Why is this important?
What can you do about a service done badly
When you get a service carried out, such as a repair or having something made for you, consumer law gives you the right to have the service carried out with reasonable care and skill.
If you get a service which isn’t carried out using reasonable care and skill, you may be entitled to do something about it. For example, you may be able to get the trader to put things right or get a discount.
This page tells you more about what you may be able to do if a service isn’t carried out using reasonable care or skill.
Telling the trader you're not happy with the service
If you think the service has not been carried out with reasonable care and skill you should tell the trader straight away. If you wait too long to complain you could be seen as accepting the faults and it will be more difficult for you to complain later on. You should list the problems in writing, especially if there are lots of them.
If you are dealing with a shop or business, you may need to speak to the manager or director to sort the problem out. Large shops or businesses may have a customer service department or manager.
Getting a discount
If the problem is minor and you don't want to have it put right, you could just ask the trader to give you a discount on the price. You should suggest a figure and see if the trader agrees. You may need to ask an expert's opinion to work out how much discount you should ask for.
Getting the trader to put things right
You should usually give the trader a chance to put things right. You need to show you have been reasonable in case you have to go to court.
Some traders may not agree to put the problem right, or you might not want them to, for example if the work is of a very poor standard or is unsafe.
- For more about getting the trader to put things rights, see Getting a trader to put things right.
Refusing to pay the trader
If a trader has done work so badly that everything they have done needs to be redone by another trader, you may feel that you should not pay them anything. You should get advice before refusing to pay the trader because they may take you to court to claim what they think you owe them.
If you've paid the trader some money for the work they've done but they don't think it's a reasonable amount, they may also threaten to take you to court.
You may need to get an expert to value the work done by the trader and to advise you how much of the work needs to be done again.
If the work wasn't carried out with reasonable care or skill and the trader is refusing to put things right, you may be able to claim for an amount that would include:
- the cost of getting another trader to put things right
- repairing or replacing things which were damaged by the poor work – for example a carpet damaged by a poorly fitted radiator or a dress ruined by a dry-cleaner
- having to take time off work to wait for a repair to be done
- in some cases, compensation for disappointment or mental upset - for example if a wedding photographer produces very bad pictures. The trader would have had to have been aware of the importance to you of the service being properly carried out.
If your belongings need to be replaced, you might not get back what you paid for them, or enough to pay for a new replacement. The trader only needs to pay you what the belongings were worth when they were damaged. This will take into account how old your belongings are and their condition
If a trader refuses to pay compensation, you may need to take them to court.
Claiming on a credit card
If you paid for the service using a credit card, you may be able to claim compensation from the credit card company instead of the trader. The service must have cost more than £100 and not more than £30,000 and you don’t need to have put the full purchase price on the card. This may be useful if the trader has gone out of business or is unable to compensate you.
Claiming on a guarantee or insurance
If a service has been done badly you may also have rights under a guarantee. This can be particularly helpful if a trader has gone out of business.
Using a trade association
You should always find out whether a trader belongs to a trade association or similar organisation, for example, a professional body. Many trade associations consider complaints about their members and have conciliation and arbitration schemes to help resolve disputes between their members and customers.
- When has a service been done badly
- Accepting work which has been done badly
- Getting a trader to put things right
- Getting an expert opinion
- Can I refuse to pay for a service
- Claiming on a credit card
- If you need more help