Your consumer rights when buying services

Under The Consumer Rights Act 2015, (and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, for transactions made before 1 October 2015), the law says that any services you buy must be:

  • carried out with reasonable care and skill;
  • finished within a reasonable period, if no time limit was agreed in advance; and
  • charged at a reasonable price, if a price was not agreed in advance.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides additional protection, which means a service must conform to any information the trader provides about it, either in writing or verbally.  

Furthermore, where a service includes the supply of materials, for example building work, the goods must be:

  • of satisfactory quality;
  • fit for any particular purpose; and
  • as described.

If a service fails to meet any of these conditions, the law says the trader must:

  • put things right at no extra cost to you;
  • within a reasonable time; and
  • without causing you significant inconvenience.

In circumstances where the service cannot be carried out again (for example wedding catering), or it cannot be done within a reasonable time, or without significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. This could be up to 100% of the cost and must be provided within 14 days of the trader agreeing to it.

Many service providers are members of trade associations. It will usually say in their advertisements, on their website or in their paperwork. Trade Associations often have standards of performance or Codes of Practice that their members have to follow. In some cases, they can act as a referee between you and the trader.

If traders have suggested that they are members of trade associations when in fact they’re not, you should report them to the Trading Standards Service via Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 as it is a criminal offence to make false claims like this.