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Paying for Services

Paying for ServicesThe types of services we use can vary from paying to have the car cleaned, to having a large extension on the house – but whatever the service, you will be protected by your implied statutory rights, either by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, for all service contracts that you have entered into prior to 1st October 2015, or, the new Consumer Rights Act 2015, for any services that you contracted for after 1st October 2015.

In addition, if you arrange the service at a distance (by phone or on the internet) then you will also be covered for some services under the CONSUMER CONTRACTS (INFORMATION, CANCELLATION AND ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS) REGS 2013

PAYING FOR SERVICES before 1st October 2015

Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act, certain implied terms automatically apply to all contracts for services. This means that the service must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, and within a reasonable time, if no actual time-frame has been agreed.  This means that the work carried should be the same as would be carried out by any other competent service provider within the same field.

If no price has been agreed, then the supplier can only make a reasonable charge for the service provided.

If any goods are supplied with the service, then the Supply of Goods and Services Act, also automatically implies that those goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose.

If they are not, you can ask for the goods to be repaired or replaced, rescind the contract or ask for a reduction in price.  In reality, the choice of which remedy to offer is down to the trader however, the trader must put the fault right within a reasonable period of time and without causing significant inconvenience.

What this means will be dependent upon the facts but you would argue that to repair a boiler in mid-winter supplied by your plumber within 2 weeks would cause significant inconvenience, and yet 3 weeks in the summer might be reasonable. If they fail to do so you can claim the cost of having a third party complete any works or repairs, and may also be able to claim other financial losses.

PAYING FOR SERVICES after 1st October 2015

The implied terms which applied under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (see above) will still remain under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. However the new Act includes new statutory remedies which will allow you, if you have received a substandard service to be able to demand that those services are either repeated or to get a reduction in the price.

If you do elect to have the substandard service repeated, then this work must be done at no cost to you, within a reasonable time and just like the position under the Supply of Goods and Services Act, without causing you significant inconvenience. However, you cannot ask for a repeat performance of the work, where it would not be possible to complete the service to a standard that would be regarded as satisfactory.

Another important  addition brought in by the Consumer Rights Act is that any information which is either said or sent to you either in writing or e-mail, will be binding on the company, if it can be shown that you actually relied on that information, when entering into the contract. In other words, it influenced your decision to go ahead and enter into the contract.

Telephone and Internet Providers

Please see our phones and broadband section.

Paying by credit card or finance agreement

If you paid for the service using your credit card or with a connected credit agreement ( a financial agreement arranged by the trader specifically for those services) and the value of the contract was between £100 and £30000 then  the finance company are jointly and severally liable with the trader for any misrepresentation or breach of contract.

What is a misrepresentation?

Basically, a misrepresentation is a false statement of fact which is made either directly to you by the trader, or his agent, and the statement made induces or influences your decision to make the contract with them.

For example, you are looking for car that is very economical, and the car salesman tells you that the car can do 60 miles to the gallon, however having bought the car, based on this statement, you find that the car can only achieve 30 mpg.

If a misrepresentation is made, and it can be shown that you did rely on the false statement that was made, as in the example above, then you would be entitled to unwind or cancel the contract, and seek  a full refund of the money paid for the car. You would also have the same remedy against either the credit card or finance company if either a credit card was used or a connected credit agreement (a financial agreement arranged by the trader specifically for the purchase of the car) was used.

Contracts signed at home or work

If you signed a contract for services at your home or your workplace then for most goods you will have 14 days in which to cancel the contract under the Consumer Contracts Regulations unless you needed the services to start immediately, or you gave your express consent to have the work start before the cancellation period.

If you agree for the work to start within the cancellation period, you still have up to 14 days in which to cancel the contract but the trader will be able to charge you for any work undertaken in that time (provided the trader told you about this).

Contracts agreed over the Phone or Internet

See our On-line guide.


Questions & Answers


I agreed to pay £800 to have my garden paved but the same builder did the same work for my neighbour for £400 - can I claim a refund?

Unfortunately you cannot claim a refund – this is commonly known as a bad bargain.  If the gardener gave you a quote and you accepted it, then you are bound by it.  If however, you obtained the quote on-line or signed the contract at your home, the gardener must have informed you of your rights to cancel the contract and provided other information to you before starting the work – see the Consumer Contracts Regulations – if he did not then he may not be able to charge you for the work.

What is the difference between a quote and an estimate?

There is no legal definition to differentiate the two however, the reasonable person can expect a quote to be fixed and an estimate, just that.  However, simply heading something an estimate will not be enough and should not allow a service provider to charge a great deal more.  It will depend on why an estimate was given rather than a quote i.e. where there some aspects of the work that could not be determined?  If there are unforeseen works you will need to ask yourself, “was the builder using reasonable care and skill in providing the estimate in the first place?”.  An estimate should not be an invite to an open cheque book.

I had to cancel a holiday as my extension was not finished - can I claim this from the builder?

It depends: if time was of the essence (you had agreed a specific date to finish) and the builder knew if it was not finished you would have to cancel the holiday, then yes.  If the builder was not aware of the holiday, or had just given you an estimated date to finish, then you would not be able to claim because the loss was not “foreseeable”.

My telephone has gone wrong and the phone company who supplied it say I have to return it to the manufacturer?

A common problem that arises under service contracts, but the answer is, where the phone is supplied by the telephone company under the contract, they are responsible for ensuring it is of satisfactory quality and fit for its purpose, under the Supply and Goods and Services Act 1982, if your contract was taken out before 1st October 2015.  If it is not, then you can ask to have it repaired or replaced (providing this is done within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience) and can ask for a refund of any charges that would have been incurred during the period that the phone is out of use.

If however, you broke the phone in some way or another, then the telephone company are not responsible at all.

If your contract was taken out after 1st October 2015, then the position would basically be the same but instead your rights would be contained within the Consumer Rights Act 2015. However under the CRA, the company will just be allowed the one attempt at repair or replacement.

If after this your phone still does not work then you can choose whether to keep the phone or return it. If you keep the faulty phone, for spares for example, then your claim will be for a reduction in price that you paid for it. If you chose to return it, then you are rejecting it.

Any price reduction made must be for an appropriate amount, which will depend on all the circumstances of the case. Basically, it could be any amount up to the whole price of the phone.  If you choose to reject the faulty phone, then you would be entitled to a refund. However, this refund may be reduced to take account of any use that you have had from the phone.

As with the position under the SGSA, if you broke the phone in some way or another, then the telephone company would not be responsible at all.

Always remember that your statutory rights are always with the trader or company  who sold you the  goods, and/or the credit card company if Section 75 CCA applies (see: Paying by credit agreement or credit card above) and any guarantee offered by the manufacturer is in addition to such rights.  It is YOUR choice whether to pursue the trader or company, the credit card/finance company or the manufacturer and neither may deny you your statutory rights and direct you to the other.