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Who Do I Sue ?

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CW1 | 13:17 Wed 01st May 2024 | Law
32 Answers


Got in a touch with a plumber early April - call him JJ Plumbing - who sent round another plumber - call him XY Plumbing - to fit a new shower pump. I paid XY's company once it was done (altho' apparently JJ's company ordered the pump (& presumably paid for it), nothing to do with me).

Yesterday I was told there's a leak in a room next to the bathroom, which sounded very much like a problem with the pump (had it happen before, tho' that took years to come to light, not weeks !). Got in touch with XY as he'd fitted it, asked if he could check it out. He said he didn't work for JJ any more but when I asked could he still go round, he said I should contact JJ otherwise he'd be charging me a callout fee. I said he had the guarantee as he'd fitted it, surely his work was guaranteed for more than 26 days, & I'd paid his company, should he not visit.

Was a long [text] conversation, gist being XY told me he wasn't fully qualified (but is the only director of his company & listed as "a plumber") & I should get JJ round even tho' he's based miles away. I contacted JJ. He said he "sacked" XY & is actually suing him for money that he's owed from several other jobs that "went wrong" after XY visited.

In the end JJ did fix it as he said it wasn't my fault. There's water damage to a ceiling below & some units. JJ tells me I need to sue XY as it was his negligence that caused the leak (just didn't put a washer in the shower hose, let alone check it running for any time which would've showed it leaking). JJ has 5 or 6 other customers complaining about XY's work too.

I'm prepared to start a claim in the small claims court, but I think it should be against XY as he was the one negligent. I wouldn't have known about his qualifications, or lack of. My other 'alf thinks it should be against JJ as he sent XY knowing he wasn't fully qualified even tho' he's a director of his own company.



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Your contract was with JJ, that's who is liable

Question Author

Really, barry1010 ? Even tho' I paid XY's company ? JJ's only involvement was to pass the job on to someone who could do it quicker altho' technically I suppose, XY was working for JJ at the time even tho' he had his own company, & was that company I paid (JJ ordered the pump for XY to pick up, tho' I wouldn't have known that at the time).

Sue them both. JJ for recommending a charlatan and XY for being a charlatan.

Are you in the UK, CW1, 'cos i thought all plumbers had to be Corgi registered and therefore qualified.

Isn't Corgi registration for Gas fitters?

JJ is liable.  One has to question why JJ subcontracted to XY though knowing there had been other customer complaints against this company.

My mistake then, Retro, i thought it was for plumbers and gas fitters.


Council of Registered Gas Installers

Just Googled and any plumber who undertakes any work concernng gas appliances musy be Corgi registered. It has been known for me to sometimes be incorrect, but never 'totally' wrong. 😉

Ah, so that's what the acronym stands for. every day's a school day on AB.

It's no longer Corgi it's the Gascare Register

Think it's the Gas Safe Register.

Yes... Gas Safe Register

Sub-contractors CW.  Absolute pain in the @rse at times.

As said above, your contract is with jj. I don't think you're going to get anything out of xy anyway. jj is wrong to say you should tackle xy. jj has the contract with xy... not you.

Tackle jj. He should be responsible for the repairs... either organise the work himself or through his insurance.

I'm sure theBuilder knows his stuff, although I'm wondering whether this is complicated by the fact that you paid XY= could it be deemed as you accepted his offer to do the work and paid him so the contract is now with XY.


Had a quick Google,  newmodarmy...............

"The main contractor remains liable for the performance of the main contract, with the result that it is liable to the other party to the main contract for any default in performance by the subcontractor. Equally, the other contracting party is not generally entitled to sue the subcontractor for breach of contract unless they have a claim in tort or a direct third party right."

(CW is 'the other party' mentioned.)

This is where it gets heavy. Did jj state that he was NOT entering into a contract at all... telling CW to establish a contract with xy. If so, then xy is liable to CW.

I'm afraid that in this case it may well be that legal advice is needed. It all hangs on what was said and agreed at the outset. 

I really do feel for innocent customers like CW. The building trade is full of this kind of situation.

Jumped the gun a bit there  ^^

I see jj has come and fixed the leak, so he's established that a contract was made.

jj remains the one liable to CW



Is that confirmation he is legally responsible? 

He might have felt bad about the circumstances but why was he not paid, rather than XY?

I'm honestly not sure Corby. Easy to say now, but CW should have insisted that jj raises the invoice, and so the payment is made to him. jj should have known that too.

It gets messy when customers 'pay direct'.

Question Author


"One has to question why JJ subcontracted to XY though knowing there had been other customer complaints against this company."

I imagine these other issues happened (or at least didn't come to light until) after 4 April, when JJ gave me XY's phone number.

Until the shower pump was fitted, neither the bath or shower could be used, so time was of the essence. JJ couldn't do it immediately so he gave me XY's number, said p'raps he could do it sooner. I didn't know what their relationship was, didn't seem important. But JJ did say I would pay XY direct so wouldn't have realised XY was employed by JJ, I would've assumed he was just putting me in touch with another plumber who wasn't quite so busy. 


Was XY "employed" by JJ tho' ? They both use the word, but wonder if that's just a turn of phrase. Looking at screenshots JJ sent, he just sent XY work. Screenshot from January suggests XY had his last exam booked for 2 February, which he presumably failed as he did confirm with me yesterday "I'm not even qualified. ... I don't do my own jobs". Yet he accepted mine ! If XY was paid directly by customers - rather than a salary by JJ (not the case) - not sure how's that's "employed".


The Builder, JJ has fixed it, I get the impression not because he feels responsible for the work, but does feel responsible as he "introduced" us. He sent me photos, & told me to sue XY, "name t/a XY Plumbing". That's the company I paid, no invoice as such, just bank details sent by text.


Well, until - & if - I can find out for sure I can't sue XY, I feel I at least need to report him before he causes any more damage, he is trading as "qualified" when apparently he's not. Who would I contact, APHC ?

So I think JJ would say he couldn't do the job so gave you XY's number and you chose to use him rather than get other quotes and afterwards paid him, so the contract was with XY.

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Well, yeah, tho' I did get other quotes but JJ actually called me & we discussed the pump, if I'd need hoses, blah, blah. He said XY would do it for what I'd already been quoted so that was that.

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