Consumer guarantees for services
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) automatically gives you rights when you buy, hire, or lease goods and services. These are your consumer guarantees.
There are consumer guarantees that apply to any services you buy from businesses in Queensland. Services must be:
- delivered with due care and skill
- fit for a specific purpose
- supplied within a reasonable time.
This clip explains your consumer guarantees that apply to services you buy in Queensland.
Consumer guarantees for services apply to anything purchased:
- after 1 July 2021 for $100,000 or less
- before 1 July 2021 for $40,000 or less
- for personal or household use, regardless of price.
Consumer guarantees for services do not apply to services you normally use for your business.
You have the right to seek a remedy if a business provides services that do not meet these guarantees.
The business will have to attempt to correct any fault, deficiency or failure. This might be a remedy such as a refund, repair, replacement, exchange, a repeat service or compensation for the reduced value of the service. The remedy you are entitled to will depend on whether the failure to comply with the guarantee is major or minor.
Express warranties, warranties against defects, and extended warranties can be offered to you in addition to your automatic legal rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
Due care and skill
A business guarantees they provide their services with due care and skill. This means that, when carrying out the service, the service provider or tradesperson must:
- take care to avoid loss or damage
- meet a level of professional skill or knowledge.
A consumer hires a painter to paint her house. The painter does not remove all of the old, flaking paint before applying the new paint. The new paint starts to flake after 6 months. The painter has not met the due care and skill guarantee and the consumer is entitled to a remedy.
Fit for a specific purpose
A business guarantees that their services and any resulting products, will achieve the results you want for the specified purpose. You will need to outline these expectations before they start the job.
A homeowner hires a carpenter to build a carport for his car, which he explains is to be 2m wide. The carpenter builds a carport that is only 1.8m wide and does not fully cover the car. The carpenter has not met this guarantee and the homeowner is entitled to a remedy.
A sports fan buys a pay TV subscription so that she can watch an upcoming football match. She tells the sales representative that she’s buying the subscription to watch the match. On the day of the match, she realises that it’s on a different channel that she doesn’t have access to. The pay TV company have not met their guarantee, and the sports fan is entitled to a remedy.
A young man goes to the barber and gets a permanent hair colouring. The barber applies the colour and warns the young man not to wash his hair for 24 hours. The young man follows this instruction, but the colour runs from his hair during his shower a few days later. The barber hasn’t met this guarantee, and the young man is entitled to a remedy.
This guarantee does not apply when:
- the service provider says their service is unlikely to achieve your intended result, but you decide to hire them anyway
- the service provider is a qualified architect or engineer.
Supplied in a reasonable time
Businesses will often include an estimated completion date in your contract or agreement. If they don’t, you should ask the business to include one.
Otherwise, they must guarantee to supply the service within a reasonable time. A 'reasonable' time will depend on what type of service they offer and other factors like weather and availability of materials. For example, the time needed for building a house is longer than for lopping a tree.
A consumer hires a builder to replace some broken roof tiles. The consumer and the builder don't discuss the completion date. The builder starts the repairs but does not return for a month. The consumer can claim that the service has not been supplied within a reasonable time. However, if it was raining during that time the delay might be reasonable.