When a consumer enters into a contract for services, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that such services must be:
- Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession)
- Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time frame has been agreed)
- Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed)
In addition, any information exchanged in communications between the parties, whether written or verbal, is binding if the consumer relies on it to proceed with the services in question. If there are problems and the trader cannot satisfy the above criteria, which are legally expected of them, the consumer will have certain rights
In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that the following steps are followed:
1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. quote, contract, correspondence, etc.).
2. Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to resolve any issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is acceptable).
3. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses and any additional costs. This is also known as a ‘letter before action’ and there are plenty of templates if you do an online search for one.
4. If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could consider taking legal action by seeking compensation. Remember that court is a last resort, however threatening it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.
5. Finally, make sure that you keep copies of all correspondence, in case it is needed in the claims process.
If you wish to take the matter further and issue legal proceedings, assuming you will just be claiming financial compensation, you may pursue your claim via the County Court’s online portal at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome
You may also wish to consider reporting them to Trading Standards, which you can do via the following link: https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=3438&frm=general&to=flare.fromforms