Josephine Borg, director general (Consumer Affairs) has issued a public statement in accordance with Article 8 of the Consumer Affairs Act (Cap.378), in which she has identified that Charles Agius, holder of Identity Card number 21469 (M), has not honoured the decision delivered by the Consumer Claims Tribunal.
In August 2015, the consumer had hired the defendant to carry out some works in her property, consisting of the laying of tiles on the terrace and retiling part of a bathroom. The agreed sum was €2,600, to be paid in instalments: a deposit of €700, a second payment of €700 and the balance of €1,200 upon completion of works.
He was paid the first instalment of €700 upfront, but failed to complete the works within the agreed time frame. After failing to show up to complete the job, he sent his son. Although works were not to the consumer’s satisfaction, she paid him a further €1,200 as part of the balance, €500 in excess of the agreed second instalment of €700.
According to the consumer, this was done as a goodwill gesture, but the defendant insists that the reason was because she was satisfied with the works done. She has complained that the tiles were retaining water, a toilet seat was damaged and third parties were alllowed into her property without her consent.
The consumer filed a claim before the Tribunal, requesting Mr Agius to pay her €2,600. An architect was appointed by the Tribunal to draw up a report. This technical report concluded that the inadequate glue that was used and the decision to lay the new tiles over the existing ones led to the problems, but there were some areas where the tile-laying was acceptable. The Tribunal agreed with the expert’s conclusions, while remarking that a lack of evidence makes it difficult to ascertain whether it was the consumer who requested that particular glue method or Mr Agius.
Nevertheless, the onus was ultimately on the trader to offer the best advice and he should have never agreed to do the job in the first place if he felt that laying new tiles over old ones would lead to problems.
Mr Agius was ordered by the Tribunal to refund the consumer the €500 paid in excess together with a further €900 to cover the costs of the partially defective workmanship, as concluded by the expert. However, the Tribunal refused to acceed to the consumer’s requests for remedial work due to the lack of receipts relative to costs for electrician, new toilet seat and additional tiles purchased. In total, Mr Agius was ordered to pay the €1,400.
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