Skip links

Know Your Consumer Rights

Here at Plaster Fever we’ve been the clients and we’ve been the contractors so that puts us in a great position to know full well what each side of the coin is like when it comes to a build!

We know the angst of a personal build when it’s not going the way you wish it was and we appreciate how much of an upheaval even the smallest build works can be to your life. We also know how amazing it is to get works done and create your perfect home just how you want it.

Know your consumer rights when it comes to builds and contractors

Revelling in all that joy and problem solving away the angst is what we love about our jobs and that’s why whether you work with us or not, we’re still passionate about helping people get the best out of their build teams, their builds and their homes.

With that in mind we want to talk a little bit about Consumers Rights. We’ve all heard or gone through the horror stories that see you left with an item in your home you just didn’t want. The kitchen that’s the wrong colour, the tiles that are wonky, the windows that don’t close or the back doors that are the wrong profile… it’s so disappointing. You wait for long enough to get these items to your house then handle the dust and gritted teeth as items are fitted all to have a finished article that wrong or simply not up to scratch.

It’s something we have dealt with both for ourselves and others over the years and as you slump down in the nearest seat staring at the perpetrating item wondering how much it will irritate you in years to come consider the following:

As a Consumer you can reasonably expect any work carried out by a profession to be done so with reasonable care and skill. This means that is something is wonky, badly fitted or has caused damage to your home during the fit you are within your rights to make a complaint and ask for compensation, your money back or give them the opportunity to put it right

You can also expect the job to be completed in a reasonable time frame unless a specific timescale is agreed to. Watch out for this in contracts. Some builders contracts have a clause that say you can only break a contract if they have spent ‘X’ consecutive days offsite. If that number is say, 4 they might be legally entitled to just come one day every 4 whilst they finish some other job leaving you tied into a contract and pulling your hair out.

You should expect contractors (especially is you have a quote that includes materials or any fixtures or fittings), to use materials that are of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. This includes any goods supplied, such as appliances for a new kitchen. If you feel as though you’re being fobbed off with cheap faulty alternatives to the real thing, speak up.

Goods supplied must be as described. Unless agreed otherwise, what you have been offered is what you should be provided. If not, you are totally within your rights to bring this up and ask for what was agreed to. With this kind of thing in mind, it is work making sure you have agreements of items in writing to refer back to when trusting others to purchase for you.

If you are left with a job that doesn’t meet one or all of the criteria above you are entitled to make a claim under the Consumers Rights Act. It’s worth noting that sometimes just a well-written email stating your intentions to do so is enough to get the matter sorted out. Your letter must give the contractor or company the opportunity to ‘put things right’ however it’s worth pointing out that this needs to be done in a reasonable time frame and without causing you significant inconvenience. They can’t agree to sort it when they’re less busy and then palm you off for three months – that’s not reasonable and in which case you can take them to the small claims court to either recover the amount paid, get compensation or get the company or contractor to pay the amount you had to fork out to remedy the issue.

If they come but are unable to fix or replace the offending work/item you can claim a refund or a price reduction if you decide you can live with things as they are.  If it’s simply not possible to redo work or it can’t be done in a reasonable time frame or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. Depending on how severe the failings are, this could be up to 100% of the cost, and remember, once the refund is agreed the trader should refund you within 14 days.

Another note, which we have found particularly handy when it comes to work on call outs which can potentially charge the earth, where the price is not agreed beforehand, the service must be provided for a reasonable price. So if you call someone out, pay the call out fee and then they give you an exorbitant bill before they leave that you didn’t ‘ok’ for minut amounts of work – question it.

Leave a comment