How many of us have paid for things, for example a service or an item we have purchased, in circumstances where the service supplied or item purchased was faulty?

We pay often because we think (1) it is not worth the hassle to make a fuss, (2) we are concerned with where making a fuss might lead and (3) we don’t like making a fuss because that’s not what we have been brought up to do.

How many times have you been in this position and done nothing but stayed quiet and paid?

But there is choice.  Stand up and be counted.  Make a fuss.

In making a fuss there are a number of things to have in mind:

  • Understand your legal rights: most services and items supplied will be provided under some form of written contract. Many written contracts are short in length and written in plain English. Do have in mind, however, that there are many important terms in contracts that are implied by the law.
  • Complain: complaining in an effective way is a skill. Something that has to be both learned and practised. Escalation is often a key part.  Avoiding delay is normally critical.  By all means start off the complaint with a telephone call. You might just get the recipient off guard and say things that might help you later.  Plan in advance what you are going to say.  Follow up your compliant in writing.  Use business language.  No sarcasm or rudeness!  If your complaint is not being properly addressed, see if there is a complaint’s policy and follow that.  Write to other more senior people within the organisation.  If the organisation belongs to a professional or other body contact them.
  • Stand your ground: if you complaint is not dealt with satisfactory, refuse to pay or pay part in full and final settlement or as a payment on account. Don’t be put off by threats of legal action. The court system for this country is fair and many claims can be dealt with both cheaply (with or without solicitors) and quickly.

This post was written by Stephen Goodrham. For further information, please contact:

Stephen Goodrham, partner, Commercial Dispute Resolution

T: 0121 234 0098


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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.