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“I asked somebody to make me a kitchen unit in 2015. They didn't finish the job. I want them to bring back the money I gave them. Please help.” Scorpion Legal Protection answers this question from a follower on the Scorpion Facebook page.
This issue falls under contract law, because there was an agreement (contract) between the parties. A reciprocal duty was created, meaning that one person agreed to pay for a service and the other is duty-bound to perform the service by building the kitchen unit. Since the person has paid, but the service provider has not completed the service he agreed to do, the service provider has committed a breach of contract.
There are two options available:
In this case, the person wants the service provider to bring back their money, meaning they no longer want the kitchen unit. The more viable remedy is cancellation of the contract and claiming compensation as a result of the breach. This can be done by serving a notice of cancellation together with a letter of demand on the service provider. If the service provider then fails to act according to the letter of demand, depending on the amount to be claimed, you can take legal action at either the Small Claims Court or the Magistrate’s Court.
Small Claims Court only allows claims up to R20 000. If you want to claim for more than R20 000, you will need to go through the Magistrate’s Court.
The person has indicated that the breach of contract occurred in 2015. In terms of the Prescription Act, you have to claim compensation for damages within three years from the date the issue arises. Since this person did not claim within three years, the issue has legally prescribed. They can still try to take legal action, but the service provider will now have a valid legal defence against the claim.
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If you have a query, follow Scorpion Legal Protection on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month from 11:30 -13:30).
* This is only basic paralegal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing. This is not financial advice.
Date added: 1 June 2021
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