Consumer guarantees for services

What is a consumer guarantee?

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) automatically gives consumers' rights when they buy goods and services. These are called consumer guarantees.

warranty is different from a consumer guarantee. It is a voluntary promise to the consumer from the seller, manufacturer or supplier. Warranties are separate and do not replace ACL consumer guarantees.

Consumer guarantees for services apply to:

  • anything that costs $40,000 or less
  • anything for personal or household use, regardless of price

Consumer guarantees for services do not apply to:

  • services bought before 1 January 2011 (these are covered under previous laws)
  • services normally used for your business and cost over $40,000

Due care and skill

A business guarantees they provide their services 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 professional skill or knowledge

Fit for purpose

A business guarantees that their services will achieve the results 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.

Finished in a reasonable time

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.

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