The Supply of Goods And Services Act 1982

Last updated: September 2022 | 2 min read

The Supply of Goods And Services Act (SGSA) 1982 requires that service providers carry out work, with reasonable care and skill, in a reasonable time (where a definite completion date was not agreed) and at a reasonable price (where a fixed price was not set in advance). It was an early attempt to give consumers greater protection that was built upon by law such as the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Any materials or goods supplied as part of the service must also be of satisfactory quality, as described and fit for purpose. In this way, the SGSA is very much like the Sale Of Goods Act.

Failure to meet these requirements by the service provider is considered to be breach of contract, allowing a buyer to seek through the civil court that the work is carried out correctly, or that money paid is recovered.

The Act was replaced by the Consumer Rights Act on 1 October 2015.

The difficulty in applying the Act was that 'reasonableness' was not defined. Comparisons to similar services made by other similar service providers needed to be made to establish whether the quality of the work carried out by the trader was in fact sub-standard. Alternatively, experts needed to be hired to provide an opinion (at low price if the cost was to be recovered in court). Resolving the issue in court wasn't really an option, given the risks and costs involved for the consumer.

The buyer also had to act 'reasonably' to allow the service provider to make right the problems. From a practical viewpoint, this allowed poor quality service providers to delay claims by taking a long time to correct the faults.

As such, enforcement of the Act was difficult, and buyers who experienced problems with standards of quality more often than not resorted to agreed negotiated compromises, partial compensation, and extensions of work deadlines. If the trader was a member of an ombudsman scheme, that scheme may have provided insurance arrangements.

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