Differences of opinion can arise in both personal and working life. Most of the time people are able to resolve matters between themselves but unfortunately that isn't always the case and matters can escalate when feelings are hurt or points of view are not appreciated.
Decisions then have to be made about when to escalate matters and even consult a solicitor. But before issuing the war cry 'You'll be hearing from my solicitor!' take a moment and try to keep a few things in mind.
Keep calm and carry on talking.
Whether your dispute is with an individual (such as a neighbour or tradesperson), a group (club or organisation) or a large company, anger and stress won't help. Clouded judgement and impulsive action will only make matters worse and provide a bad impression towards your reasonableness.
Keep focused on the specific issue and try to engage in a calm, polite discussion with the individual or business representative. Tell them your problem, what it will take from them to resolve it and make sure you listen to their response or any alternatives offered.
Use the correct channels.
Talk to the right person or department. For example if your dispute is about a faulty item you have purchased, then a manager or customer service representative will be more able to help you get it replaced than a trainee sales assistant. If you are not sure who to talk to, make polite enquiries until you find the right person.
If you cannot get the matter resolved, consider whether there is a complaints procedure that you can follow, and then do so. Also find out if there is an independent trade body such as the Financial Conduct Authority or an ombudsman to whom you can appeal to following your complaint.
Don't make threats.
Try not to talk about taking legal action, suing them, or dragging them in court until you have tried everything you can reasonably do to resolve the matter. Taking an adversarial approach at the very start may limit your options for a quick, simple and cost effective solution.
If an ombudsman does becomes involved, they may recommend mediation to resolve the dispute which you should be open to.
Keep a record of events.
If matters do need legal action and in extreme cases have to go to court, you will need to provide evidence of the problem. So keeping notes, photographs, documents and anything else that is relevant will be important. This documentation will also help you demonstrate all you have done to try to resolve the issue before being forced in taking legal action.
Make notes of any conversations you have with the date/time and who you spoke to, also keep copies of any letters or emails you have sent.
You will be hearing from my solicitor.
If you have satisfied yourself that you have done absolutely everything possible to sort things out but have been met with no success, then it's time to consult a solicitor for legal advice.
If you have a solid case then quite often a letter or intervention from a law firm can bring surprisingly quick and positive results and won't cost the earth. But depending how far you wish to pursue the matter it could ultimately end up in court which will take time and money (see our guide on how much it costs to take someone to the Small Claims Court).
A solicitor will be able to advise you fully on your dispute, including your chances of a successful legal claim, the evidence that will be needed and what costs are involved.
Just don't invoke us in anger!