1 Call the builder

Call your builder and ask for an explanation, and get them to commit to a time and date when they will try again. 

Bear in mind they may have a good reason (illness, for example) for having missed the appointment.

2 Give the builder a final deadline

If the second appointment is missed, you may need to get tough and give the trader a final deadline. 

Explain that you have a contract with them and the law says they have to do the work within a reasonable time. By failing to do so they're in breach of contract.

Set a final deadline by which work must have started. Warn them that if they don't, you'll instruct someone else to do the work and claim back from them any extra money you must pay over and above the price you'd agreed.

3 Get other quotes 

If the builder or decorator misses your final deadline or doesn't respond to your letters, get quotes from two or three other contractors for the cost of doing the job. 

Send the quotes to the builder or decorator and give them a final chance to do the work.

Warn them that if they don't, you'll get the work done by one of the contractors that quoted for the work and will claim the cost back from them - through the small claims court if necessary.

4 Go to the ombudsman

The Consumer Ombudsman deals with all consumer complaints in sectors not already covered by an ombudsman scheme, with a focus on home maintenance, improvements or installation services, retail, second hand cars and car repairs as well as servicing.

You can escalate your complaint to the ombudsman providing you have given the company a reasonable amount of time - usually up to eight weeks - to resolve your problem.

If the company is willing to work with the ombudsman to resolve your complaint, the aim is to reach a resolution within 10 working days

If the company is unwilling to work with the ombudsman – or a resolution that both parties are satisfied with cannot be reached – you will be advised on what to do next.

If you want to escalate your complaint to the ombudsman, you can use our advice on taking your complaint to an ombudsman.

5 Take your claim to court

The small claims court is a quick and simple way of using the courts to settle disputes. You don’t need a solicitor, and the hearing itself is fairly informal – but it should be used as a last resort.

You should always try to seek resolution in all ways possible, before taking court action. 

If you're considering the small claims court, take a look at our guide for what to do next.

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