Have you used a service around Devonport recently? If you paid good money for a service, you’d expect to get what you paid for, right?

Cleaning houses, cutting hair, home renovations, repairing your car…these are all examples of common services that many households around Devonport regularly use.

But what happens if a service doesn’t turn out the way you expected? Don’t worry – you’ve got rights and I’m here to share a little more about what they are.

When a business in trade supplies you with consumer services, you are legally covered by four guarantees (or promises) under the Consumer Guarantees Act. Here’s what they are and in general terms what they mean…

Reasonable care and skill
When you hire a service provider to carry out work for you, they must do it to a competent level and with reasonable care.

Fit for a particular purpose
When you’ve told your service provider what work you want them to do and they accept the job, they must make sure you get what you were expecting.

Reasonable time
It’s always best to agree on a timeframe, but even if you don’t a service provider must complete the work in a reasonable time frame. ‘Reasonable’ is determined by the time it would take a competent person who works in that field to complete the same work.

Reasonable price 
As above, it’s always best to agree on the price before work starts, but even if you don’t a service provider must only charge a reasonable fee. ‘Reasonable’ is determined by what other providers in your area would charge for the same or similar services.

If you hire a business or trader to carry out a service that doesn’t meet any of these guarantees, you can ask them to resolve the problem. And don’t worry, even if you don’t have a written contract with the business who provided the services, you’re still covered. They’re obliged to fix their work at no extra cost. If they can’t or won’t, or it isn’t fixed within a reasonable time frame, you can ask someone else to fix it for you then pass the cost onto the original service provider. You can also cancel the contract and obtain a full refund, if the work is substantially unfit for purpose and can’t be easily fixed.

If you can’t reach an agreement about your complaint you can still take things further, such as an industry dispute resolution scheme or the Disputes Tribunal.

We hope you never have to deal with poor or faulty service – but if you do, find out more about your rights and the Consumer Guarantees Act here.

Mark Hollingsworth
Manager, Consumer Protection
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment