If you instruct a professional to provide a service to you, you don’t expect them to make a mistake.
But mistakes do happen so how can you put yourself in the best possible position to make a claim?
There are a number of easy steps you can take:-
Read all documents
A professional will normally send a letter to you once they are instructed which will also enclose their Conditions of Business. You should read these documents carefully to make sure they accurately reflect what you have asked the professional to do. This is important as it may affect your ability to make a successful claim. If there is any discrepancy you should raise it with the professional as soon as possible, preferably in writing.
Have everything in writing
Throughout the course of any job you will give the professional a number of instructions, some of which may be more important than others. Where possible, and particularly for important instructions, these should be communicated in writing so there can be no misunderstanding about what you are asking them to do.
It is likely you will often have to give instructions by telephone or face to face. If you do, it is still important to make sure that your instructions are clearly communicated and understood. The professional may write to you afterwards to confirm the key points of what you have discussed. If they don’t, you should make sure you do so as soon as possible.
Be aware of complaints policies
Every firm will have a specific complaints policy. Make sure you have a copy. If anything goes wrong and you are not happy with the service you are provided with, it is important you understand what you need to do. Making a complaint to the relevant partner within the firm can be a helpful tool; it can provide you with some helpful information about the work that has been done/what may have gone wrong. The professional may be less on their guard before any formal claim is made and/or their insurers become involved.
Don’t underestimate the role the sector’s regulatory body can have if you are not satisfied with the outcome of any complaints procedure.
Most importantly of all, make sure that you keep copies of any and all communications between you and the professional as documents are the best source of evidence in any dispute.
This blog post was written by legal director Michelle Davies.