If a customer complains about goods or services they've purchased from you, it's essential to establish what your responsibilities are under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Ask yourself whether the goods are not as you described them, unfit for their purpose, or of unsatisfactory quality. Ask if the services you have provided have been delivered with reasonable care and skill within a reasonable time for a reasonable charge.
If the customer does have a valid claim under one of the above conditions, then your next step depends on:
- whether the actual items are goods or services
- whether they are consumers or other traders
If faulty goods are involved and the purchase was made within the previous 30 days, you should offer a refund. The customer may also claim compensation from you either immediately following the sale or up to six years afterwards. This is uncommon, but if a customer does claim compensation and it's a reasonable claim, you can either:
- offer to repair or replace the goods
- pay the appropriate compensation
Consumers have (as opposed to other businesses) additional rights when they make a complaint.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
When there is a dispute between a business and a consumer, there are different options available to help resolve the issue. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is any process for the resolution of a dispute out of court. Although businesses do not have to agree to use ADR for a consumer dispute, they are required to provide certain information about ADR to consumers.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- Health and safety basics for business
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services