Purchase Of SaleThe terms to be implied in certain contracts

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Purchase Of Sale

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    The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1992

    covers most problems with quality of work

    From things you leave for repair with a shop to home improvements.

    A repairer must put things right if they:
    use faulty parts for a repair
    fit parts wrongly; or
    damage your property while doing a job

    Getting work finished and disagreeing over the cost are two common problems with services like home improvements. If you negotiate a definite completion time or charge for a service, this forms part of your contract with the supplier. A contract is still legal even if nothing is written down, but it may be hard to prove what you agreed.

    Some service providers ask you to sign a 'satisfaction note' when they finish the work (or when they have delivered something). In this case, you should write 'unexamined' next to your signature unless you have been able to thoroughly check the work or the things you've ordered. If you don't do this, it may be more difficult to claim for problems later on.

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    'Estimate' and 'quotation'

    don't have legal definitions but an estimate is usually seen as a guide to the cost of a job, while a quotation is seen as a firm price.

    If you're given only a rough estimate or no price at all before a job is done, the service provider can still charge only a reasonable price for the work. Even if a job is urgent (a burst water pipe, for example) it does not mean you can be charged a much higher price.

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a scheme which says that suppliers must offer (among other things):
    clear contract terms
    protection of your deposit, if you have to pay one
    proper procedures for handling complaints; and
    a low-cost independent scheme to settle disputes without having to going to court
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    Check to see if the supplier

    of the goods or services provided to you has an Office of Fair Trading approved code

    Though this will not give you extra legal rights, but if a supplier subscribes to such a code, it may make it easier to sort out any problem you have with them. And the code may promise more than the law requires - for example, the OFT-approved code of the Direct Selling Association gives you a 14-day 'cooling-off' period instead of a seven-day one.

    Another scheme, called Trustmark, is backed by the government and covers home repairs, maintenance and improvements firms. Companies approved under this scheme promise to meet standards, sign up to a code of practice and have proper complaints procedures. The Trustmark website has more information about the scheme, and lists of approved companies.

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    As with other goods and services

    a hire company (including a rental or leasing company)
    Must supply goods that:
    fit any description given
    are of satisfactory quality; and
    are fit for the purpose

    It is illegal under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 for a hirer to supply goods that are not safe or don't have the right instructions and safety warnings.

    If a service provider misses an appointment for a certain day, they have broken their agreement with you. You may be able to claim compensation if you had to take a day off work, for example. However, this would depend on whether you told the trader this when you made the appointment.

    Gas, electricity, phone and water companies have their own customer service standards, which mean you should get a fixed amount of compensation if they don't turn up for an appointment. The compensation amount may be stated on your bill (if it isn't, phone the company to find out). But even if a fixed amount of compensation is quoted, you can still claim extra if you think you need to.

    Remember that the law works for businesses as well as consumers. If you make a booking or appointment with someone (a restaurant or hairdresser, for example) and you don't turn up, the trader can claim compensation for loss of business if they cannot fill your appointment.

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