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Paying call-out charges for building work and other repairs

Some builders and other traders such as plumbers and electricians make a call-out charge when they come to your home to do repairs or assess what work needs to be done.Often, it's not clear that a call-out charge is being made or what it's for. If you're charged a call-out fee when you haven't been told about it, you may not have to pay this additional cost and this could be unfair consumer practice. Read this page to find out more.

What are call-out charges?

A call-out charge is a charge for coming out to you which is on top of the cost of any work or repairs.

So, for example, a plumber might charge you £100 for coming out to look at your faulty boiler and working out what the problem is. Then they might say it will cost you a further £300 if you want them to fix the problem.

It’s a legal requirement under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) for the plumber to make it clear they are charging you for the visit and that this is separate from any work they may or may not do. They should tell you this before they come out to you, and tell you how much the call-out charge will be. If they don’t tell you about a call out charge and then charge one, you may not have to pay this additional cost. It may also be a criminal offence under the CPRs. You can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service about this.

Charges for extra time

Sometimes, a trader won't charge you a call-out fee, but may say they needed extra time to work out what the problem is and charge you for this extra time. Again, it's a legal requirement under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013) and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) for the trader to have made it clear that you would be charged for any extra time and how long they could spend at your property before charging you. If they don't tell you about charges for extra time and then charge for that, you may not have to pay this additional cost. It may also be a criminal offence under the CPRs. You can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service about this.

Next steps

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