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Disputes can arise in many situations, both in and out of business; there may be a breach of contract, allegations of negligence, disputes about property and ownership of rights and many more.

Faulty Goods

Products purchased must match what the sale contract says, or they will be in breach of contract. For this reason it is always important to consider the contract carefully. A common misunderstanding is that contracts must be in writing to be valid but in law a verbal contract is enforceable (apart from certain situations such as sales of land or credit) – the problem though is how to prove what was agreed verbally.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1st October 2015. It provides wide ranging protection for consumers including:

  • A right to a refund after 30 days if the item is faulty
  • No deductions from refunds are allowed if the refund is within 6 months of purchase
  • A right to a refund or price deduction if the seller has tried to repair or replace a faulty item
  • More rights to challenge hidden fees or charges – terms need to be fair and clear
  • Protection when purchasing digital content online
  • A right to request a repair or replacement if you would rather have that instead of a refund or replacement
  • More rights regarding “pre-contract information” – this is information provided to you by the seller before you enter the contract that you rely on in making your decision whether to buy or not

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also requires goods to be of:

  1. Satisfactory quality – the quality you would reasonably expect for such a product based on what it is, how much you paid for it etc. Of course, a brand new luxury car will not be judged to the same standard as a £100 used car.
  2. Fit for purpose – if you let the seller know what you need the item for, or have a specific purpose, then the product needs to be suitable for that purpose. For example, if you are buying a computer and tell the seller you need it to be able to run a specific type of software then if it is not able to it will not be “fit for purpose”.
  3. Match the description given – if a product is described a certain way then it needs to match up so pay close attention to the description.

Poor or Unsatisfactory Services

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also provides protection for poor services. This includes all types of services from hairdressing to accountancy, from building works to entertainment.

The law states:

  • The service must be performed with “reasonable care and skill”
  • Information provided, both verbally and in writing, is binding when the buyer relies upon it
  • If price is not agreed beforehand the price must be reasonable;
  • The service must be completed in a “reasonable time”

Landlord & Tenant Disputes

These can arise for many reasons such as failure to pay rent, the property being in poor repair, damage to the property, and more. There can also be claims arising out of failure to put deposits in a proper deposit protection scheme or making unfair deductions from a deposit.

Many accidents occur every year in rented houses due to often defective fixtures and fittings, or sometimes utilities. Landlord’s have a legal duty under the Defective Premises Act to maintain their properties in a safe condition. Many law firms and insurance companies get the law wrong in this area as there are a number of different laws which can apply depending on where the accident happened and whether the landlord also lives in the property.

Landlords not only have a duty to repair any dangerous hazards reported to them but also to repair things they should have spotted during an inspection, so we often need to check the tenancy agreement to see what rights the landlord has to inspect the property.

If you do report anything to your landlord or lettings agent you should keep copies as this will be crucial evidence in proving you reported the hazard to them.

Land Disputes

A house is often the biggest expenditure, and most important asset, someone will ever have. Naturally people wish to protect their rights when it comes to something as important as their property.

Disputes over land can arise for many reasons – another person trying to take ownership of your land; someone interfering with one of your rights, such as a right of way or access; someone making a change or alteration to their property which then damages your property, such as building a new drainage system on their land which causes overflow onto your land; and many more.

When it comes to land disputes you should not delay in seeking legal advice – it’s best to act right away. Aston Knight Solicitors Bury offer a no-obligation free consultation on all land dispute issues and will be pleased to assist.

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