This suite of templates covers sales of services between two businesses. They're not appropriate for use by a consumer who wishes to complain about services that they have bought from a business and if your complainant is a consumer, you'll need to alter your reply as well.
If you're complaining about services not having been performed at all, you’ll need our separate suite of response templates covering this scenario.
And if you're the business being complained about, you should refer to our guide to handling complaints about services you’ve performed.
In England and Wales, sales between businesses are governed by the Sale of Goods act.
Check the terms of your contract first
The very first starting point for checking your rights and being able to enforce them, is what's written in the contract that you have with the supplier. These terms might be set out in the supplier's terms and conditions (which you may or may not have been able to negotiate ahead of buying the goods), or they may be contained in a more substantial supply of services contract that you've negotiated for your business.
Terms and conditions can be displayed on the walls in a business operating out of a premises, on their website, in a brochure, on packaging, even on the back of an order form, invoice or receipt.
The supplier should not obscure them from you.
However the terms are presented, read them through thoroughly before you start to draft or communicate anything.
Striking the right tone
It can be intensely annoying to spend time and effort choosing what you need, only to find that what you end up with is not at all what you wanted. But venting your frustrations, on social media or in written correspondence, rarely gets the optimum outcome.
Be concise, factual and unemotional in any communications that you choose to send or to publish. It can help to reach out via customer service channels that some suppliers run via social media, customer call-lines and website live chat features can also help resolve well-presented complaints rapidly. You may find you don't need to send anything as formal as the template letters in this suite.
But if the sub-standard services you've received are high value and important to your business, and if you're ready to get going with a more formal approach, let's take a look at how you can use the templates that Farillio and Wilkes have created for you.
And for a quick and friendly expert view on your position and your prospects of success at any stage, as well as how best to draft any of the letters in this series, simply select our speak to a lawyer feature and we’ll rapidly match you with the right expert to get you the help you need.
Template Letter 1 - service(s) not up to scratch? Let's help you to complain
You should use this template letter at the start of any correspondence with a supplier who has provided your business with services that you consider to be sub-standard and/or not what you requested.
The template contains plenty of helpful guidance covering your rights as a customer and the standards by which the law typically holds your supplier to account. The terms of the contract between you both will also be key to determining what rights you may rely on in bringing your complaint and getting it resolved.
In this letter, you're making clear that you've not received satisfactory services and you explain why this is the case, as well as the criteria for performance implied by the law.
Let's look at some of these elements.
Reasonable care and skill
The terms implied by the Supply of Goods and Services Act require that services must be provided with 'reasonable care and skill'. This means that any person performing the services on behalf of the supplier must be reasonably competent when judged against the standard of other professionals or qualified experts or tradespeople.
Beyond that, the law deliberately doesn’t get too specific. This is often more a question of fact (what would the ordinary professional/business person judge to be the appropriate standard of care and skill) than what is written in the law.
Re-performance instead of refunds
The template prioritises a request by you for a refund from your supplier. However, if you'd prefer to have the services re-performed, then you can either handle the situation a bit more informally at this stage, and simply call or email the supplier to request this, or you can select the alternative wording offered with the template.
Template Letter 2 - the supplier's rejected your complaint, it's time to reassert your rights
This is the second template complaint letter where a supplier has rejected your complaint that it provided your business with services that you consider to be sub-standard - or that it failed to address your complaint to your satisfaction.
In this letter, you're pretty much repeating the claims that you made in your first letter. If you requested re-performance of the services first time around, but that hasn't happened or you're still not happy, you may want to select the optional refund wording this time instead. The choice is yours.
Template Letter 3 - the letter that threatens court action if resolution isn't reached
If the supplier still hasn't addressed your complaint as you wish, this is third and final letter that you can send and it sets out the details of your formal claim against the supplier. At this point, you're going to need to decide whether you're prepared for a legal battle, and that's not a decision to take lightly, as legal proceedings cost money and can also be a huge distraction from everyday business needs.
Some people are happy to deal with matters themselves at this stage, others prefer to involve a lawyer. It's really down to their judgement of the situation, and the use of common sense. The main advice would be to not say anything in these letters that you wouldn't be happy for the court to later see, and that you’d find difficult to justify to the court. Ideally keep the tone measured, and stick to factual comments.
If you're set on going ahead, you can use this template.
This is a template letter of claim for where no specific pre-action protocol applies. We've explained more about this below.
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