Your rights when home improvement work goes wrong

Home Improvement

Do you have an issue you need put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?,

I booked to have my bathroom refitted by Wickes. It was supposed to take five days, but four months later it’s in a far worse state than before the job started.

There were a series of issues with poor quality work during the refit, from furniture being installed in the wrong place to appalling tiling. The bathroom was left in an unacceptable state.

After complaining, I found myself going back and forth with Wickes to try and get the job corrected. A new installer was appointed but they claimed the entire bathroom needed to be redesigned.

All of this has been left unresolved with no plan of action. I feel Wickes has failed to honor my contract.

Can you help me get this resolved please?

Anna (a pseudonym)

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, any work should be carried out with reasonable care and skill.

It’s unacceptable, then, that Wickes failed to complete the job within the agreed timeframe, leaving Anna with a bathroom not fit for use.

When things go wrong with home improvement work, it’s best to try and deal directly with the trader or the company you booked with in the first instance, as Anna tried. If things can’t be resolved amicably, you’ll need to go through the trader’s complaints procedure.

As Anna wasn’t getting anywhere with Wickes, we stepped in to help her arrive at a resolution.

Wickes apologized and said it aims to complete installations to a high standard. It’s since refunded Anna in full and provided additional compensation.

Her refund secured, Anna contacted another company to carry out her refit which is now – finally – complete.

Despite many consumers facing issues with delays and poor quality work, home improvement companies do not have to belong to an alternative dispute resolution scheme (ADR)which adjudicates disputes between consumers and companies.

This means you might struggle to escalate the issue if the company is unable or unwilling to help. Which? wants to see a mandatory ombudsman in every sector to make it easier for consumers to complain when something goes wrong.

Get in touch. If you’ve got a consumer rights problem you need put right email us at [email protected]

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