Which? Survey Reveals Small Claims Confusion
Consumer Rights Solicitors.
The most common dispute is between an individual and a business that has sold you goods or provided you a service, and in this scenario it is worth considering your Consumer Rights before any court action.
When you purchase items or services from a business they have a duty to ensure that any goods are fit for purpose and comply with all trading standard regulations. If they fail in this duty and refuse to put things right, this is where a consumer dispute can arise. With any consumer disputes it is important to get guidance and be clear about your consumer rights. Knowing your rights and having a clear understanding of the various legal options open to you can help get the problem rectified.
What problems are classed as a consumer dispute?
- Being sold faulty electrical goods
- Furniture that is substandard quality or not as described
- Non-delivery of goods bought online
- New motor vehicles that are defective
- Poor quality work from tradesman (builders, plumbers, electricians etc.)
- Service or product warranty disputes
- Disputes over insurance claims or coverage
- Refund problems with hotels, airlines and tour operators
Importantly the Consumer Rights Act does not apply to private sales or services between individuals, however you can still pursue the matter via the small claims court.
Enforcing your consumer rights.
If these rights are breached then you may have a claim against the retailer or supplier. A core element of your consumer rights is your right to reject where you have 30 days from the date you take delivery or ownership of the item to reject the product and get a full refund, repair or replacement. So never put off dealing with a problem.
Often retailers will put things right when you first inform them of the problem, but if this doesn't occur then you need to be aware of your next options which generally are:
- Go through the company's complaints procedure
- Escalate the issue to an Ombudsman (if available)
- Make a claim in the small claims court yourself or through a retail solicitor
We've created various free guides to help you through this process which can be viewed or downloaded at the bottom of this page. But if the issue isn't resolved informally then the next step is to consider formal legal action.
How to make a claim in the Small Claims Court.
Whether you want to settle a dispute, gain compensation for what you have spent to put things right or simply recover money owed to you, making a small claim could help you reach a solution if all other attempts to resolve have failed.
What can I make a small claim for?
Obtain a refund after being sold faulty or unsuitable goods from a retail shop, online or a private individual.
Compensation for services that were not to an appropriate standard, to your satisfaction or the agreed contract. E.g. building work, car repairs, equipment installation etc.
Recover overdue debts and the related interest from a loan you have made to an individual or business.
Court proceedings should always be a last resort in trying to resolve any dispute. However if letters and complaints aren't getting you anywhere then the small claim process can help you achieve a settlement without incurring huge legal fees.
When starting a small claim you should always be prepared to ultimately go to a court hearing, but the whole process is designed for you to reach agreement before it gets that far. For your case to be suitable for a small claim its total financial value must be less than £10,000.
Advantages and Risks of making a small claim.
- More difficult for the other party to ignore than a complaint letter or call
- Can be done online with fixed fees, and if you win your opponent will have to repay the fixed fees back to you
Risks involved with a small claim:
- If you lose you may have to pay the expenses of the other party
- Only limited legal fees can be included in your claim if you choose to instruct a solicitor for small claims
- If the court approves an expert to be used you may have to contribute to their fees if you lose
Small Claim Solicitors.
These include sending a solicitor drafted small claims letter to the other party, providing detailed advice on the prospects of your case and issuing your claim in the small claims court.
Issue Small Claim Proceedings
If following a Letter Before Action your dispute has not been resolved, we will commence formal legal proceedings
These services are suitable for most small claims that are valued under £10,000 and incurred in England or Wales. If the amount you wish to recover is greater than £10,000 we can still help so please contact us with details.
Our free guides to resolving a dispute and making a small claim.
To assist we provide free guides on submitting a claim yourself as well as explaining our fixed fee services to help with specific legal areas such as drafting a letter before action.
Find out more by viewing the below guides.
What our consumer clients say.
"An absolute pleasure to deal with in regard to a faulty product claim that I made against a national bicycle vendor. Prompt, friendly and incisive advice and service."
"I would highly recommend the team at Catalyst Law for anyone wanting legal advice on a consumer law problem. They provided an excellent service and straightforward advice that was clear and easy to understand."
'No Win No Fee' subject to entering into an agreement with a suitable insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.