The Most Common Types of Consumer Claims

Deciding to hire a workman or to change suppliers for your telephone, broadband or utilities is often a difficult decision to make. You might have concerns over whether a deal is too good to be true or perhaps over the quality of the work which you might receive from a supplier.
Once you have received the service, what should you do if it goes wrong?

Whatever your complaint, there will be guidance about what your legal rights are in the circumstances and how you can attempt to resolve the dispute. Some of the more common consumer disputes are:
• Poor quality of work or service
• Negligence by the service provider causing you to suffer an injury or your property being damaged or stolen whilst in the care of the service provider
• Changing your mind about a product or service you have purchased
• The costs of the work escalating above the agreed amount
• The work not being completed within a reasonable time period
• The service provider stopped trading before completing your job

Your rights as a consumer will alter depending on your situation and it is important to recognise that your rights are not the same across the board and to seek advice from a specialist solicitor who can help.
If you have experienced poor quality work, for example at the hairdresser having your hair dyed, or whilst having a repair done or work completed on your house, you have the right to expect that this service is provided with reasonable care and skill under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Where this has not been the case, you have the automatic right to request that the work is put right or to obtain some money back for the service.
Where you have decided to purchase a service or product and then changed your mind, there are circumstances where you can cancel this agreement, particularly if you have purchased something online, by phone or by email.

These online purchases are covered by Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 if purchased after 13th June 2014 or by Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, if your purchase was made prior to 13th June 2014.

In any dispute, you should be seen to be reasonable, especially if your dispute is not resolved and leads to a court hearing. You should give the business involved the opportunity to put things right, or perhaps suggest a discount in the amount payable for the service which would satisfy you. You may decide not to pay for the poorwork or service, but a court may not find this reasonable, particularly if only part of the work or service is below standard.

One thing is certain, as a consumer you do have legal rights and it is worth pursuing a consumer dispute if you are unhappy.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our disputes and litigation services, please call Chris Jolly in our Westbury office on 01373 865577, or email cjolly@mulaw.co.uk and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).