Problems with a service
The Consumer Rights Act 2022 (pdf) has introduced new rights when you buy a service. This page explains these consumer rights. They only apply if you have a problem with a service you bought on or after 29 November 2022.
What is a service?
Consumer law covers many contracts for services. Examples of services covered include entertainment, accommodation, transport, building works and maintenance contracts. Personal services (for example wedding photography), pet care services, storage facilities and legal or other professional services are also covered.
If you have a contract for a service, consumer law sets out the minimum standards that apply and the remedies if the service falls short of these standards.
If you are not happy with the service
If things go wrong with the service, it is always the supplier who should put things right. The supplier must resolve any issue, so the service meets what was agreed in the contract.
The supplier must correct the issue for free, within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to you. A reasonable time means the shortest possible time to fix the issue.
If it is not possible or too expensive for the supplier to resolve the issue, you have the right to either a price reduction or refund. If the issue is minor, you can only ask for a price reduction.
Right to end the contract
If the supplier does not supply the service or services as agreed, you can ask them to provide the services at a later date.
You have the right to end the contract and get a refund where:
- The supplier tells you they cannot or will not provide the service within the additional time
- You told the supplier you needed the service for a specific date and the supplier agreed to this
- The supplier does not provide the service within the additional period
What you must do to end the contract
You must tell the supplier that the contract is being terminated - you can do this verbally or in writing.
Any goods you got under the service contract must be returned to the supplier unless this would cause disproportionate inconvenience to you or would damage your property. Alternatively, you can agree for the supplier to collect or return the goods. The supplier can withhold your refund if you do not keep to what was agreed for the collection or return of the goods.
You must not use the service you are cancelling and you must make sure nobody else uses it.
Where a service contract is terminated, any ancillary contract is also automatically terminated. An ancillary contract is any legal agreement established in addition to the original contract.
Getting a refund
The supplier must give you your refund within 14 days. The refund must be in the same form as the original payment, unless you agree some other method. For example, if your original payment was in cash, you can insist on your refund also being in cash.
Right to a price reduction
If you prefer, you can ask for a proportionate reduction in price. A proportionate reduction in price must reflect the reduced value of the services to you.
If the issue with the service is minor, you can only ask for a price reduction. If there is a dispute as to whether the issues are minor or not, it is up to the supplier to prove that they are.
You already paid in full for the service
If you have already paid fully for the service or services, the supplier must refund you the difference in price due to the issue. You must get the refund within 14 days and in the same form as the original payment, unless you agree some other method.
Right to withhold payment
If the service is not up to standard, you can withhold a proportionate amount of any outstanding payment. You must tell the supplier if you choose to withhold any payment.
The amount you withhold must match the reduction in value due to the issue.
Where to get more help
You can get more advice if you want to make a complaint about a service.
If your complaint cannot be resolved by the supplier of the service, you can make a formal complaint to the relevant trade or professional body. However, many suppliers are not members of any trade or professional body.
If you have used the service provider’s complaints procedure and the problem is still not resolved, you can use the small claims procedure (for claims less than €2,000) or taking a civil case (for claims over €2,000).
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) can give you more information on your rights if you have problems with a service.