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- Check the provider has a website and quality standard.
- If you buy a service, such as a gardener or electrician, ask for evidence of their qualifications and professional registration.
- Call the provider and have a chat to see how helpful they are. You should also check the costs, contract, terms and conditions and procedures they follow if you are unhappy with the service.
- Shop around, speak to a number of providers and compare their costs and what they're offering.
- Ask around: word of mouth can be a good source of information about the quality of services.
- Ask about discounts providers could offer you.
- If you're looking for a homecare service, ask them to send a copy of the latest inspection report, or check it yourself at CQC.org.uk.
- Make a list of what you need and expect from a service and ask if the provider can meet your expectations.
- Ask a family member, friend or neighbour to help you.
- Do not pay up front and don't give out your bank details or sign any agreements until you are clear you want the service and are happy with the offer.
There are a number of useful websites that can offer you detailed information on consumer rights and how to choose a service.
Independent financial advice
Budgeting and debt
Access to finance
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