Question: I am unhappy with the repair work a builder has done to my house, he hasn’t fixed the issue and he refuses to put it right. Do I have any rights in this situation?
Answer: If your builder is unwilling to compensate you, you may be able to make a claim against them using the small claims procedure.
The aim of this procedure is to provide an inexpensive, fast and easy way for consumers to resolve disputes without a solicitor. The maximum amount you can claim for under the small claims procedure is €2,000. The small claims procedure is provided through local District Court offices.
If you have purchased goods or services for private use from someone selling them in the course of business, you can make a claim using the small claims procedure. You can make claims for bad workmanship, minor damage to property, faulty goods and for the non-return of rent deposits for certain kinds of rented properties, for example, a holiday home.
A business claim
Businesses can also use this procedure to make claims against other businesses about contracts for goods or services purchased.
To make a claim, you need to complete the application form and submit it and a fee of €25 to the Small Claims Registrar. You can do this online at the Courts Service Online website, csol.ie.
Alternatively, you can download the application form from courts.ie or get a copy from the Small Claims Registrar at the District Court office.
Make sure you include the correct name and address of the company or person you are claiming against. You can double-check this information on the Companies Registration Office website at cro.ie.
The Registrar sends a copy of your application to the person you are making the claim against. If the other person does not reply within 15 days of receiving your application, your claim will be automatically treated as undisputed.
Then the court will make an order in your favour for the amount claimed, and direct that it be paid within a specific period of time.
If your claim is disputed, the Registrar will give you a copy of the reasons why the other person is disputing your claim.
The Registrar will try to negotiate a settlement to the dispute.
If no settlement can be reached, the matter is set for a court hearing in the District Court.