“What are my rights when I buy a service?”
If you ask a trader to carry out a service for you (such as: paint the windows
on your house, cut your hair, repair a car or washing machine) they must carry
out the service:
- with reasonable care and skill;
- within a reasonable time;
- for a reasonable
charge. So, for instance, a trader painting your house shouldn’t leave patches
unpainted or splatter the brickwork with paint, shouldn’t take six months to
paint the windows and shouldn’t charge you £5,000 (unless you live in a mansion!).
What happens if the trader does not carry out the service with reasonable care
- If the fault is easy to put right, it is reasonable to expect a
- If the trader cannot repair the fault properly, you are entitled to
compensation, such as the cost of someone else repairing the fault.
- If the
the trader doesn’t carry out the service at all, or carries it out very badly,
or not in the way they described before they started the job, you are probably
entitled to a refund.For example, if the trader servicing your car didn’t change
the oil but charged you for doing so.
- If the trader causes unnecessary damage
to your property when carrying out the service, you are also entitled to compensation.
What happens if the trader does not carry out the service within a reasonable
- If they do not carry out the service by an agreed date, you can cancel
- If the service takes longer than agreed, or longer than is reasonable,
you are entitled to compensation to cover the cost of someone else completing
the work. What happens if the trader doesn’t carry out the work for a reasonable
- If you agreed a fixed price with the trader, or the trader gave you
a quotation, they cannot charge you more than this.
- If they gave you an estimate
for the work, the final charge may be higher or lower but should not be greatly
different from the estimate price. If the trader is charging a higher price
because they carried out additional work without your permission, for example
putting in new spark plugs when you only asked for an oil change on your car,
you can either:
- accept that the extra work was necessary and pay the additional
- ask the trader to remove or undo the extra work where possible; or
- negotiate a more reasonable price or a more acceptable solution.
What if the trader I asked to carry out the service gives
the work to someone else to do and they do not carry it out satisfactorily?
The trader you originally asked to do the work is responsible, whether they
did the work or someone else did it for them.
What should I do to get my money back, get a replacement
or ask for compensation?
If the trader does not carry out the work:
- with reasonable
care and skill; or
- within a reasonable time limit; or
- for a reasonable charge,
- tell the trader why you are dissatisfied and ask for a refund,
replacement or compensation;
- confirm this in writing and take a copy of the
- Send the letter by recorded delivery.
If you are unhappy with the
answer or they do not reply:
- Write to the manager of the business or Director of the Company explaining
that you are not satisfied and saying what you have done to try to get a refund,
replacement or compensation.
- Ask for a reply within 14 days and state that, if you do not hear within
this time, you will discuss the matter with Consumer Dorect or your local
Citizens Advice Bureau.
- Take a copy of the letter and then send the letter by recorded delivery.
If you are still unhappy with the answer or they do not reply to your request
- Contact Consumer Direct or your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice
about the next step.
- NOTE: If you paid by credit card or on a finance agreement, see
factsheet 5: ‘What rights do I have when buying on credit’
REMEMBER Traders must carry out services with reasonable care and skill,
within a reasonable time and for a reasonable charge. If not, you are normally
entitled to a refund, repair or compensation.