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How do I make a complaint against .......


It's upsetting when things go wrong with a company that you have employed and/or paid money to. However it's important to resolve quickly. Hopefully if you have followed our guidelines of 'How to find a reputable...' then you will have chosen a company from an organisation with a free independent complaints scheme.

Complain against: Estate Agent; Letting Agent; Solicitor/Conveyancer; Surveyor; Mortgages and Insurance; Removals; Builders; Plumber; Electrician; Tradesman; Property Investment CompanyArchitect/Project Manager; Company not belonging to an organisation with an independent dispute service

How do I make a complaint against an Estate Agent
The first step is to ring, visit or write to the estate agent explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). Every estate agent BY LAW must now belong to a redress scheme, for example the Ombudsman Scheme or Surveyors Ombusdman, to whom you can take your complaint to. If they don't (you should never use an agent that doesn't belong to a redress scheme) then you have little additional recourse. For information on how to choose an estate agent, read our How to Sell Your Home factsheet.

If you have any questions about employing an agent, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

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How do I make a complaint against a Letting Agent

Telephone, visit or write to the letting agent setting out why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If this doesn't work, then you will need to go to a trade organisation that they belong to such as NALS, ARLA or NAEA. If they don't (you should never use an agent that doesn't belong to a trade body) then you have little additional recourse apart from the Office of Fair Trading. To assist in choosing a letting agent, visit our Finding a Letting Agent section.

If you have any questions about employing an agent, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

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How do I make a complaint against a Solicitor/Conveyancer
It's not easy! This is one of the worst services to deal with complaints as the Law Society has a massive back log of complaints against their profession. However, the first step is to ring, visit or write to the company involved explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If this doesn't work, then you will have to make a further complaint to the Law Society. For further information on finding a solicitor or conveyancer, read our Legal Steps factsheet or visit our Property Conveyancing Services section.

If you have any questions about employing a solicitor/conveyancer, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Sellers' Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!

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How do I make a complaint against a Surveyor
The first step is to ring, visit or write to the company involved explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If this doesn't work, then you will have to make a further complaint to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Need help finding a surveyor, visit our Property Surveyors Services page or read our Surveying your Property factsheet.

If you have any questions about employing a surveyor, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Sellers' Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!

Buy our First Time Buyers' Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!


How do I make a complaint against a Mortgage or Insurance Company
This is more serious than many other complaints as some financial mistakes are covered and investigated by the Financial Services Authority. As with all companies the first step is to telephone, visit or write to the company/person involved explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If this doesn't work, then you will have to make a further complaint to their trade body, Council of Mortgage Lenders/Association of British Insurers and from here to the Financial Services Authority. Take a look at our Mortgage Services page to help you choose a mortgage company or visit our Property Insurance services to find an insurance company.

If you have any questions about mortgage or insurance companies, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk


Buy our Sellers' Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!

Buy our First Time Buyers' Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!


How do I make a complaint against a Removals Company
Firstly, telephone, visit or write to the company involved explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If this doesn't work, then you will have to make a further complaint to their trade body, British Association of Removers; Guild of Professional Removers or Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme. However only 25% of people choose a removals company that belongs to a trade body - so beware that you may only be able to resolve your complaint with the company if they belong to one. For further information read our removals factsheet or visit our removals services page.

If you have any questions about employing a removals company, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Sellers' Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!

Buy our First Time Buyers' Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Buy, Sell and Move House Book!


How do I make a complaint against a Builder
Most problems that occur with builders are because there isn't a signed agreement which clearly states the work to be done and even if there is, often changes are made during the work which add cost, cause a delay and the contract isn't adjusted to account for it. It is crucial to be very clear about what it is you are unhappy about and how the builder has broken the agreement - even if it's verbal. Hopefully you will have kept up to 10% of the monies to be paid to the builder back prior to the project being completed so you can use this as a bargaining chip - provided that's fair. The best way to sort out a complaint with a builder is to sit down and discuss it, and then follow up what you have agreed in writing. If it's not possible to come to a conclusion, you can either go to a trade body if the builder is a member such as Federation of Master Builders, or TrustMark. However if they don't belong to a trade body, you can go to your local Office of Fair Trading. Writing and sending a letter by recorded post stating the problem and what you want doing about it will help. To gain an independent view on what has happened you can contact a company such as Inspector Home who will assess the work for you or a surveyor from the RICS who will do the same. And in the worst case scenario you'll need to go to court. If the amount is under £5,000 you can go to the Small Claims Court, but more than this and you will have to engage a solicitor and worst case, go to court.

If you have any questions about employing a builder, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

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How do I make a complaint against a Plumber
The majority of problems that occur with plumbers relate to new heating systems not working, or leaks. What you need to do is identify if it's a problem the plumber has caused, or a problem with the new equipment. In the latter case you may well be covered by a warranty. It is crucial to be very clear about what it is you are unhappy about and how the plumber has broken the agreement - even if it's verbal. Hopefully you will have kept up to 10% of the monies to be paid to the builder back prior to the project being completed so you can use this as a bargaining chip - provided that's fair. The best way to sort out a complaint with a plumber is to sit down and discuss it, and then follow up what you have agreed in writing. If it's not possible to come to a conclusion, you can either go to a trade body if the builder is a member such as Federation of Master Builders, or TrustMark. However if they don't belong to a trade body, you can go to your local Office of Fair Trading. Writing and sending a letter by recorded post stating the problem and what you want doing about it will help. To gain an independent view on what has happened you can contact a company such as Inspector Home who will assess the work for you or a surveyor from the RICS who will do the same. And in the worst case scenario you'll need to go to court. If the amount is under £5,000 you can go to Small Claims Court, but more than this and you will have to engage a solicitor and worst case, go to court.

If you have any questions about employing a plumber, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Renovating a Home Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Develop Your Property!

Buy our Buy to Let Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!


How do I make a complaint against an Electrician
In most cases problems occur with electricians relating to new lighting or wiring not working. What you need to do is identify if it's a problem the electrician has caused, or a problem with the new equipment. In the latter case you may well be covered by a warranty. It is crucial to be very clear about what it is you are unhappy about and how the electrician has broken the agreement - even if it's verbal. Hopefully you will have kept up to 10% of the monies to be paid to the electrician back prior to the project being completed so you can use this as a bargaining chip - provided that's fair. The best way to sort out a complaint with a electrician is to sit down and discuss it, and then follow up what you have agreed in writing. If it's not possible to come to a conclusion, by law they must be a member of a trade body such as the Electrical Contractors Association or National Association for Professional Inspectors and Testers, so you can follow their complaints procedure.

If you have any questions about employing an electrician, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Renovating a Home Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Develop Your Property!

Buy our Buy to Let Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!


How do I make a complaint against a Tradesman (for example, plasterer, brick layer, carpenter, painter and decorater)
In many cases, trades people aren't members of trade bodies. If they are you can talk to them first and try to come to a conclusion and then refer to the trade organisation.If not, then it's a bit more difficult. You need to work out what you are not happy about. Have they tried to charge you more than originally quoted? Is their work not as you'd hoped? Have they started work and then disappeared? Try to talk to them if you can to come to a conclusion, and never pay upfront for their time or materials until they have done the work (which might be daily or weekly) or the materials are on site. Most builders merchants give reputable tradesmen credit to pay for seven to thirty days.  If it's not possible to come to a verbal agreement, then you can go to the Office of Fair Trading or the Small Claims Court, or engage a solicitor to go to magistrates court.

If you have any questions about employing tradesmen, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Renovating a Home Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Develop Your Property!

Buy our Buy to Let Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!


How do I make a complaint against a Property Investment Company
Most property investment companies are not regulated, unless they are linked with Financial Services. As a result you can only really progress a complaint by contacting the company yourself, The first step is to ring, visit or write to the letting agent explaining why you are complaining and what you want them to do about it (apologise, compensate etc). If you get no joy, then contact the Office of Fair Trading, or a solicitor to consider taking the matter to court. Read our factsheet on Rental Rights and Responsibilities for further information.

If you have any questions about property investment companies, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Buy to Let Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!

Buy our  Property Investment Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!


How do I make a complaint against an Architect or Project Manager
Most complaints with Architects/Project Managers are the time it takes to complete a project; issues relating to passing/failing planning consent or building regulations and escalating costs versus the original budget. To help, it's important to keep track of the number of changes that you have requested during the design/build and ALWAYS check if what you are asking to be done is going to incur more cost and if so, how much. In the main you can complain directly with architects/project managers, but better to do so as soon as you are not happy than let things build up. If you get no joy raising the complaintn with them, then for architects you can go to RIBA and for project managers RPTI if they are a member, or you can try a solicitor/Small Claims Court. Always try to settle everything out of court as legal fees can quickly mount up more than the amount of money you are trying to recoup. For further information, take a look at our Self Build factsheet.

If you have any questions about employing an architect or project manager, contact us on 0845 838 1763 or email enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

Buy our Renovating a Home Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Develop Your Property!

Buy our Buy to Let Property Pack - includes three month's FREE 1:1 support and a FREE Which? Property Investment Book!


Complain against a company NOT belonging to a third party redress scheme
If you have chosen a company that is not part of an organisation that you can complain to, and you cannot get a satisfactory resolution direct with the company, you can go to the Office of Fair Trading and head to court via a solicitor or the Small Claims Court if the claim is under £5,000.



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