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Complaints about Services

Complaints about Services

If you had paid for a service, but are not happy with the service you had received, you should go back to the service provider and discuss the problem as soon as possible. When you go back to the service provider, you should try to bring with you a proof of payment such as a receipt or an invoice or your customer number.

If the person who sold it to you cannot help, ask to speak to the manager. In some cases, the employees of a business may not have the authority to deal with complaints or give refunds, and it may be necessary to contact their head office.

What should I do if I am not satisfied with a service?

First, you should tell the service provider why you are not satisfied and ask the service provider to fix it within a reasonable time. You may be able to take further steps if the service provider ignores your complaints or does not fix the problem satisfactorily, within a reasonable time.

Can I get a refund for a service which I am not happy with?

Any service that you have paid for in NZ must meet these four guarantees, that the service will be:

  • carried out with reasonable care and skill;
  • fit for any particular purpose that you’ve agreed with the service provider;
  • carried out within the agreed the time frame, or if no agreed time frame was set, then within a reasonable time frame.
  • charged a reasonable price if a price wasn’t agreed on to begin with (although it is highly recommended that you agree on a price beforehand).

If any of the guarantees are not met, you can ask for a remedy.

The service wasn’t provided in a reasonable time, can I get my money back?

That depends on if there was a reason why the service couldn’t be provided within the reasonable time. If the service provider didn’t meet one of the guarantees due to an event that is outside human control, they may not be responsible for failing to meet the guarantee.

For example, if the service required good weather, and it had been raining for the past 3 weeks, then this is outside the control of the service provider and you may not be able to get your money back for the delay.

What remedy can I ask for when I’m not satisfied with a service?

If you’re unsatisfied with a service, and they didn’t meet one of the 4 guarantees, you can ask the service provider to repair the job at no cost to you, within a reasonable time.

If it is a serious problem that can’t be fixed, you can cancel the contract, refuse to pay for the work done or agree to pay less than the original price to make up for the drop in value of the service. If you cannot agree with the service provider about the outcome, you will need to take them to the Disputes Tribunal to work it out, just refusing to pay without an agreement from the seller may get you into financial trouble.

I’m unhappy with a service, I’ve complained but they won’t fix it or takes a long time to fix it, what can I do?

You can:

  • Get someone else to fix it and then get the service provider to pay the cost (at the Disputes Tribunal); or
  • Cancel the contract and get the money back for what the service has cost you. A cancellation will only take effect when the service provider knows about it. You can let the service provider know that you are cancelling the contract by writing to them, telling them in person, or acting in a way that makes it clear that it is cancelled. If you and the service provider can’t agree on an outcome, you’ll need to resolve it at the Disputes Tribunal.

I’ve suffered extra financial losses as a result of an unsatisfactory service, can I claim for that from the seller?

In addition to resolving the problem with the service itself, you may also be entitled to ‘consequential damages’ which is loss or damage caused by the problem with the service provided. This includes any extra loss you suffered because of the problem, such as where the service caused damage to your property.

This loss must, however, be reasonably foreseeable. For example, if you called a plumber to fix your tap, they had “fixed it”, but it started leaking heavily the next day, and leaked all over your drawers and damaged it, you may be able to claim for consequential damages. However, if you decided to put a pair of nice jeans on the floor of the kitchen, and they got ruined from the leakage, that is likely not a foreseeable loss as most people would not put their nice pair of jeans on the kitchen floor.

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