Whether you’re having a new conservatory fitted or a new boiler installed, having work done on your home will hopefully be a straightforward and stress-free process. However complaints from consumers relating to ‘House fittings and appliances’ account for the highest number of complaints to the Citizens Advice consumer service (https://public.tableau.com/profile/citizensadvice#!/vizhome/ConsumerAdviceTrendsAugust2018/Cover)
HIES (The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme) and DGCOS (the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme) are here to help consumers resolve their complaints in the home improvement industry. We would like to share with you some tips to resolve any complaints that you could have against a trader.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides consumers with what their rights are and what the trader is expected to do to resolve complaints. Services such as home improvement should be carried out with reasonable care and skill and goods supplied as part of a service should be of a satisfactory quality.
- Gather your evidence. Make sure that you keep details of when faults develop and when you contacted the trader to get them corrected. This will help later if there are any disputes.
- Know your rights. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that services such as home improvements must be carried out using ‘reasonable care and skill’ (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/part/1/chapter/4/enacted).
- Be reasonable. Do allow the trader to come back and look at the fault.
- Put complaints in writing when needed. In most circumstances a quick phone call should help resolve the matter but if you feel this doesn’t work put your complaint in writing. Make sure you detail your problem succinctly and make it clear to the trader what you are reasonably expecting.
- Get further help. Schemes such as HIES and DGCOS provide free mediation and will contact the trader on your behalf to find a solution when you have used one of their members.
Find out what your rights are and what your expectations as a homeowner should be when hiring professionals to do a job. Read this article to be informed ‘Why ADR matters’ blog on the HIES website – http://www.hiesscheme.org.uk/blog/post/why-alternative-dispute-resolution-matters/