Small Claims

Published Thursday, 14 February 2013
Toggle font size

Left out of pocket because of faulty goods or poor service? Getting nowhere with your complaint?

Understanding the Small Claims Court

The Consumer Council can help you have a better understanding of how to settle disputes for faulty goods and poor service, as well as outlining when and how to use the Small Claims Court.

What should you do?

If you have a complaint about faulty goods or services, you should make sure your complaint is valid and then complain to the business first to give them a chance to sort out the problem.

In most cases, businesses will try and sort out a complaint. However, if that doesn't work you may want to consider using the Small Claims Court.

The Small Claims Court is a low cost, quick and informal way of settling disputes for faulty goods or services up to a fixed amount of £3000 and consumers should not be put off from using it. You don't even need a solicitor or barrister to represent you.

Steps to take to sort out a complaint on faulty goods and poor service

Before going to the Small Claims Court there are a number of steps you can take to help resolve a complaint before considering making a claim through the Small Claims Court.

1. Contact the business to sort out the problem at the earliest opportunity.

2. Follow up with a letter or send an email of complaint to the business.

3. Check if other organisations can help.

4. Write a final letter to the business detailing your complaint. Say the problem is still not fixed.

5. If the problem is still not sorted out think about using the Small Claims Court if the amount involved is not more £3,000.

Types of claims

Among the most common types of claim dealt with in the Small Claims Court are for compensation for faulty services provided, for example by builders, dry cleaners and garages and compensation for faulty goods, for example televisions or washing machines which go wrong.

Some exclusions do apply, for example personal injury, road traffic accidents, libel, slander and the title to land.

Further Information

For a free copy of the 'Understanding the Small Claims Court' leaflet or if you need to know more about your consumer rights on faulty goods or poor service you can also consult the Consumer Advice Handbook, which will tell you all you need to know.

Contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or download copies at

© UTV News
Comments Comments
CLAYTON in lisburn wrote (710 days ago):
I used the guidance and services of the consumer services last year when i bought a 2nd hand car ,which after 2 weeks the engine needed replacing at a cost of thousands, the dealer offered me £300, so i ended up going through the Small Claims Court to get my situation sorted, but without the help and guidance from the Consumer Council i would have been stuck.. so here is a big THANK YOU to the men and women at the Consumer Coucil for your help.. a fantastic service
Email address*:    
House Rules:  
Your Comment:  
[All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Your name, location and comment will be displayed on this page if your post passes moderation.]
Consumer Council
Consumer Council

The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland's consumers.

They aim to make consumer voices heard and make them count.

By Date:
<January 2015
By Blogger:
By Theme: