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Unhappy with a service

Young man wearing a white T-shirt and checked over-shirt and a straw hat holding a mobile phone in one hand and pointing the index finger of his other hand upwards. He has a shocked expression on his face and his mouth is wide-open.

What can you expect when you sign up for a service?

If you buy a service from a business within the EU, then you have important consumer rights which protect you before you buy and help you if something goes wrong. Whether the quality of the service isn’t what you expected or you have been surprised by unexpected costs there are steps you can take to get the problem resolved. Read on to find a solution to your service issue.

There are also new specific rights for digital content – read more about these new rights.

Good to know

Under consumer law, the services provided to you must as it was described by the business and any information you have been given, for example, in marketing material or advertisements. Your contract should also state what the service is and it should match this.

The business should also:

  • Provide the service as it is out in the contract.
  • Have the skills to carry out the service.
  • Supply the service with reasonable care and attention.
  • Only use materials that are fit for purpose and match any descriptions you were given.

Charge you a reasonable price, if the price is not agreed beforehand (for example, it was based on an estimate or quote)

Before you buy a service, you should be given in plain understandable English:

  • The business’s registered name, address and phone number.
  • Details about the service (if not already clear).
  • The total price (including VAT), or how it will be calculated.
  • The length of the contract (if applicable).
  • If there are any extra charges, for example, delivery charges.
  • If you have the right to cancel the contract (if you bought online or through distance selling).

If you have an issue with a service, the business that sold the service to you is responsible for fixing the problem. The business must address the issue for free, in the shortest time possible and without significant inconvenience to you. If it is not possible or it is too expensive for the supplier to resolve the issue, you have the right to either a price reduction or refund.

If you believe that there is a difference between the price you agreed and the value of the service you received due to the issue, you can look for a reduction in price. You will need to agree with the business on what the reduced price will be. If you have already paid for the service in full, then the business must refund you the difference in price. This should be done within 14 days and using the same method of payment you used to buy the service.

You have the right to look for a refund if the business does not provide the service as it was agreed, for example:

  • The business did not or cannot supply what you ordered.
  • The business cannot resolve the issue within a reasonable time or without inconvenience to you.
  • The same or another issue happens.

You will need to inform the business in writing that you are cancelling the contract and stop using the service. Remember to return any products that are connected to the service, for example a modem for internet services.

The business must then issue a refund within 14 days using the same payment method you used to buy the service, unless you agree otherwise. They should also cancel any secondary service you ordered with the main service – for example, travel insurance you ordered when you purchased an airline flight.