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If you're unhappy about poor service

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’ve paid a person or business to do a service - for example, give you a haircut, make a wedding cake or provide transport - and it hasn’t been done with care and skill, you can:

  • ask them to do it again, if it’s possible
  • ask for a discount

If you have a problem with something else

There’s separate guidance if you have a problem with:

Get the service done again, or get a part refund

The law says you must first give them the option of providing the service again if it’s possible for them to do so. But you’re legally entitled to go straight to getting a discount if any of the following apply:

  • it’s not possible to get the service done again
  • it would take too long to get the service done again
  • it would be very inconvenient for you to get the service done again

The trader might agree to give you a discount rather than re-do the service if that’s what you’d prefer - you’ll have to ask and see what they say.

If you’ve made a complaint

If you told them that their service was good enough when it was done, you don’t have the legal right to get it done again or get a discount.

If you don’t notice a problem straight away

It might not be obvious at the time that the service wasn’t done to a good standard, eg you hired a ‘man and van’ to help you move house and found a broken ornament 3 weeks later. You’re entitled to ask for things to be put right for:

  • up to 6 years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • up to 5 years in Scotland

What to say or write

You might want to mention the law that deals with your rights in this situation. Choose the relevant law depending on when you gave the trader the go-ahead.

If you agreed the work before 1 October 2015, you can say:

“Common law says that reasonable care and skill must be used when providing a service.

In my opinion, you did not use reasonable care and skill when you provided this service.

I want you to fix the problem/give me a price reduction.”

If you agreed the work on or after 1 October 2015, you can say:

“The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that services must be provided with reasonable care and skill.

In my opinion, you did not use reasonable care and skill when you provided this service.

I want you to fix the problem/give me a price reduction.”

If they agree to re-do the service, arrange a date for it to be completed by. You’re legally entitled to have it done within a ‘reasonable time’. There are no exact rules for what a ‘reasonable time’ is, but you could try contacting similar service providers to get an idea of how long it should take.

If you’re getting a discount, you’ll have to agree the amount with the trader. It’s a good idea to start by suggesting a figure and explaining why you think it’s reasonable, then take it from there.

If you still haven't solved your problem

There are other steps you can take to solve your problem - these include using ‘alternative dispute resolution’, which is a way of solving disagreements without going to court.

Get help

Contact your local Citizens Advice bureau or Advice Direct Scotland's consumer service if you need more help.

Advice Direct Scotland's Consumer Service 

Freephone: 0808 164 6000

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