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Can Our Electrician Refuse to Finish The Job?

By: Rachel Collier - Updated: 4 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
Electrician Contractor Reliable


Our electrician has been paid £2K to complete a rewire in a 2 bedroomed semi. He is also our project manager and because the build has been delayed by 12 weeks we have withheld the last project management payment.

He is now refusing to finish the work. Can we get someone else in to finish the job and can they sign off the work?

(L.B, 12 February 2009)


There’s nothing more annoying than having a contractor do a disappearing act in the middle of your project. Tempted by an easier life or better wages, this situation arises frequently and there’s sadly very little you can do to about it. Demand for electricians is at an all time high, so unfortunately they can afford to play loose when it comes to keeping commitments.

Calm and Collected

If the worst has happened and your electrician's left you in the lurch, don’t panic. There are contractors out there who will willingly take on a job half done, especially if you’ve been let down. Remember that most electricians rely on word of mouth recommendation to drum up trade, so don’t allow one bad experience to cloud your judgement of the whole industry, as tempting as that might be.

Be Prepared

For next time, there are steps you can take to lower the odds of your electrician pulling the plug on your renovation project. Putting together a contract before work commences is a good idea if agreeable to both parties. Detail the specifics of the work involved and agree a timeline for completion, even including a penalty clause enforceable in the event of breach of contract.

Word of Mouth

When selecting an electrician try to obtain some word of mouth recommendations from people who have had good experiences with reliable contractors. There are some excellent, committed electricians out there – don’t assume they are all cowboys! Once you find a reliable electrician you’ll have made a contact for life, so build and nurture the relationship.

Host with the Most

In order to build a good relationship with your electrician, be reasonable and don’t move the goalposts of your agreement. The more effectively you can run your project, the less likely it is that a contractor will decide your money isn’t worth the stress. Help your electrician to feel comfortable within your home. Offer drinks and make sure he or she feels welcome. It’s much harder to let someone down when you like them!

A Little Help

If you've paid any contractor for work they have not completed, it's a good idea to seek legal advice. Make your local branch of the Citizens' Advice Bureau your first stop.

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@Cliffy60 - send him a warning letter and say you'll take him to the small claims court if he doesn't come by a certain date i.e two weeks from the date of the letter. This will show the courts that you have given him some grace to rectify the problem on several occasions. Also, keep your texts or phone messages asking him to return (as evidence).
PaN - 4-Dec-17 @ 3:59 PM
Hi - 9 weeks ago I paid an electrician in full for a job. But he hadn’t finished due to not having some parts and the location of 2 led lights to be fitted, along with extractor fan wiring. He left leaving live wires that weren’t put in sockets. I paid him in good faith and even gave him a key that he asked for so he could freely pop in to finish paid job.. Every week I call and text asking when he’s coming Each time the reply is I got held up here or there or I’m taking on another person to help etc but still he’s never returned. I know I shouldn’t of paid in full but I dine sane with plumber who was amazing and reliable . What can I do about this Electrician? Regards
Cliffy60 - 4-Dec-17 @ 9:06 AM
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