Under the Australian Consumer Law, certain consumer guarantees apply automatically, including that a service will be done with due care and skill.
If it is not, the consumer is entitled to a remedy. The type of remedy depends on whether the problem is major or minor. A problem must be major or unable to be fixed before the consumer can ask the business for a refund.
This guarantee means suppliers 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.
It is a major problem if a service is not done with due care and skill and:
- a reasonable consumer would never have bought the service had they known beforehand about the problem, or
- the service has not achieved what the service is normally supposed to do, and this problem cannot be fixed quickly or easily, or
- the supply of the service has created an unsafe situation.
Remedies for major problems
The consumer can choose to:
- cancel the contract and pay a reasonable amount for the work done, or seek a partial refund of money already paid, or
- keep the contract and negotiate a reduced price for the drop in value of the service — this may mean asking for some money back if the consumer has already paid.
If a problem is not major, the consumer must give the supplier a chance to fix the problem before asking for a refund.
Remedies for minor problems
The consumer can require the business to fix the problem within a reasonable time.
If the business refuses to fix the problem or takes too long, the consumer may:
- get it fixed by someone else and recover the costs, or
- cancel the contract and pay a reasonable amount for the work done, or seek a partial refund of money already paid.
This consumer guarantee does not apply to insurance contracts.
If there is a problem with a service, or if you are having a dispute with the supplier, view Resolve your problem or complaint.