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The lowdown on your rights when it comes to Service Providers.

The ABC’s Checkout Program aired an excellent segment last night on your rights as a consumer when buying services, for example, plumbing, lawnmowing, cleaning, hairdressing, healthcare and professional advisors etc.

In fact these rights apply to all service providers except telecommunication, insurers, architects and some engineers.

The important points were;

  • service providers must use due skill and take due care
  • the services must be fit for the purpose
  • you should provide your instructions in a way that can be proved
  • the specified purpose or result can be implied
  • the provider is off the hook if the request is unreasonable
  • time guarantees must be honoured, if time frame not specified then the service must be provided in a reasonable time
  • a contract for service can’t remove your consumer rights
  • it’s illegal for a provider to be false or misleading about the need for services, the quality of services or the price of services

What if you’re not happy with the Service?

It depends on if it is a minor or major failure.

It’s a major failure if a reasonable consumer would not have bought the service if they knew what the probelm was going to be or if the problem could not be fixed easily in a reasonable time.

If it’s not a major failure then you have the right to ask them nicely to fix it within a reasonable time. If it is not fixed within a reasonable time then you can ask someone else to fix it and the original supplier should compensate you, or you can terminate the contract.

For a major failure – you don’t have to ask the original service provider to fix it – you can terminate the contract or seek compensation immediately.

Watch the Video – it makes it all very clear!!


If you need more information consult your state based consumer advocate

NSW – Dept of Fair Trading

QLD – Office of Fair Trading

VIC – Consumer Affairs Victoria

TAS – Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

SA – Consumer and Business Services

WA – Dept of Commerce

NT – Consumer Affairs

ACT – Consumer Rights