My bathroom tiler has let me down


A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues.

Q: ‘I’ve just had my bathroom re-tiled, but I’m not happy with the work. At first, things seemed to be going well, but then the tradesperson left to do another job and I had to chase them for updates. They did eventually come back and finish the job, but the work was pretty rough around the edges. They also left all the old tiles and plaster for me to dispose of, which I wasn’t expecting. I’ve now got the invoice, but I don’t think the price reflects the work done or the service I got. Can I challenge this?’

A: It’s always frustrating when you run into problems with home improvements. You mention that the job looked “rough round the edges” – if this is to a degree whereby you could consider the job unfinished or unsafe, you should be able to get the tiler to come back to fix it. You could also suggest to him/her that moving the old tiles might be considered as part of finishing the job.
If the tiler considers the work complete, it’s worth knowing you’re protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which says the tiler should have completed the work with ‘reasonable care and skill’. If they haven’t done this, they’ve broken the law.
The Act means you’re legally entitled to ask the tiler to fix the problem (if they provided the tiles as well as the service) or get money refunded (if they just provided the service and you bought the tiles).
They should fix the problem or refund you in a reasonable amount of time, without causing too much inconvenience.
As you’ve received the invoice for the work but not paid yet, now would be a good time to ask them to fix the issue or you could negotiate a lower price for the work. Let the tiler know you understand what you’re entitled to. Speak to them in person, or contact them in writing/over email – there are template letters on the Citizens Advice website. Either way, make sure you have a written copy of anything agreed. Before you contact them, it’s a good idea to take photographs to use as evidence of the problem. Make notes about what happened, including dates and times.
You should also gather any paperwork and receipts – was there any prior written agreement about who would dispose of the old tiles? Was the final cost in line with estimates or quotes given to you at the outset of the work? If not, there is advice on the Citizens Advice website about steps you can take.
If you’re struggling to come to an agreement with the tiler, there are other steps you can take to solve your problem, including using ‘alternative dispute resolution’, which is a way of solving disagreements without going to court. There are full details about how to do this on the Citizens Advice website.

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