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Consumer problems and legal FAQs

Our team of solicitors have answered some commonly asked questions on consumer issues covering a wide range of situations. Please click on the questions below to find out more about a training contact at Linder Myers.

I agreed a price for my plumber to carry out some work in my kitchen, but now they have billed me considerably more. What can I do?

If your plumber gave you a ‘quote’, this is normally binding and they cannot charge you more than the agreed amount for the agreed work. If it was an ‘estimate’, it is possible that you can be charged more than this for the work. However, the cost of the work must be ‘reasonable’. There is no set definition of ‘reasonable’ as it is very much dependant upon the circumstances of your case. It may be a good idea to ask your plumber for a break down of the bill and ask them why there has been an increase in the price. For more information, you should seek legal advice from our team.

I hired a builder to carry out some work on my property, but I am not happy with the standard of the work done. What should I do?

A builder should carry out the work using reasonable care and skill. The first thing you should do is talk to your builder and explain the aspects of the work that you are unhappy with. If the builder disputes this, it might be a good idea to put this in writing and send a letter. If the issues are still apparent, you will need to seek further advice from us.

I hired an electrician to do some electrical work in my house, and they have not completed the work. What can I do?

The work should be carried out within a reasonable period of time if you have not previously agreed a timeframe. You should contact the builder and ask them to complete this by a set date. If the work has still not been completed by this date, you should contact us for further advice on what to do next.

I purchased a pair of shoes from a high street shop and there is a hole in the sole along the seam line. What can I do?

The shoes you purchased should be of a satisfactory quality, and if there is a hole in the seam line, then the shoes are likely to be faulty. You should take the shoes back to the shop along with your receipt and ask for a replacement pair of shoes or alternatively, your money back. If both options are refused, explain your right to purchase shoes that are of satisfactory quality. It may be necessary to put this in writing and send a letter.

Do I have to accept a credit note?

If the item you have purchased is faulty, then you have a right to a refund. You do not have to accept a credit note in these circumstances.

If the item is not of satisfactory quality, or fit for its intended purpose or not as described, you have six years from date of purchasing the item to bring legal action.

If I purchased the faulty item using my credit card, can I claim my money back from my credit card company?

If the faulty item cost between £100 and £30,000, then you may be able to claim a refund from the credit card company. This is because they are equally as liable as the supplier or retailer of the faulty item.

I purchased a coat from a high street retailer and I’ve changed my mind about the colour. Can I take it back to the retailer and get my money back?

The retailer does not have to give you your money back unless the coat is faulty. You do not have an automatic right to a refund because you have changed your mind. However, retailers often have their own returns policy that you can get your money back within a certain period of time from the date you purchased the item and you provide your receipt. Therefore, its always best to check the retailers returns policy.

I purchased an ‘ovenproof’ dish, but when I used it for normal purposes and placed it in the oven, it shattered. Can I get my money back?

Yes, if the dish has been described as ovenproof but in fact it is not, then the dish is not as described. Therefore, you should be entitled to your money back.

I bought a television several months ago and the shop told me I had a 2 year guarantee. What does this mean?

A guarantee normally offers you additional rights over and above your consumer rights. For example, although the television should be of satisfactory quality, the guarantee may give you extra protection if there is a problem with the television some years after it was purchased e.g. to get a repair or replacement.

I bought a washing machine a couple of months ago and it has broken. The company that I bought it from has now gone into administration. What can I do?

It may be possible for the administrator to arrange for the washing machine to be fixed. You may be able to find the contact information of the administrator on the company’s website or in the local newspaper. If the company were a member of a trade association, they may be able to help. However, if neither option resolves the issue, it may be difficult to enforce your rights.

I ordered a new dress online and I want to cancel the order. Can I do this?

Most items that are purchased online, by telephone or by mail can be cancelled within seven days of receiving item. This is known as a ‘cooling off period’ and you should not have to pay a cancellation charge or give a reason for cancelling the order. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as tailor made goods or perishable items.

I bought a jumper online several weeks ago and I still haven’t received it. What can I do?

If you agreed a date with the seller as to when your jumper would be delivered, then the seller must ensure you receive it on the agreed date. If a delivery date has not been agreed, the seller must deliver the jumper within 30 days of the date you placed the order. This would also apply if you purchased the jumper by telephone or by mail.

I bought a second- hand car from a dealer and there is a problem with the engine. What can I do?

What amounts to ‘satisfactory quality’ when buying a second hand vehicle is difficult to measure as it is dependant upon many factors such the price paid for the car, mileage and its make. Inevitably, the quality will be lower than when buying a brand new vehicle. However, the car should be in reasonable condition and function properly. You may be entitled to claim a refund, ask for a replacement or ask the dealer to repair the problem.

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