Service business guarantee
Who guarantees the service?
The person or business who sold you the service (the ‘supplier’) guarantees the service.
This means they are responsible for fixing a problem when the service does not meet a consumer guarantee.
What do they guarantee about the service?
They guarantee to provide services:
- with due care and skill;
- which are fit for any purpose; and
- within a reasonable time, when no time is set.
These are explained below.
Due care and skill
This means they 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.
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.
Fit for a particular purpose
They guarantee the service will achieve the result you were told it would.
A consumer asks a carpenter to build a carport to cover his 4WD vehicle, which is two metres wide. If the carpenter builds a 1.8m-wide carport that does not cover the car, the carpenter will not have met the ‘fit for purpose’ guarantee.
They also guarantee that services, and any resulting products, are of a standard expected to achieve the results that you told them you wanted.
A consumer tells her eye surgeon that she wants to be able to drive without glasses. She is assessed as suitable for laser surgery and undergoes the procedure. If her vision does not meet the standard for driving without glasses, the surgeon will not have met this guarantee.
This guarantee will not protect you if you did not rely, or it was unreasonable for you to rely, on the supplier’s skill or judgement when agreeing to particular services.
For example, it may not be reasonable for you to rely on a receptionist in a large service company for advice about which service is suitable for your needs.
Are there any industries where this guarantee does not apply?
This guarantee does not apply to professional services provided by a qualified architect or engineer.
However, an architect or engineer who provides a service outside their area of professional expertise - for example, building services - must still meet the guarantee.
Architects or engineers must still provide services with due care and skill.
Reasonable time, if no time set
A contract or agreement for the supply of services usually states when the services will be provided and the date they will be completed by.
If not, the supplier guarantees to supply the service within a reasonable time.
What is reasonable will depend on the nature of the services. For example, the time needed to build a house will be longer than the time required to lop a tree.
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