Advice about rogue kitchen fitter

18 Jul 2005
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United Kingdom
Hi, my elderly and disabled mum has recently bought a new kitchen out of her life savings and employed a kitchen fitter to fit it. Originally he said it would take 5 days but that was over 3 weeks ago and it is still only half complete as he has only spent around 4 full days on it, always giving lots of excesses why he can’t be there. Since then she has been without a kitchen and has no way to cook a proper meal.
She initially gave him a deposit and a first payment when he started as agreed. Yesterday he has said that due to other commitments he is unable to finish the kitchen and we should either find someone else to do it or agree a date with him at some point in the future when he might come back. During fitting the wall units he drilled right through the wall paper into her dining room and made a hole which has also dislodged an area of plaster behind the wall paper. We asked him to rectify this but he hasn't mentioned it and not given us any details of his insurance so that she can have it repaired.
Any advice as to what we should be doing?
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Take Photographs of the damage and work so far,
What details does she have on the written Estimate/quotation,?
Write to him to say thay he has broken a contract and if its not resolved the matter will be taken further.
Contact your Local Trading Standards Office now and give them the full story.

Its still early days, he should be given the chance to complete the work as the schedule, he may have a good reason not to be able to continue the work at this present time,but your Mother should still be in the position to be able to use the kitchen for cooking etc,
Let the Trading Standards Investigate.
Thanks for the quick reply and advice.

We have emails from him saying what he would do for the cost ie the total kitchen apart from the floor. and a written but unsigned note stating what amount he wanted at what stage giving his bank details.

I have asked for the details of his insurance and have asked him to keep to his side of the contract as agreed. As he has been not turning up when he said he would I complained and in an email he said he would spend every day there until it is complete but this is several excuses ago and before he said we should find some one else to carry on the work.

Thanks again.
Certainly trading standards, how much was the cost and how much have you paid?
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Total cost was agreed at £2500 in instalments of £500 deposit, £1000 on first day and £1000 on completion. She has so far paid the £1500 but he did ask for another £500 a while ago before completion but I advised her not to pay it and keep to the original agreement.
Hi, my elderly and disabled mum has recently bought a new kitchen out of her life savings and employed a kitchen fitter to fit it.

Was the £2500 just his labour? If so £1500 up front seems excessive after all even if your mum refused to pay his only cost is his time and a few sundries. I never asked for money up front unless it was to purchase an expensive item and then it was delivered direct to site.

As a someone who has been in the building trade for more years than I care to remember I know there are always two sides to any dispute.
However the amount up front and the fact that it was planned for 5 days and he has spent 4 there but can't get back for a "day" to finish (pigs flying by) suggest he is unreliable and at fault.

You did well to stop her paying the last £1000 in time. As said Trading standards and perhaps CAB (if you can get an appointment this decade!) ultimately the threat of the small claims court may get things

Look through his excuses and be ready to counter any points he has raised like changes in spec by the customer and other unforseen difficulties with the installation.
Yes the cost is just for his labour and sundries. Before he started he specifically told her that everything needed was to be there so he could just knock it out, so that's what we provided. The kitchen units and appliances were bought separately.

She has had every excuse you could think of so far.
2.5 k to fit a kitchen,bejesus.for 5 days work.was this just the kitchen itself or to include all plumbing and electrics and tiling etc?

as said get straight on to the trading standard peeps,let them know you will be writing to him giving him 1 final chance to finish/rectify faults.
Yes it was to do everything including the tiling and electrics but the new kitchen is exactly the same as the last one so all the services are in the same place.
What really annoys me is that he seems to think its ok to only do the parts of it he wanted to and then say find someone else to finish it as he hasn't taken all the money even though he did try to get it.
Good news, looks like he has decided to finish off the kitchen as per our agreement. All we ever wanted was him to do what he says he would.

Fingers crossed.
thats good then.
just watch out for any added extra's he tries to sting you for.
He's gone again, and only after doing a few more hours work. Nothing heard of him since last Thursday.

I've asked, if he is not coming back at least give us his insurance details so we can have my Mums damaged wall repaired/decorated.

Any idea how we can progress this if he refuses to give us the details, is it a small claims court application after we get the work done?

Thanks again.
Hope it wasn't the stale biscuits!
I would contact trading standards at once, his insurance will only cover damage or injury, not him failing to complete a job so I wouldn't bother too much with that.

Start looking for another fitter as soon as possible it will not be easy no one wants to take over a job that has gone wrong. If you have the skills I would try to finish it yourself it 'ain't rocket science, as long as the gas and electric are done by a qualified person.

Plenty of people on here willing to help with knowledge and advise :D

CAB can advise Re: small claims court.
As Footprints has suggested, ^^^^^^^^^
your "next port of call" is Trading Standards, they will investigate and suggest your next set of action,
He may well be under investigation already, if so this will help them with their case.
I would not take on anyone to continue the work until Trading Standards have seen what the problem is other than make the kitchen usable, i.e water and services.
He could argue that he is waiting for items from a supplier and his work has been interferred with, take as many photographs as possible (date stamped) of what is wrong. Good Luck.
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