Consumer Rights When Hiring Tradesmen

propertyownerrightsApplying the sale of Goods and supply of Services Act 1980 to Irish property owners hiring builders and tradesmen Know your rights when building, renovating or repairing. Always use a contract when hiring a tradesman or builder as it protects both parties. Download our contract template here.

According to the European Consumer Centre Ireland, consumer contracts are protected by the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980.  When purchasing goods, consumers have the folllowing entitlements under this Act which are:

  • Goods must be of merchantable quality 
  • Goods should be of reasonable quality taking into account what they are meant  to do, their durability and their price 
  • Goods must be as described - the buyer must not be misled into buying something by the description of goods or services given orally by a salesperson or an advertisement
  • When you buy goods in a sale you have the same rights as when you pay full price for the goods;

In relation to building, home improvement and tradesmen projects your rights are are protected by this Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. If you have a contract with a supplier of services, such as a tradesman or builder, you can expect the following:

  • The supplier has the necessary skill to provide the service
  • The service will be provided with proper care and diligence
  • The materials used will be sound and the goods supplied will be of merchantable quality

If you have a problem with an item that you have bought it is the seller who should put things right.  As a general rule, the seller can either repair or replace the item.  Alternatively, the retailer can refund the cost of the item or service to the consumer

If there is a problem with a home improvement of building project in your property we suggest the following:

  • Make an official complaint to the tradesman or builder in writing. Send it by registered mail if neccessary as it provides proof of delivery. Include copies of any contract, receipts, delivery notes, quotations, plans and any other documentation that supports your claim.
  • Ask for the situation to be corrected (know your rights in this case).
  • Record a log of all subsequent conversations and correspondence on the matter
  • If you fail to receive a satisfactory resolution, report the tradesman / builder in question to the relevant regulatory bodies, trade associations and if relevant.
  • If required hire an appropriate professional ( e.g surveyor or engineer) to create a report on the situation to back up your claims. 

Should you need to take legal action against a tradesman or builder the following options are available to you:

Small claims court 

The small claims court can assist in disputes between property owners and builder, tradesmen for claims up to the value of €2,000 only.  

To View the guide on hiring a tradesman click here

Further legal action

For claims over €2,000, property owners may choose to take further legal action against a tradesman or builder. In this case it is suggested that the property owner seeks advice from a reputable solicitor.

The following types of claims can be dealt with under the Small Claims procedure:

  • Consumer claims such as for faulty goods or bad workmanship. You must have bought the goods or service for private use from someone selling them in the course of business.
  • Claims can also be made for minor damage to your property. 


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