Consumer guarantee – due care and skill

What services are covered by the consumer guarantees?

Services that you provide in the course of your business or professional activity, including not-for-profit services, that:

  • cost up to $40,000 (or any other amount set by the Australian Consumer Law in future), regardless of purpose or use;
  • cost more than $40,000, and are normally acquired for personal, domestic or household purposes, for example, car repairs or legal services.

Which services are not covered?

  • Services bought before 1 January 2011. These are covered by statutory implied conditions and warranties under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and state and territory legislation in force before 1 January 2011.
  • Services costing more than $40,000, which are for commercial use – for example, installation of farm irrigation systems or factory machinery repairs.
  • Transportation or storage of goods for the consumer’s business, trade, profession or occupation.
  • Insurance contracts.

What consumer guarantees apply to services?

As a supplier, you guarantee to provide services:

  • with due care and skill;
  • which are fit for any specified purpose; and
  • within a reasonable time, when no time is set.

Due care and skill

This means you must:

  • use an acceptable level of skill or technical knowledge when providing the services; and
  • take all necessary care to avoid loss or damage when providing the services.

Example:

A consumer hires a painter to paint her house. Before starting the job, the painter does not remove all of the old, flaking paint. Six months later, the new paint starts to flake. The painter has not met the ‘due care and skill’ guarantee, as he did not use a level of skill that would be expected of a reasonable painter. While painting the consumer’s house, the painter knocks over a can of paint, which spills over her newly paved driveway. The painter has not met the guarantee and must fix the damage.

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