Sub-standard workmanship..... remedies?

We engaged a local business to install a new shower-room (from scratch), at a non-inconsiderable amount of money (€6.5k), using existing drain connections for black and grey water. We expected the need to have a pump for the shower and wash basin waste.

After a promising start - the electrical work was quick and efficient, we were left with one young man who admitted he'd never installed a waste pump before - his work was not supervised by colleagues.

Without giving a detailed description; the end product falls a long way short of our (ever-so-reasonable) expectations, and we are not satisfied. Requests to the long-established and otherwise respectable company to come and "finish the job" have been ignored.

I'm guessing the final account / facture is on its way to us. We don't want to pay until the variety of problems have been put straight - .....

Where do we stand / what can we do? Many thanks for any informed legally accurate advice.... the failures are outside what one might normally tolerate as quirks -

Hi a fosse sceptic, but in actual fact, anyone who feels agents have not advised you correctly about anything, I have media and an international lawyer who can fight our cause, I have a fosse sceptic which turned out to be completely useless and a bill of 9000 Euros after purchase....having asked a question re its workings and being told all was well prior to purchase which turned out to be nonsense..........has anyone once bought through an agent found they too are having to find monies which is extortionate to put the matter right, the name of the agent would be really helpful as, I am told agents have a duty of care, and, if not followed up are responsible and therefore costs should be paid by them.........and called to account. I have Mayor on my side in France...we have been taken for fools for long enough.............time for agents to stand up and be counted,

Re my post above, when you receive the final account it’s better to pay the amounts you are in agreement with and only withhold the amount in dispute. At all times clearly state the amount withheld and the reason why.

Best regards hope it turns out well

Thank you both...this clarifies the position under French law. I can't see any independent arbitrator / adjudicator agreeing that the work is to an acceptable / reasonable standard of competence ; sadly, the remedy for this problem is likely to be expensive, so we'll go through the final account with some care!

Thank you, once again.

Get a Huissier to make a report and then use it as legal weapon to fight with. Get his or her advice in any case.

Speaking as a construction professional, DO NOT PAY the full amount until you are fully satisfied with the work. When you receive the final account, immediately write back with a recommended delivery letter clearly stating the amounts you are withholding, the precise reasons why and the conditions under which the balance will be released.

Let them then come back to you.

Shakuntala is on the same lines as me here, but you don't have to get all the legal artillery out, simply don't pay and state why.

As I say, I am a construction professional, so if you want any further advice, please feel free to call. Any advice I give to SFN members is completely free of charge. 06 80 63 99 79

Hi John,

Have you written to the company LRAR listing the problematic areas? This is a must.

I would not pay the final 10% until you are satisfied that the work is done. that is what the final 10% is for ...

Getting a huissier report that will catalogue the problematic areas is most often is the first thing a lawyer will recommend doing when there is a problem with builders/artisans etc.

Once done, and if you are still not getting anywhere with the company, send the report or get a solicitor to send a letter on your behalf, send directly to the company.

Is the company a franchise or is it owned by a parent company. Is there a head office ? Perhaps worth getting them involved ...

Good luck.


Thanks Steve. It's a respectable company, they left a young man to carry out the plumbing work who was inexperienced, unsupervised and gave the impression of 'making it up as he went along". He's admitted in front of me and his chief that he hadn't read the pump instructions fully - so there is some openness and honesty at play. The installation is functional, but I don't think it's acceptable to have 5cm of water sitting in the shower's like being back at school!

A friend has said that we should pay the final bill, then claim against their insurers, but finding a workable (technical) solution is going to be difficult and expensive. The other defects can be easily remedied.

If the shower room is unserviceable, you could ask his insurance company to get involved. Failing that does he advertise as being part of any trade association that you could threaten to go to ?