Whilst to many landscapers the world of garden services, plants, flowers, decking, and water features has little to do with the legal world of lawyers, courts, legislation, and judges, they do meet when it comes to a landscaping business complying with Australian consumer law. In truth, every business must comply, so it is not only landscaping businesses who must adhere to them.
Before we go any further we not suggesting that the owners of landscaping businesses must become legal experts in consumer law, but they would certainly benefit by having some knowledge of it. However, the minimum you should do is seek advice from, and ultimately entrust your landscaping business’s legal matters to, a commercial lawyer.
That being said, we did mention that landscaping business owners should have some basic knowledge of consumer laws, and to that end, we have highlighted below some of the core elements of consumer law that can apply to landscapers.
Limitation Of Liability
A limitation of liability is essential for all businesses, including landscaping businesses, to protect themselves. Whilst you are obligated to put right any faults or failures that occur within the landscaping work you have done, this is not open-ended. In other words, the client cannot demand you fix or rebuild something for which they, or a member of their family, damaged due to their negligence, neglect, or misuse.
Consumer law states that if you provide a product or service then you must also back these with a mandatory consumer guarantee. Specific clauses state that the services provided must be done with due care and skill, that they are fit for purpose, and that they are provided within a reasonable time. You would usually include your guarantee within your terms and conditions, and it is imperative that you also declare for how long the guarantee is valid.
No business is immune to receiving complaints and no matter how good a job you do for some clients, there will be those who wish to complain anyway. Notwithstanding this, there could be genuine complaints and that is why you must have a complaints procedure set out in your terms and conditions. How you deal with individual complaints is a matter for you, but as a minimum, you should provide contact details and seek to resolve issues promptly.