If a product or service is faulty, it's covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). The retailer, manufacturer or service provider must get repairs done for you.
For all other repairs, eg fixing wear and tear, you pay the repair bill. Give the repairer a price limit, or ask them to tell you what work needs doing — and how much it will cost — before you agree.
Check you have a case
Getting repairs done
Be specific about what work you want done, so you don’t have to pay for anything extra. If you are unsure, get an assessment and a written quote first.
You might have to pay to get the products inspected and a quote prepared, as long as this charge is clearly displayed.
Quotes and estimates
Under the CGA guarantees for services, a tradesperson or professional must complete work:
- with reasonable care and skill
- within a reasonable time, if no timeframe agreed
- at a reasonable price, if no price agreed.
You can find out what is reasonable by asking other tradespeople or professionals how much the work should cost, and how long it should take.
You can get a refund and compensation under the Fair Trading Act if they mislead you by claiming:
- work must be done when it's not needed
- they belong to a trade association, or have some industry approval, but this is untrue.
When you leave items with a repairer, you are only authorising them to make the necessary repairs and nothing else. For example, if you leave your car at your local garage, the mechanic can test drive it to make sure it runs OK. They can’t use it for joyriding or to pick up their children. If you can prove they misused your car, you may be able to get compensation.
Repairs on faulty products or services
Contact the retailer or service provider before you get the problem fixed by someone else. Let them know what’s wrong as soon as you discover a problem. Unless you misused or damaged the product, you will get free repairs under the CGA.
If faulty products or services are not covered by the CGA — eg you buy something for your business that's normally only used by businesses — you pay for the repairs. You may be able to claim the cost on your insurance.
Unexpected extra work
You must agree to extra work before a tradesperson or service provider carries it out. Find out how much the extra work will cost before you agree to it. Contact others in the same industry to find out if the price is fair. This will be need to be agreed as a variation to the original quote and put in writing.
If extra work is done without your agreement, the repairer can undo it as long as they don’t damage your property.
If things go wrong