Whether you need a plumber, electrician, or builder, always ask below questions before agreeing to any home repair work:
''How long has the contractor been in business?''
''Do they belong to a trade organisation?''
''Are they insured?''
"What is the hourly rate plus the call-out fee?"
If the job isn't urgent, make sure to ask for the references and get estimates from three other businesses.
At the garage
Garages can be amongst the worst offenders for padding out the bill. Before having your car serviced or repaired, tell them exactly what you want done, agree a fee and insist on an itemised bill (they probably won't like it) and ask whether they have a complaints procedure in place. If there is a problem, contact them immediately. Don't forget to keep a record of dates, times and what was agreed.
At the bank
Banks can charge for the costs incurred when you go into the red, but they're not allowed to charge excessively. Sit down and work out what you're owed by going through statements and highlighting any excessive charges. Then write to the bank and keep record all correspondence and phone calls. Banks are telling customers they're not entitled to reclaim charges so you need to be persistent. If this fails, visit consumeractiongroup.co.uk for advice.