Remedying Problems with Services

As well as faulty goods, consumers are entitled to a remedy if the service they acquired is faulty.  If a consumer simply changes their mind about a service they have acquired however, then they are not entitled to receive a refund.

A consumer who acquires a faulty service can get a third party to repair the problem if the original service provider is taking too long to provide a remedy. If this occurs, the original service provider is also obliged to pay for the reasonable costs of repair carried out by that third party.

If the original service provider takes too long to repair or remedy the fault, then the consumer is entitled to cancel the service and seek a refund.

The type of remedy required depends on whether the fault is major or minor.

What is a major failure with a service?

A major failure with a service occurs when:

  • a reasonable consumer would not have acquired the service if they had been aware of the problem before purchasing;
  • the service is substantially unfit for its normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit for that purpose;
  • the service is not fit for the purpose that the consumer told the supplier they wanted it for and cannot easily be adjusted to meet the specific purpose;
  • the consumer told the supplier they were acquiring the service in order to achieve a specific result, but the actual result achieved by the service is different; or
  • the supply of the service has created an unsafe situation.

Where a problem doesn't meet the criteria set out above, and the problem is easy to remedy within a reasonable time, then it is likely to be considered a minor fault.

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Remedies for major failures with services

If a major failure with a service occurs, the consumer has the right to choose a remedy. They can either:

  • cancel the service contract (verbally or in writing) and get a refund; or
  • go ahead with the service contract but seek compensation for the difference in the cost of the service compared to what value they received.

If a consumer cancels a service that is connected to a good, then the consumer can reject the good by returning it to the supplier and seek a refund for the cost of the good.

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Remedies for minor failures with services

A consumer is not entitled to cancel a service and demand a refund if the problem  is minor. However, a consumer can cancel a service and seek a refund if the service provider fails to provide a remedy within a reasonable time.

Where the problem is minor, the service provider has the right to choose what remedy they offer to the consumer. They can choose to:

  • repair the problem free of charge and within a reasonable time; or
  • provide the consumer with a refund.
For more information on remedying faulty goods and services download a copy of the guide on Consumer Guarantees.

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What's next....

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