How to make a complaint: what to do if you need to report a trader?
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How to make a complaint: What should you do if you need to report a trader?

Here at Checkatrade, we pride ourselves on the high standards that each of our featured tradespeople vows to uphold. Each business on our site is vetted and reviewed to enable our customers the opportunity to find a reliable trader. However, any business can encounter problems and find that things may go wrong. What’s important is how any issues are tackled.

If you are at all dissatisfied by any part of the service that any tradesperson has provided then the following guide will offer you some advice on how best to approach the situation, whether you have experienced these issues previously with a tradesperson you have found elsewhere, or have any concerns about a Checkatrade member, the information below can help you.

The benefits of choosing to work with Checkatrade Members

Whilst all members on our database are vetted and reviewed, occasional issues are inevitable. By choosing Checkatrade to source your tradespeople, you will have access to the support network our company provides where our experienced team of customer service experts will be on hand to provide you with advice you might need. We will be able to communicate with yourselves and the tradesperson in question, with the aim to resolve any issues which cannot be directly solved between you; giving you extra peace of mind.

What are the grounds for making a complaint?

Following the Consumer Rights Act, any tradesperson who takes on any task that you employ them for is required to carry out the job with ‘reasonable care and skill’. This must be completed within a reasonable timeframe, meeting any agreed deadlines. They must also provide their work at a reasonable price, or at the agreed price.

Of course, there are scenarios where things don’t go to plan. It may be that upon further investigation, more materials are required than initially anticipated, or there may be a larger issue below the surface. The important thing to consider is how this situation is handled. If you believe that the trader you employed has failed to deliver in any one of these areas, at any point, then that would leave you in reasonable grounds for complaint.

Equally, under the Consumer Rights Act, you will be entitled to a rectification of the issue should you find yourself making a specific proven complaint (this would be a proven issue with service/works started or completed by your tradesperson with accompanying documentary evidence), go here for more detail and examples. This may be in the form of the trader redoing the service at no cost to you – whether this is limited to the smaller section you are dissatisfied with or the entire service is under discretion depending on the scenario. Alternatively, if the option of having the work redone is not a suitable option; for example, if necessary deadlines have already passed, then you may be entitled to a price reduction. The amount you are entitled to will depend on the severity of the issues you have, and if you are dissatisfied with the service, on the whole, then you may be entitled to up to 100% of the cost. You can find out more about what you can expect by contacting the Citizens Advice Office,  these are your rights for services at home under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Citizen Advice Office will advise what you do under varying circumstances.

How do I make a complaint to a tradesperson?

Approach the situation calmly

It can be so frustrating when things go wrong, especially when you have spent your hard-earned money on having an experienced person carry out a task for you. Yet, shouting and screaming gets us nowhere and can just make matters worse. No reputable tradesperson wants to disappoint their customers, and it can be upsetting for everybody involved when things go wrong.

Be open to listening

It may be that the cause of the concern has been a miscommunication or another issue which can be explained. Allow the trader the opportunity to explain their side of things, to help you both to understand what has gone wrong.

Give them the opportunity to rectify their mistakes

For any honest tradesperson, the prospect of having an unhappy customer is something they will take seriously. They don’t set out with the intentions of upsetting anybody and for the most part, will be keen to rectify any issues with you quickly. By allowing them the opportunity to fix things, without getting hot-headed, you may find the situation is sorted out quickly and easily.

Still dissatisfied? Make an official complaint

If you are still dissatisfied with the work that has been carried out or finding that the tradesperson you employed is less than willing to help you or listen to your complaints, then the next step is to make things more official. To do this, you should put your complaint into writing and send this to the tradesperson in question addressing it to their official trading address, ideally as a signed for delivery so you know that it has been safely received. Keep a copy for yourself too so that you have a record of what has been written. Within this letter of complaint, you must detail precise information about the task which they were employed for and which elements of the project you are unhappy with. You should also outline what you feel would be a satisfactory method of rectification.

Taking things further

If neither of you can agree to a resolution, or if they are not appropriately responding to you, then you should look at taking things further. Each case is unique, and we would recommend that customers seek legal aid to determine what would be the best course of action. If you believe that your chosen tradesperson has actually broken the law or acted unfairly, you can also report them to Trading Standards.

Reporting a trade to trading standards will require evidence including documents such as a contract agreement, photographic evidence and value of work carried out. Once the information and supporting evidence has been accepted, an investigation will be made to decide whether an action can be taken or not. – more information or evidence may be required before the final decision is made. They will use the information you give them to investigate and could potentially take the company to court, but they cannot help you with your personal problems such as seeking a refund. However, if you believe a rogue tradesperson is causing problems, then reporting them to us is essential.

Resolving a problem with one of our Members – how Checkatrade can help

What if a Checkatrade member does a poor job?

This is a rare event because as members have been vetted to a high standard and know that unsatisfied customers can leave a negative review which will be published on our website. If you do have reason to complain about the work of one of our members, then please Give Your Feedback or see how we can help with Resolving Issues.
If you are happy for us to contact the trade or service, we take up any dissatisfaction directly with them, sharing your negative review allows the trade the opportunity to act on the complaint within 5 days which could lead to a potential resolution.

For serious complaints, we have an Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme that is operated by an independent third party

In the unlikely event that a business has not adhered to the Checkatrade Standard, its membership will be suspended.

Upholding the Checkatrade Standard

All of our Checkatrade members agree to make sure that all of their work complies with ‘The Checkatrade Standard’. This means that not only will they always strive to perform at their best, but they must also handle any complaints in the appropriate manner. If you are making a complaint about a tradesperson found on our website and they are not dealing with the situation in a proper manner, contact us. Our committed team of customer service experts are on hand to offer you any of the advice you might need and can help to provide you take things further.

Should a tradesperson not be achieving the Checkatrade Standard, we will remove their advert from our platform, and their account with us will be suspended.

Further Advice

Should you be in need of more help or would like to know more about your legal rights, we encourage you to speak to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline is a telephone and online consumer advice service, which is supported by local authorities and by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Checkatrade Phone: 01243 601234

Address: Checkatrade, Building 2000, Lakeside North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN

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What others think of this article:

Olivia Scammell

Hi Anthony, this is not the case. To ensure the reviews are genuine, Checkatrade have a dedicated reviews team that aim to authenticate reviews in various ways. This includes phone calls to customers who have left a review, tracking of IP addresses, emailed verification links and other methods.

Anthony Beken

I am given to understand that you will not publish a bad review about one of your traders - is this correct? & if so what value can I place on the reviews you do publish?

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