Buying a Service in the UK
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides consumers with a level of protection when making purchases from a business in the UK. When we pay for a service, we can expect that the work will be carried out to an acceptable standard.
Here's how to determine if the service meets the requirements and what you can do about it if the service is not up to standard.
Has your Service Met the Required Standards?
When determining whether services are up to standard, the Act considers three main standards that must be met:
1. Services Must be Performed With Reasonable Care and Skill
Generally, this means that a business would be expected to demonstrate a level of professionalism that you would normally expect when paying for a service and assume responsibility for looking after you or your property. For example, if you paid a professional window cleaner, you would not expect your windows to be damaged during the service.
2. Services Must be Performed Within a Reasonable Timeframe
Ideally, the service period should be determined within the contract or agreed before the commencement of the service but if not, it should be completed as soon as possible.
3. Reasonable Price to be Paid for the Service
A consumer must pay a reasonable price for the service, if the contract does not fix a price in the first place. If a price is agreed and is exceeded, for instance, if a mechanic estimates a cost of £200 to fix your car, if whilst having the work done, problems arise meaning it ends up costing £2,000, the trader would need to prove this was reasonable.A simple way to do this is looking at what other mechanics may charge in the same situation.
A Note on 'Reasonableness'
This is a term that is often used in consumer law and, while it may be difficult to define with absolute certainty, it usually looks at what you or any other average person, would consider reasonable in the same situation.
Remember: Supplied Information About the Service is Binding
Everything that is said or written by the company is treated as a term of the contract if:
- The consumer uses this information when entering the contract
- The consumer uses this information when making any decisions after the contract is agreed
What Remedies are Available?
A consumer has the posibility to determine how they are remedied under the Act.
Right to Repeat Performance
The consumer can request the trader to perform the service again to make it a suitable standard of work. If the consumer requests this the trader must:
- Remedy the work in a reasonable time
- Bear any extra costs including materials
The consumer cannot force repeat performance if this is impossible.
Right to Price Reduction
The consumer can request a refund up to the full amount of the purchase price with an amount that is appropriate to the problem. The consumer can use this when:
- They cannot request repeat performance
- They have requested repeat performance but this hasnt been completed in a reasonable time
When the trader agrees to a refund it must be paid within 14 days.
This is only intended as a rough guide to your rights within thw UK - for more specific advice, or advice about buying services in other countries, please contact us. The Consumer Rights Act also details consumer’s rights when paying for goods and digital content.