Billed for supposedly incorrect work but not given an opportunity to rectify
Problem: I had been working on job for a main contractor for about 5 months up until January 2019, which had been going well, with no problems on payment. I had been working without a written order or agreement, although the work itself was given to me in a piece meal fashion, with the price for each piece of work being agreed prior to the work being carried out.
In February I left the site as the next stage of work the main contractor wanted me to carry out, we could not agree a price.
A few weeks after I left the site, I received an email from the main contractor telling me that I was being billed for work that I had supposedly done incorrectly. I wrote back stating that I should have been given the chance to rectify the so-called faults, and that I would not accept the charge. The main contractor then came back and that they would be taking this further. Any advice?
Response: You have not mentioned that you are owed monies from this main contractor, which is obviously a good thing, and something less to concern you.
Your response to the main contractor was the correct response, as it would have been sensible if the main contractor had given you the opportunity to inspect the alleged defects and make good.
That said, the main contractor is not actually under any obligation or duty to invite you back to correct any defects in your work. However, the main contractor is under a duty to mitigate the amount it cost to make good, and that means that by refusing to give you the opportunity to return to site and make good (which would have cost the main contractor nothing), it has employed a third party and thus there is a cost associated with the making good.
If the main contractor does take this further and attempts to recover its losses (which it must prove), all you need to show (if there is a genuine defect that is your responsibility), is that you were not given the opportunity to make good and it would have cost you nothing to make good (because your labour to you is free).
© Michael Gerard 2019
The advice provided is intended to be of a general guide only and should not be viewed as providing a definitive legal analysis.