As a consumer, you have certain rights when purchasing goods and services.
When a dispute arises, it’s important to know your legal rights and the options available to you for dispute resolution.
What are consumer rights?
Consumer rights in the UK are governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
This act sets out the rights of consumers when purchasing goods or services, including the right to a refund, repair or replacement if the product is faulty or not as described.
If you have a dispute with a seller, the first step is to try to resolve the issue with them directly.
You should contact the seller and explain the issue, providing evidence if possible. The seller should offer you a resolution within a reasonable time frame.
If the seller does not provide a satisfactory resolution, you can take legal action or consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
How can ADR help?
ADR is a process where an independent third party helps to resolve the dispute.
There are two main types of ADR available in the UK: mediation and arbitration.
Mediation involves a neutral third party assisting both parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
Mediation can be less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court, and the decision is not legally binding unless both parties agree to it.
Arbitration is a more formal process where an independent third party hears evidence from both parties and makes a decision.
The decision is legally binding, and the process is generally quicker than going to court. However, it can be more expensive than mediation.
If ADR is not successful, you can still consider taking legal action through the courts to resolve the dispute.
The Small Claims Court is a cost-effective and straightforward option for claims up to £10,000. Claims over £10,000 will be heard in the County Court or High Court.
To initiate legal action, you will need to complete a claim form and submit it to the relevant court.
The other party will have the opportunity to respond, and if the case goes to trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence to the judge. The judge will then decide on the matter.
Seeking legal advice prior to taking legal action or during the ADR process can be essential to resolving the matter successfully in your favour.
If you are in a dispute with a company about goods or services you have purchased and you need effective legal advice, please speak to our team today.