because I refused to do so as he agreed to do this, he pack up his tools and walked out, leaving me with an unfinished kitchen and cracks in my brick work. I paid him up for all the work he had done so far, but he has left me with a mess. I sent him a photo of more plaster that has fallen from the brickwork on the back of the house,and he has ignored me. What should I do? Lesley
lesley - 21-Aug-18 @ 10:33 AM
@Bex - give him a message to say that if he doesn't come around to have a look by a specific date, you'll take it to the small claims court.
AndyT - 30-Jul-18 @ 2:13 PM
Hi. We had some work done in our garden. Wanted an area dug over and weed supressent down with pebbles over the top. Was happy at first but now a lot of weeds are coming through, even grass. Everything is coming through thick and fast. It is coming through and not from the top. Paid quite a lot to have this done so we didn’t have to weed as we don’t have time now. We asked him to come have a look and he would do some weeding for us, still waiting 5 weeks later, no sign of him. What can I do as I’m really not happy. Is this to be expected because if it is I wouldn’t of had the work done.
Bex - 27-Jul-18 @ 3:07 PM
Hi my partner has refitted and supplied an en-suite bathroom for a customer - she paid upfront for material sand provided her own tiles to which my partner fitted as well - on the floor and walls - this was back in January- payment for the work carried out was handed over at the end of the job as we always state please pay once satisfied - today we received an email tasting she wasn't happy with the tiling as it wasn't level - this wasn't mentioned before nor have we received any correspondence in regard to this - in fact she has asked my partner do do a cloakroom for her. She has asked that we refund £200 and take the hand basin toilet and shower unit out so she can pay another tiler to redo the tiling which she is paying £570.00 for and then to refit them free of charge as she is very happy with the en-suite. She was only charged £400.00 for stripping the old out and plumbing in the whole en-suite fitting it and tiling ceiling to floor - this was 3 months ago - help - where do we stand?
Bob - 18-Apr-18 @ 9:37 PM
Hi my partner has refitted and supplied an en-suite bathroom for a customer - she paid upfront for material sand provided her own tiles to which my partner fitted as well - on the floor and walls - this was back in January- payment for the work carried out was handed over at the end of the job as we always state please pay once satisfied - today we received an email tasting she wasn't happy with the tiling as it wasn't level - this wasn't mentioned before nor have we received any correspondence in regard to this - in fact she has asked my partner do do a cloakroom for her. She has asked that we refund £200 and take the hand basin toilet and shower unit out so she can pay another tiler to redo the tiling which she is paying £570.00 for and then to refit them free of charge as she is very happy with the en-suite. She was only charged £400.00 for stripping the old out and plumbing in the whole en-suite fitting it and tiling ceiling to floor - this was 3 months ago - help - where do we stand?
Bob - 18-Apr-18 @ 9:10 PM
Abz - Your Question:
I employed a carpenter to fit a door for me and I wasnt happy with the final product, so I kicked him off the job and hired another carpenter to fix the job. I made the first carpenter sign a promissory note promising to pay for any repairs by the 2nd carpenter but now he wont pay.The note didnt have any details on it eg. The total he needed to pay, or the name of the new carpenter and I didnt contact him to say the new work was taking place. Is my note legally binding?

Our Response:
If you’ve had work done at home and there’s a problem caused by the trader, as specified in the article, you should be able to get it fixed - or get at least some of your money back. Whatever the problem is, you’ll need to talk to the trader and come to an agreement, please see link here for further information. If the carpenter is ignoring the agreement, your only recourse would be to apply to the small claims court and let the court decide whether your agreement (verbal or written) should be honoured.
TraderScams - 13-Mar-18 @ 9:59 AM
I employed a carpenter to fit a door for me and i wasnt happy with the final product, so i kicked him off the job and hired another carpenter to fix the job. I made the first carpenter sign a promissory note promising to pay for any repairs by the 2nd carpenter but now he wont pay. The note didnt have any details on it eg. The total he needed to pay, or the name of the new carpenter and i didnt contact him to say the new work was taking place. Is my note legally binding?
Abz - 12-Mar-18 @ 6:48 PM
katieoxo - Your Question:
I had a quote from a so called tradesman, via member of family. I was asked to pay over half of the quote up front, the day of commencement came round , received a way laying call, next day no workman either, then two arrived one stayed for around3 hours, they did roughly 15 hours work between two in one week. The first weeks work was fairly tidy until they were left alone at which time they drilled a hole right through the wall approximatly a foot in circumference, then they flooded my dining room, causing electric failure, the tiles are all higgled and not flat, they damaged my ceiling light but did put a new one in, the paint work is very shoddy running over tiles, a whole has been left round the toilet waste pipe, toilet seat does not fit correctly, sink is only a cloakroom sink ( but fits nicely) no surveyer would pass this job, oh and he miss fitted the floor covering, plus filled some areas with putty rather than grout. And blamed the leak on other plumbers work The chrome pipes are covered in grout and you can see the old colour paint on some of the paintwork. this work took two weeks. the toilet syston lid does not seem to be the right one as it does not fit properly either. All in all very poor fittings & workmanship for the £4200 price paid.

Our Response:
You can see more via the FMB link here which should give you guidance regarding your options. Please do not name builders on this site, this is as much for your protection against being sued for defamation.
TraderScams - 4-Sep-17 @ 3:38 PM
I had a quote from a so called tradesman, via member of family. I was asked to pay over half of the quote up front, the day of commencement came round , received a way laying call, next day no workman either, then two arrived one stayed for around3 hours, they did roughly 15 hours work between two in one week. The first weeks work was fairly tidy until they were left alone at which time they drilled a hole right through the wall approximatly a foot in circumference, then they flooded my dining room, causing electric failure, the tiles are all higgledand not flat, they damaged my ceiling light but did put a new one in, the paint work is very shoddy running over tiles, a whole has been left round the toilet waste pipe, toilet seat does not fit correctly, sink is only a cloakroom sink ( but fits nicely) no surveyer would pass this job, oh and he miss fitted the floor covering, plus filled some areas with putty rather than grout. And blamed the leak on other plumbers work The chrome pipes are covered in grout and you can see the old colour paint on some of the paintwork.this work took two weeks . the toilet syston lid does not seem to be the right one as it does not fit properly either. All in all very poor fittings & workmanship for the £4200 price paid.
katieoxo - 2-Sep-17 @ 9:06 PM
Garden maintenance/handyman services Falkirk. I paid £900 to have an area levelled, tree stumps removed and bark area made. To look at it seemed fine but after work complete and payment made I was walking over it and it was all swampy and uneven with nowhere near enough bark for the area. I called them and they offered straight away to bring more bark and supply more wood around the fence. When they came back they did supply more wood but refused to give me more bark, I refused to pay the remaining £130 due. Month later I've had several gardeners out to look at area and they all commented on how bad the job was, when membrane lifted the area had not even been touched and the membrane they used was not letting water through so there were puddles everywhere. New gardener has removed stumps no problem when I was told they were unremovable. Do not use this company....
Pauline - 26-Aug-16 @ 5:53 PM
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