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Dealing with disputes

Help and advice about what to do if things go wrong with your job

Home improvement projects are often complex and mistakes can be made on both sides. In the unfortunate event of a dispute, we first recommend that you discuss any problems with your tradesman directly and try to work out a solution that suits both parties.

If you have kept a written log of the project, offer evidence and examples to support your claims. It may also help to refer back to relevant points in the contract, if one was drawn up.

Be fair and allow your builder to respond to your points and fix any faults. Most tradesmen want customers to be happy with their work and will be keen to resolve any issues amicably and to their customer's satisfaction.

If you are unable to resolve an issue directly with your tradesman, you might want to seek further help or advice.

Trade associations

Check if your tradesman belongs to a trade association or professional body. In many cases, these organisations will have an established complaints process in case of any problems. Contact the appropriate organisation to confirm the tradesman's membership and to ask for guidance.

Citizens Advice

If your tradesman is not a member of a trade organisation, try contacting Citizens Advice who provide help and advice to consumers through a national telephone service and local offices. Citizens Advice also explains your rights when having building work or home improvements done through their self help advice guide site.

Independent mediation

You may be able to resolve your dispute through independent mediation. Mediation would give you and your tradesman the chance to find a solution to your problem with the help of an independent third party. Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for more details about how to find a local mediator.

If you are still unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, you might want to consider starting legal proceedings. Legal action be a costly and time-consuming process and should be used as a last resort.