Problems with services

Services not completed with care and skill

A business guarantees they will provide a service with due care and skill. This means that the service provider or tradesperson must:

  • take care to avoid loss or damage
  • meet a level of skill or knowledge

Service not fit for purpose

A business guarantees that their services will reach the result the consumer wants. The consumer will need to outline these expectations before they start the job.

This guarantee does not apply when:

  • the consumer hires the service provider after they are told the service isn’t likely to get the result wanted
  • the service provider is a qualified architect or engineer.

Services took too long

Businesses will often include an estimated completion date in a contract or agreement.  Otherwise, the business must guarantee to supply the service within a reasonable time. A 'reasonable' time will depend on what type of service they offer. For example, the time needed for building a house is longer than for mowing a lawn.

Cancelling a contract for a service

How to cancel a contract for services

A consumer is entitled to end a contract for a service if the service fails to meet a consumer guarantee.

In these circumstances, the consumer can do so at any time and cancellation takes effect as soon as the business is informed. This can be done verbally, in writing or, if this is not possible, by any other means.

Refunds for cancelled contracts for services

Cancelling a contract for services gives the consumer the right to a refund.

The amount of the refund may depend on if some or all the services provided were unsatisfactory, or had been provided.

When a consumer is not entitled to a remedy

A consumer is not entitled to cancel a service when a supplier does not meet one of the consumer guarantees due to something someone else said or did (excluding the supplier’s agent or employee).  This also applies if it is beyond the supplier’s control, and after the goods or services have been supplied.  This exception does not apply when suppliers have not provided the service with due care and skill.

Services caused damage to property

A consumer can seek compensation from the provider of a service when that service causes damage to their property.  To seek compensation the loss or damage must have been foreseeable and not caused by something outside of human control, such as a natural disaster.

Updated: 28 Jul 2022

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