Problems with your plumber? Phone company not up to scratch? 

Whether it’s those taps that are leaking two weeks after the plumber ‘fixed’ it, or that internet connection that keeps disconnecting - you have rights to protect you and to get things put right.

Lots of people don’t realise that the Consumer Guarantees Act covers services as well as goods. This means that when a business provides you with a service that service must be:
  • provided with reasonable care and skill (i.e. it must be provided well);
  • fit for purpose (e.g. if you buy insurance, the insurer has to sell you a policy that is appropriate for what you are insuring); 
  • completed in a reasonable time;
  • at a reasonable price. Even if you haven't discussed the price with the service provider they cannot charge you an unreasonable amount.
These guarantees apply even if the service provided to you was a gift; was bought on credit, online or door to door; or was hired or leased.

If there is a problem with the service, you are entitled to go back to the business and ask them to sort it out.

Depending on the situation, the business may be required to: 
  • repair the work at no extra cost to you;
  • reimburse you for the cost of getting the work fixed by someone else;
  • give you a refund;
  • pay you compensation for damage resulting from the faulty service (this is called consequential loss).
If you can’t come to an agreement with the business about the issue, you can apply to the Disputes Tribunal or District Court for a decision.

Note that if the service is provided for business use (e.g. cleaning of your shop) then the provider can contract out of the Consumer Guarantees Act. The Act also doesn’t apply if the service is provided by a charity or is paid for with a statutory fee such as rates.

You can read more about all of this on the Consumer Protection website. You can also check out their great consumer rights infographic.