The Act applies when the trader and the consumer enter into a contract for the provision of services face to face, eg in a shop. When a consumer contracts for a service, that service must be performed:
- with reasonable care and skill (i.e. the trader must have done everything they can); and
- in line with certain information about it or about the trader (i.e. if the trader tells a consumer something about themselves or the service being provided, then that “something” should be true).
A contract will often specify a price, or it will be clear about how the price will be calculated (eg an hourly rate). Where the price is not agreed beforehand, the price must be reasonable. Similarly, where there is no agreement about the date or time for the service to be performed or completed, the timescale must be reasonable.
What is 'reasonable?'
What is reasonable depends on the type of service and all other relevant circumstances, for example:
- the level of care and skill that is considered reasonable for everyone else in the trader's industry (i.e. there may be a code of practice that everyone in that industry adheres to); and
- the cost of the service (i.e. a lower standard of care and skill might be reasonable in a quick and cheap repair service than in a more expensive and thorough one).
If in doubt, you can always Ask a lawyer.
What happens if the service isn't performed properly?
If the service is not performed properly, the consumer is entitled to require repeat performance by the trader at the trader's cost, unless repeat performance is impossible. In that case, the consumer is entitled to a price reduction and will mean giving the consumer some money back; especially if they've already paid the full price.