Who’s to blame if a “preferred” service lets you down – and who you can get money back from
If you buy from one place, but then get a service from another, who’s to blame if you are let down? Consumer lawyer Dean Dunham explains all
Buying goods and services – such as kitchen fitters and hire cars – through a third party can leave you in a pickle if things go wrong.
I receive many letters and emails from readers on the subject so here are two of your stories.
Derek from Leeds bought a kitchen then hired the retailer’s ‘preferred’ fitter to do the work.
But the tradesman damaged two of the units during the installation and refused to compensate Derek.
He complained to the retailer but they denied liability, stating that the fitter was not employed by them.
Who should pay then?
The label ‘preferred’ fitter makes it clear that he was not an employee of the retailer but a third party. On the face of it the retailer has no liability here.
However, if the retailer advertised that this fitter was highly skilled, hence being referred to as ‘preferred’ and it transpires that he is not, Derek may have grounds to claim that the retailer misrepresented him.
If this can be proven, the retailer would potentially become liable for any losses Derek suffers as a consequence.
Hire car problems
Ashleigh from Beaconsfield, Bucks, booked a flight to Madrid on an airline’s website.
At the same time she hired a car from a third-party company on the site. When she arrived in Madrid the hire car company said they had over booked so simply refunded her.
Ashleigh found an alternative hire car company but ended up paying £120 more.
She now wants to recover the difference but the car hire company has simply ignored her. So she is now looking to claim from the airline.
Can she claim?
Ashleigh will need to read the terms and conditions on the airline’s website to see what it says about liability and third parties that sell via their site.
I will be amazed if they do not stipulate that they accept no liability and consumers are contracting directly with third parties.
If this is the case, Ashleigh will have to show that she believed she would have recourse against the airline if something went wrong and that nothing on the site suggested otherwise.
Dean Dunham – Sunday Mirror
For more information and tips about your consumer rights, please read our other articles in the consumer news section.