What are your rights if you use a third party supplier?

Most of us deal with third party suppliers all the time, but it’s not always easy to know what your rights are if something goes wrong.

For example, if you’ve ordered a kitchen and it’s been fitted badly by a different company, or made an insurance claim and the work done by the insurer’s builder isn’t up to scratch, where do you turn?

Here’s what you need to know.

Third party suppliers explained

A third party supplier is a company that’s independent of the one you have bought a product, service or policy from. For example, you may buy a kitchen from a DIY store or a flat-pack furniture shop and arrange installation at the same time. Often these stores don’t use their own installers, but sub-contract the work to independent suppliers.

Your rights if you use a third party supplier

If you use a third party supplier, your rights depend on several factors. The easiest way to explain it is to use an example.

  • Kitchen or bathroom installation: If you’re buying a new kitchen or bathroom and you’re getting it installed as part of the contract, then your consumer rights extend to the installation of the kitchen or bathroom. What that means is that if the kitchen or bathroom isn’t installed correctly, the company you bought the kitchen or bathroom from is responsible for putting it right. It doesn’t matter whether the contractor was directly employed by the kitchen or bathroom company or a sub-contractor. If you buy a kitchen from one company and get it installed by your own builder or joiner, then it’s not the kitchen company’s responsibility to sort out any problems with bad installation. However, they are responsible for making sure that the kitchen is up to the job.

  • Appliance installation: If you buy something like a washing machine or dishwasher, you can complain to the retailer if it isn’t installed correctly, if you’ve used their installation service.

  • Insurance claim: If you make an insurance claim – maybe for something like water damage to your home or a broken windscreen in your car – you have better protection if you use a company recommended by the insurer or on their approved panel. In that case, if the work isn’t up to scratch, it’s the insurer’s responsibility to sort it out. If they don’t sort it out, you should complain to the insurer. If that doesn’t get the desired result, you can complain – free of charge – to the Financial Ombudsman Service here. They can make the insurance company put right any problems and, in some cases, pay compensation.

Using your own trader

If you use your own builder, joiner or trader to install a kitchen or to repair your home as part of an insurance claim, then you’ll have to sort out any problems directly with the trader. That could mean making a claim via the small claims court if you’re unable to resolve the issue between you.

Have you ever had problems with a third party supplier and did you manage to resolve them or not? We’d be interested in hearing from you.You can join the conversation on the Rest Less community or leave  a comment below.

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