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Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 Fact Sheet

Subject:

Supply of Services and Supply of Faulty Goods or Materials Provided with Services.

Relevant or Related Legislation:

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

Key Facts:

•   The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 requires a supplier of a service acting in the course of business in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to carry out that service with reasonable care and skill and, unless agreed to the contrary, within a reasonable time and make no more than a reasonable charge.

•  These terms apply unless they have been excluded and there are strict limits on the circumstances in which an exclusion or variation will be effective.

•   Common law in Scotland has similar effect to the 1982 Act.  Suppliers of services or their customers should obtain legal advice about the common law in Scotland if necessary.  

• If a supplier of a service breaches the conditions of a contract (for example by failing to carry out the work ordered) the consumer has a choice either to affirm the contract (treat it as still in existence) and claim compensation from the trader for his failure to carry out what was agreed or rescind (cancel) the contract.

•   If the supplier does not carry out the work with reasonable care and skill the law treats the matter as a breach of contract and the consumer can seek redress. Often reasonable compensation in these circumstances will be repair or replacement.

•  If no agreement has been made with the supplier about completion of the work, or about the charge to be made, then if it is not completed within a reasonable time or the price is unreasonable, this is also treated as breach of contract and the consumer may be entitled to compensation.

•  Any goods supplied in the course of the service must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose. If they are not the consumer is entitled to a repair, replacement or compensation.

•  A supplier of a service who has broken a contract may also be liable for any consequential loss which is suffered by the consumer.  Ultimately it would be for the courts to decide whether or not a breach of contract has occurred and the redress, in the form of damages (compensation), to which a consumer might be entitled.

• A claim can be pursued though the courts for up to six years providing it can be shown that the problem was due to the work not being carried out properly or the goods or materials used not being of satisfactory quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What redress am I entitled to if a problem arises with the work that has been carried out?

  2. What do I do if the supplier won’t take any action about my complaint?

  3. If I have to pursue a claim in court what can I claim?

  4. It is 2 to 3 years since the work was carried out.  If I have to go to Court how do I show that the problem was due to the supplier’s poor work?

  5. The supplier says that the goods used in carrying out the service were at fault and not his work and that I need to pursue redress with the manufacturer. Is that right?

  6. The supplier says that a term of the contract I signed excludes his statutory obligations a year after the completion of the work.  Is such a contract term binding?

  7. What is the position if a supplier gives a guarantee?

  8. The supplier says the guarantee has expired and he has no obligation to deal with the problem. Is he right?

  9. Can I get help to obtain redress?

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Q1. What redress am I entitled to if a problem arises with the work that has been carried out?

Generally a repair or replacement of any faulty goods or materials would be appropriate.

Q2. What do I do if the supplier won’t take any action about my complaint?

If necessary you can pursue a claim through the small claims court (up to £5000) at modest cost and without the need for a solicitor.

Q3. If I have to pursue a claim in court what can I claim?

The cost of putting right any work that has not been carried out properly and replacing any defective goods and materials. You might also be able to claim any consequential costs incurred as a direct result of the poor work or defective  goods.

Q4. It is 2 to 3 years since the work was carried out.  If I have to go to court how do I show that the problem was due to the supplier’s poor work or to faulty goods or materials?

You will need supporting evidence since it is up to you to prove your case "on the balance of probabilities". Take photos and keep copies of all letters and documents. You may also have to pay for an expert report to use in court.

Q5. The supplier says that the goods used in carrying out the service were at fault and not his work and that I need to pursue redress with the manufacturer.  Is that right?

No. Your contract is with the supplier and he is responsible if the goods he provides are faulty.

Q6. The supplier says that a term of the contract I signed excludes his statutory obligations a year after the completion of the work.  Is such a contract term binding?

A consumer’s rights in relation to goods and materials supplied cannot be excluded. Any contract term that purports to restrict or exclude a consumer’s rights in relation to the supply of a service must not be unreasonable or unfair. An unreasonable or unfair term of this kind would not be binding on the consumer but ultimately this is something that only the courts can decide.  The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a duty to consider complaints made to it about unfair terms.  Although the OFT cannot intervene to resolve individual disputes, it can act to stop the use of unfair terms, if necessary by seeking a court injunction.

Q7.  What is the position if a supplier gives a guarantee?

Any guarantee or warranty given by the supplier will usually constitute a bonus to the consumer’s rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act.  Its terms will set out exactly what is being offered.

Q8.  The supplier says the guarantee has expired and he has no obligation to deal with the problem.  Is he right?

A guarantee cannot exonerate the supplier from his statutory obligations and so the fact that one has been given and has expired is irrelevant to his obligations to the consumer.

Q9.  Can I get help to obtain redress?

Contact Consumer Direct at: www.consumerdirect.gov.uk (Tel: 08454 04 05 06). Consumers in Northern Ireland should contact Consumer Line on 0845 600 6262.