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FAQs about services

We answer your questions about your rights with service providers.

Have a question about your rights with service providers? Here’s how to handle some common scenarios we’ve come across.

My home was burgled, but the police did very little. Later, I found the stereo hidden on the section – ruined by the rain. Do I have a claim against the police?

No. The supplier of the service must be “in trade” in order for you to claim against them, the police are not.

I asked my hairdresser for highlights, but I came out completely blond. What can I do?

Ask them to fix the problem. If they can’t, they must give you a full cash refund.

I hired a guy to repaint my house. He didn’t remove the old flaking paint properly and now, just 6 months later, the new paint is flaking off. What can I do?

You must give him the opportunity to remedy his bad painting. If he refuses, or fails to do so in a reasonable time, you can cancel the contract and obtain a refund.

Alternatively, you could have the house repainted by someone else, and recover the costs from the original painter. This may involve taking him to the Disputes Tribunal.

Actually, the painter warned me the paint I had supplied was for interior use only and would peel, but I told him to continue anyway. Does that affect my rights?

Yes. If you were warned the paint was unsuitable, you have no comeback against him.

I hired a roofer to re-roof my house. But the bill seems extortionate. Do I have to pay?

If you have not previously agreed to a price or pricing formula, you are required to pay only a “reasonable price”. This applies to goods as well as services. A reasonable price is the market price – in this case, roughly what other roofers would charge for the job.

My plumber has been working on my waste-disposal unit on and off for some 6 months now. Do I have to wait till he’s finished?

No. If you and your plumber did not agree on a date by which the work must be completed, then it has to be finished within a “reasonable time”. A reasonable time is the amount of time it would take a competent person in the same trade to complete the job.

You can ask your plumber to complete the job by a specified date. If he doesn’t, pay him for the work he has done so far, then cancel your contract with him and have another plumber finish it.

My plumber says he’s done all he can and doesn’t want to know about my broken waste-disposal unit any more. He says it’s not his problem. Whose problem is it?

His. He must complete the job using reasonable skill and care. If he gives up, you can cancel your contract with him, refuse to pay his bill (except for work he has completed to a reasonable standard), and arrange for another plumber to complete the job.

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The Consumer Advice Line is available to all our members for support on any consumer-related issue. Our expert advisers can explain your rights and help you resolve problems with a retailer.

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R J W.
07 Jun 2021
Pay wave Credit Card

We had a meal at Cobb & Co Porirua and presented our ANZ platinum Visa card for payment of the $100 bill. The card reader had a sign stating that pay wave would incur an additional charge —No problem as this is quite common. I told the Manager that I would use my ANZ gold Visa card using Eftpos taking funds from my checking account. The Manager went into a lengthy comment that the new reading machines could not differentiate between a credit pay wave and a standard eftpos transaction and that the charge $2.05 would be incurred using either card. I have never encountered this before and eftpos has always been free of fees. It is not just the cost but also the principle involved. I just used the pay wave and incurred the fee. Was I ripped off or should I just pay the fee in future? Cheers. Ray