Most home improvements run smoothly, with customers leaving stellar reviews and happily paying contractors the full amount for their project upon completion.
However, the home improvement industry is one area that is notorious for misunderstandings escalating into full blown disputes. For example, a homeowner might refuse to pay the full price for a window installation because of a small scratch on the glass unit. If both parties refuse to budge on price, this can lead to home improvement stalemate, or worse, a costly legal battle.
Avoid taking a customer to court
So what do you do in this situation? Firstly you should be aware that the rules have changed in the last few months, thanks to the new Consumer Rights Act. One of the aims of this new legislation is to free up resources in small claims courts. By making contract terms and expectations of both parties clearer, the government hopes to reduce the number of disputes between consumers and retailers.
If you’re currently embroiled in a legal wrangle, don’t panic. At the CPA we offer our members an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service through our partners, the Retail Ombudsman. This means CPA members will now have access to third party mediators when unable to settle a dispute with a consumer, so you can reach a resolution outside of the courts.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
If a consumer has brought a complaint against your business’s products or services, and you haven’t managed to reach an agreement through negotiation, you will be expected to attempt to settle the matter through Alternative Dispute Resolution before the matter is brought before court.
ADR comes in many forms, including conciliation, mediation, adjudication, arbitration and Ombudsman schemes. It involves meeting together with the consumer along with an independent third party to try to reach an agreement.
A typical ADR scheme offers many benefits over the legal route, including support from caseworkers, a quicker resolution, reduced cost and confidential proceedings.
We help your business run smoothly
Running into disputes with customers over late or missing payments, or other disputes, could threaten the stability of your business, whether you work in the construction, double glazing or home improvement industry. Save time, money and energy by leaving dispute resolution up to the experts, and keep your business out of the courts.
Find out more about our ADR services by calling a member of our team on 01462 850064, or learn more about your new responsibilities to consumers.