When you get something repaired, you only have to pay for the work you asked for. The goods being repaired may be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.
Repair services: the basics
When you get something repaired, you only have to pay for the work you asked for. Don’t forget to pick up your repaired item, otherwise the repairer can sell the item to pay for the repair job.
The goods being repaired may be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If so you should go back to the trader to get the problem fixed for free.
Before you ask for a repair
Check out how much it will cost before you ask for a repair
Find out how much the repair will cost before you agree to it.
Write it down
You can get a formal quote or estimate from the repairer before the work starts. Or you can write down what work you want done and how much you are willing to pay for the repair.
Having information written down reduces the risk a misunderstanding. If anything does go wrong you have proof of what you asked for
You can give the repairer a price limit
If you don’t know what needs repairing but you don’t want to spend too much on a repair you can give the repairer a price limit.
For example, you want your stereo fixed by you don’t want to spend more than $100 on the repair. If you tell the repairer, then the repair can’t cost more.
If the repairer can see that it will cost more than $100 to fix the repairer should not do the work or should contact you to discuss the price.
Your rights with repairs
Repairs are a service and are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. You only have to pay for the work you agreed to.
You don’t have to pay for work that you didn’t agree to
If you are specific about what work you want done then anything else is unauthorised and you don’t have to pay for it.
For example if you ask a mechanic to just replace the brake pads on your car but the mechanic also replaces the rotors without asking you then you don’t have to pay for the extra work.
If the repairer can undo the extra work without damaging your property then they can do that.
For example if the mechanic filled your car up with petrol but you didn’t ask for that then the mechanic can siphon the same amount of petrol out
If you weren’t specific
If you have only given a general request like “please fix my car” then the mechanic could do a lot of work without you realising what the cost will be. It is better to be specific or ask the mechanic to tell you what work needs to be done and how much it will cost before the work starts.
Got a problem with a repair?
What to do if you have a problem with a repair job.
A repairer can sell your goods if you don’t pay for them
If you don’t collect and pay for your repaired item then the repairer can sell it. Repairers can hold items until they get the payment but if they don’t hear from you after two months then they can sell the item.
Before they sell them they have to give you one week’s notice. They can send you a letter if they know your address or they can put an ad in a local newspaper including:
- the name of the owner or business
- how much money is owing
- a description of the item
- the time and place of the sale
- the name of the auctioneer.
The repairer can use the money from the sale of the goods to pay for the cost of the repair and the cost of advertising and selling the item. Any extra money has to be given to the Registrar of the nearest District Court. The money is held there until you pick it up.
The law that applies in this situation is Wages Protection and Contractors' Liens Act, you can find information about it here on the Legislation website.
What if there is a dispute about the repairs?
If you don’t want to pay the full amount for the repairs you might have trouble getting the item back from the repairer. You might not want to pay the full amount because you didn’t ask for some of the repairs, or because you don’t think the repair was good enough.
You can try negotiating a lower price with the repairer or you can agree to pay part or the full amount to get the item back and then go to the Disputes Tribunal to decide on the complaint.
Tell the repairer in writing that you are paying “without prejudice” which means that you do not accept the amount charged.
What if I only recently bought the item that broke?
The repair might be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. The shop that you bought it from may be responsible for repairing the item. You need to give the shop a chance to repair, replace or refund a minor problem before you try to get it fixed yourself.
If the repair is not good enough
Services like repairs are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If the repair job isn’t good enough you can ask the repairer to fix it or to give your money back.