When you hire a trader to carry out work on your property, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that the trader should carry out that work using ‘reasonable care and skill’.
That is a job that is completed to the level of care and skill expected of a competent trader within their profession. If you believe the level of service you have received is in question, and can prove this with evidence, then you may be able to hold the trader in breach of this legislation.
There are several avenues you can pursue, depending on whether you believe the trader capable of competently resolving the issue or not.
What rights do we have?
You have the right to ask for a repeat performance and can request that the trader to comes back to the property to fix any issues you have highlighted, for free and within a reasonable timescale as to prevent causing significant inconvenience.
If you have given the trader the opportunity to put things rights and they’ve refused; failed to do so within a reasonable timescale; or they’ve been unable to complete the work to an acceptable standard, you could ask them to deduct an appropriate amount of money from the total cost of the work, using any evidence you may have.
Additional Costs / Consequential Losses
If you’ve incurred any additional costs, or ‘consequential losses’ as a result of the work carried out or you have had to arrange another trader to complete the work, you might be entitled to ask the trader to cover these losses, provided you can demonstrate that you acted reasonably and have supporting evidence.
How can I resolve this?
If you have not already done so, you should raise your concerns with the trader try and come to an amicable agreement on a resolution. When verbal discussions have been unsuccessful, you should follow this up with a more formal letter of complaint.
It is always best to send this by signed-for mail to allow for tracking, allowing you to check that it has been received. If you are sending this via email, you can send with read receipt requested.
You should also give the trader a reasonable timescale to reply.
Unsafe Work / Risks to Safety
If you are concerned that the work carried out by the trader might be unsafe or pose an immediate risk to safety, you should take steps to try and ensure the safety of yourself and others, whilst trying to avoid any loss of property contents.
As the property owner, you may be held responsible if someone is injured as a result of known dangers at your property.
Gas Installations / If you can smell gas – If you have safety concern with a gas installation or can smell gas, you should evacuate the property and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
Electrical Work – If you have an immediate concern about electrical work, if safe to do so, you should turn off the power and contact a qualified electrician.
To report any dangerous building or structural risk you should contact your local council’s planning department or building control.
Approved / Trusted Trader Applications
More than half of Scotland’s local authorities operate approved trader schemes through their Trading Standards services. You can search for approved traders in your area on the Approved Trader website at www.approvedtrader.scot.
consumeradvice.scot have specialist advisers who can help if you need further assistance.
Visit www.consumeradvice.scot, or call 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).