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My chicken curry only had four bits of meat. I ate the evidence but can I demand a refund?

Our consumer lawyer answers your questions

- @deandunham DEAN DUNHAM

MY CHICKEN curry ready meal only had four measly pieces of meat in it. I was hungry so ate the lot, as I’d just come off a long hospital shift. However, I kept the packaging.

I want to complain but don’t know if I should go to the supermarke­t where I bought it or the Food Standards Agency?

B.R., via email. CONSUMERS should always get ‘ what it says on the tin’ and, in this case, the packaging.

Your starting point is to see what the outer packaging of the ready meal says in relation to the quantity of chicken that should be included.

It is a legal requiremen­t for food products that have two or more ingredient­s (such as a ready meal) to list the ingredient­s in order of weight, with the main ingredient listed first, according to the amounts that were used to make the food.

In addition, where a particular ingredient appears in the name of a dish (here chicken curry), the packaging must cite the percentage of that particular ingredient.

If a ready meal does not contain an ingredient listed on the packaging, or the correct percentage of the ingredient, it will fall foul of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which says goods, including ready meals, must be ‘as described’.

In these circumstan­ces, you will be entitled to go back to the retailer you purchased the ready meal from and demand a remedy.

If you had not eaten the meal, you would have been entitled to a full refund. Your case is more tricky as you have effectivel­y eaten the evidence, meaning there is difficulty in proving your point and rather than being entitled to a full refund, you will be entitled to a price reduction to reflect the lack of chicken in the meal.

Your complaint should initially be directed to the retailer and its response is likely to be to offer you a voucher or a replacemen­t.

If not, ask the retailer to confirm that it has asked the manufactur­er if there were any problems with the batch. You will find the batch number on the packaging, so you need to hand this to the retailer.

If your particular meal was lacking the correct amount of chicken, it is likely to have affected the whole batch.

THE lease on the flat I own states that I have to have carpets so noise doesn’t affect neighbours. I’m on the ground floor and I have laid wooden floors.

I’m now being told by the managing agents to swap it back to carpet. Is there any way to get out of this?

S.L.R., Manchester. PROBLEMS of noise nuisance are a familiar issue where the installati­on by a flat owner of timber or laminated flooring in a flat causes a disturbanc­e in other flats, especially in older or converted buildings.

To avoid such issues, it is commonplac­e for leases to contain a specific clause that all floors in the flat should be covered with underlay and carpets, except in the kitchen and bathroom, and such clauses are generally perfectly legal and therefore enforceabl­e by the freeholder.

If you now want to keep your wooden floors, the only option you have is to contact the freeholder and ask for their agreement to this and, ultimately, for a ‘licence to alter’, which is the legal document you will enter into to formally amend the lease.

If they reject your request, it will be advisable for you to comply with the managing agent’s request to swap the flooring back. Otherwise you are likely to find yourself on the end of an applicatio­n for an order of specific performanc­e in the County Court, requiring you put the carpet back in place. Or, in the worst-case scenario, forfeiture for breach of the lease terms. This means you could lose the lease.

▪ WRITE to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY or email d.dunham@dailymail.co.uk. No legal responsibi­lity can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.

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