Consumer Advice Herts and Essex
Every day we enter into contracts without even thinking about it – when we buy the papers, shopping, eating out or taking a taxi. But do you know what to do if the goods are faulty, the food is awful or the taxi does not turn up?
If you are a business, do you know what legal rights your customer’s have?
We offer advice on all aspects of consumer law including:
- Buying and selling goods in store and and on-line
- Using services, including utility companies, builders, garages
- Eating out
- Holiday advice
- Professional and financial services
- Phones and the internet
- Court proceedings
You can choose how you would like the advice, when you want it and how you obtain that advice – in person, in writing or by video conference, at a time that suits you – we do not operate a 9-5 service and you can choose when and how to contact us (subject to terms and conditions).
Consumer Legal Advice – Consumer Law in England & Wales
Purchasing Goods In Store and On-line
Unfortunately, many of us don’t know our rights when it comes to purchasing and selling goods and services. The internet can make matters more difficult. In most cases it is easy to return goods to a store with a receipt and ask for a refund, but what if you bought something online or from an overseas retailer? If you are a retailer (either online or not), do you know your customers’ rights?
The law provides strong protection to purchasers of goods. Various Acts, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and 2013, provide robust protection to consumers.
Any goods you buy have to be of satisfactory quality, as described, and fit for any specified purpose. You also have the right to receive clear, comprehensive and unambiguous information about many types of goods or services before you decide to buy. This information includes the price (including tax), the cost of delivery and means of payment. You must also be told if you have the right to cancel the contract.
If returning goods in store, you only have the seller’s ‘goodwill’ returns policy to rely on. However, if the store does have in place a returns policy, they are obliged to stick to it.
If the item is faulty, you have the right to return it for a refund within a reasonable period of time (this is usually about 3 to 4 weeks. Alternatively, you can ask for other remedies, such as a repair or refund, but in reality, the retailer will be able to chose which is the most cost effective remedy to offer. If the goods prove faulty within the first 6 months, it is presumed the goods were sold with the fault, unless the retailer proves otherwise. After that time, you have to prove that the goods were sold with the fault.
You can also return the goods to the manufacturer under any warranty that was given with the goods, but you do not have to and can enforce your rights against the retailer.
Buying goods online is becoming more and more common. Now, most of us wouldn’t think twice about buying from eBay, Amazon or any other online retailer. But what are your rights? What if you wish to cancel an order? The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 offer increased protection to online shoppers.
The vendor is obliged to send you written confirmation of your order after you make it. This must contain certain information. It should, among other things, include cancellation information such as how to cancel and when you should cancel it by.
If the goods are in suitable condition but you have changed your mind, you have up to 14 days from the date of delivery to cancel your order and return the goods in most cases. The seller’s website terms and conditions should tell you who is liable for the cost.
If the goods are faulty then the seller is liable for the cost of return and must refund you in full.
Unless you agree otherwise, the seller must deliver the goods within 30 days. If they don’t, you have 30 days in which to ask for a refund.
These are just an outline of your rights. Often, it isn’t clear-cut whether or not your rights have been infringed. If you are unsure, or you would like more advice, contact J L Lezemore Solicitors today.
When you engage the services of a company, then you have engaged in a contract, regardless of whether or not anything was received in writing.
The legal principles which apply to service providers are broadly similar, whether the service involves the provision of something tangible (such as a builder building an extension) or something intangible, such as broadband or repairs to your car.
Whatever form the service being provided takes, it will be covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. If you arranged the service using the telephone or the internet, then the Consumer Contracts Regulations may also apply.
The basic legal principles which apply are that services must be carried out with reasonable skill and care and be completed within a reasonable time. Obviously, what is reasonable will differ greatly depending on the type of contract in question. A reasonable timescale for the delivery of a takeaway meal is obviously different from the timescales involved in renovating a house!
If the service being provided comes with goods (including parts or equipment such as a broadband router or a carburettor), they must be of satisfactory quality and fit for the specified purpose.
Common reasons for suing garages include:
- Defective repairs/servicing
- Damage to your car while it is in the Garage
Common reasons for suing service providers (phone, broadband, gas, electricity and water companies) include:
- Contract disputes
- Delay in installation or repair
- Defective service (such as poor broadband speed or no network coverage)
- Damage to property during maintenance/installation
If any of the above applies to you, we can help. Joanne Lezemore is well known for her work as a consumer champion.
Joanne has worked for more than 10 years with one of the country’s leading consumer organisations, being recognized internally and externally across broadcast media as the “Consumer Champion” and appearing on television and radio, both recorded and live. Many radio shows were not only live, but also had phone-ins, so the advice had to be accurate and immediate. These include MoneyBox, Don’t Get Done Get Dom, regional radio and The Wright Stuff.
We’ve all been out for a meal and been disappointed. In most cases we keep this dissatisfaction to ourselves. However, if the food or the service is below standard, you can take matters further.
It goes without saying that restaurants are legally obliged to provide food that is safe and of satisfactory quality. It must also match the description on the menu.
Obviously, there’s a difference between poor quality food and food which is dangerous. If your food contains foreign bodies or causes you food poisoning, then this is much more serious.
You can sue for food poisoning although there are some evidential difficulties. It can be difficult (although not impossible) to establish that it was in fact the restaurant food which caused the illness. However, in such cases (unusually, in the case of personal injury) you do not have to prove negligence per se. You only have to establish that the food contained harmful bacteria, you have suffered illness and that it was the food in question which was the cause of the illness.
If the food is unsatisfactory, you should complain as soon as you can. In most cases, you will be offered a replacement meal at no cost. If, however, the Maître d’ does not give you a satisfactory response, you should speak to the manager. If this doesn’t get you any further, you can pay, deducting the amount for the disputed meal from the total. Leave your contact information and it’s up to the restaurant to pursue you for the balance.
If you have been left unsatisfied by your experience in a restaurant, contact us today.
In recent years, many holidaymakers have found themselves without a holiday after the company with which they had booked went bust. Obviously this is the worst case scenario, but there are other more common circumstances which may cause you to seek compensation from your travel agent or tour operator.
From airport delays, to lost baggage, unsatisfactory accommodation, and cancellations, our relaxing break can sometimes become a source of stress.
If you have booked a package holiday (a holiday where two or more components such as flights and hotel are booked together), you are covered by the package travel regulations. If the tour operator wishes to make changes to your holiday they must:
- Offer you a holiday of the same or better quality or of a lower quality (plus a refund of the balance) in the event of a cancellation.
- Give you the opportunity to cancel the holiday with a full refund, or allow you to change the holiday.
- If some promised services are unavailable, they must make alternatives available or provide compensation.
Problems with flights – if you are travelling from an EU airport with an airline registered in the EU, then you are protected by EC Council Regulation no 26/2004.
This obliges airlines to make refreshments or accommodation available to passengers, depending on the length of the delay. If you are delayed for more than 3 hours you may be able to claim financial compensation.
For more information on claiming against an airline, tour operator, travel agent or holiday company, contact Joanne Lezemore now.
We expect professionals to be just that – professional. We expect a competent, efficient standard of service and for their advice to be reliable. In most cases, this is what we get. However, there are occasions where things can and do go wrong. If a professional has let you down, Joanne Lezemore can help.
When deciding whether or not a professional has been negligent, the law looks to the standard set by other professionals. If the professional in question has acted in a manner which is not in keeping with normal competent professionals in that industry, then you may be entitled to compensation if you have suffered a loss.
Professionals, including financial services professionals, owe their clients a ‘duty of care’. This duty exists where you have placed trust and reliance in the professional’s services and the professional knew that you were relying on their advice.
These types of cases can be complex, and involve some degree of interpretation. As such, you should take advice from a professional negligence solicitor before taking any legal action. Many professionals are covered by insurance through their regulatory body and, in such cases, it’s the insurance company who will defend the claim. These companies will instruct a specialist lawyer, which is why you should do likewise.
If you are involved in a dispute and can’t resolve it amicably, you may need to go to court to resolve it. If this is the case, we can represent you. We can issue or respond to court proceedings. We’ll offer practical legal advice tailored to you.
At J L Lezemore Solicitors, we offer a unique service tailored to your needs. You can choose how you would like the advice, when you want it and how you obtain that advice – in person, in writing or by video conference, at a time that suits you. We do not operate a 9-5 service and you can choose when and how to contact us. (subject to terms and conditions).
Contact J L Lezemore Solicitors – Covering Herts and Essex
If you need advice in relation to a civil dispute, we can help. Joanne Lezemore is a solicitor and mediator and has appeared extensively in the media in connection with consumer rights, consumer law and civil disputes.
Need Consumer advice now?
Visit Consumer Genie – an online advice service that offers advice by email or teleconference at an affordable price.