Automatic guarantees when buying from a business
Buying services – Automatic guarantees
What services are covered?
- trade services (for example, plumbers and builders, including tradespeople who work by themselves)
- insurance, banking and lending services
- professional services (for example, lawyers)
- accommodation (for example, motels, hostels and boarding houses)
- the supply of telecommunications, internet and water.
The Consumer Guarantees Act covers services that are usually bought by a consumer for personal, domestic or household use.
What services aren’t covered?
The Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t cover:
- services provided by someone who isn’t in business
- services that are normally used for business purposes (for example, business payroll services)
- services that are provided by paying a fee required by law (for example, rates paid to your city council for water, sewage, etc.)
- services provided to you by a charity.
What protections do I have if the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t apply?
Even if the services you buy are not covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act, you may have rights under:
- the Fair Trading Act 1986 (see: “Fair Trading Act: Protections against misleading or unfair trading”)
- your contract (verbal or written) with the service provider
- the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 (see: “Buying and selling privately”)
- the rules about contracts that have been established by past cases (“common law”).
Automatic guarantees for services under the Consumer Guarantees Act
What automatic guarantees do I have for services?
The Act guarantees that the service will be:
- carried out with reasonable skill and care
- fit for the purpose that you told the supplier the service needed to be fit for
- completed within a reasonable time (when there’s no agreement about time)
- carried out at a reasonable price (when there’s no agreement about price). If you haven’t agreed on a price, the services must be carried out at a reasonable price. If you’re charged more than a reasonable price:
- and you haven’t yet paid anything: you can refuse to pay a price that is unreasonable (however, you don’t have a right to cancel the purchase – you must pay a reasonable price)
- and you’ve already paid: it’s too late to dispute the price, and you don’t have a right to a refund.