Life is never as straightforward as it should be, and you could find yourself involved in a dispute. Problems can range from someone owing you money, to faulty goods, problems with tradesmen or professionals - the list is endless.
For smaller consumer claims, it is probably not cost effective to engage a solicitor, but if you have a larger, more complex problem we can help you to resolve the matter.
Manufacturers and suppliers are obliged by law to provide goods which are of satisfactory quality and fit the for purpose they were designed for. Depending on the circumstances you can request a refund, repair or replacement.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 builds on the "statutory rights" contained within the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and provides that if the item is faulty in some way then:-
- Up to 30 days from purchase – you can reject the items and get a full refund.
- Up to 6 months – if it cannot be repaired or replaced you should be entitled to a refund.
- Up to 6 years – if the item does not last as long as expected, you may be entitled a repair/replacement or to some money back.
The new Act also introduces:-
- Similar rights for digital content which goes wrong – this could include music, game or movie downloads, apps and other software.
- An Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure.
You should take your complaint up with the company involved as soon as possible. Because many of these disputes have a value of less than £10,000, they would be regarded as "small claims" and it may not be economic to instruct a Solicitor although you may wish to get some general advice on the merits of your claim.
Sometimes you may need to get a report from independent expert to confirm the nature of the problem and it is always advisable to collect as much evidence as you can. If you contact the supplier, always keep a copy of letters and email or make detailed notes of any telephone conversations you have. You should always keep the fault item until things are resolved.
Trading Standards is also another useful point of contact for these matters.
The general rule is that people who provide a service (builders, plumbers etc) must do so with reasonable care and skill and their charges must be reasonable. Disputes such as these can get complicated and we can assist you in trying to resolve the matter without going to Court. In some cases you may need to instruct an independent expert, such as a surveyor, to assess the problem. In all cases you should keep a detailed record of the problem with photographs where appropriate. You should not have faulty work repaired by another contractor until an independent expert has seen it and the original service provider has been given the chance to inspect.
Sometimes problems arise with professionals such as Solicitors, accountants, architects etc. These types of professional negligence claims can be complicated and just because something went wrong, it does not mean that the professional was negligent. For that reason, it is important to get specialist advice. It is also likely that independent expert evidence will be needed.
In some cases however, it may be more appropriate to make a complaint to the governing body or ombudsman for the profession concerned. Some of these authorities have powers to resolve disputes by arbitration, or award compensation in appropriate circumstances.
You may have lent somebody money with the best of intentions, but they have not paid you back. Sometimes, it only needs a “Solicitors letter" to prompt payment. Sometimes however, the person may simply not have the means to pay and you will need to give careful consideration whether to bring a claim through the court, in case you are just throwing good money after bad.
You also need to be sure that you can prove the money is owed. If there is nothing in writing, the person who owes you the money might try to argue that it was a gift.
Contact our team of experienced customer dispute lawyers today for your FREE, no obligation enquiry, or to book an appointment.