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Hiring Goods

Just as when buying goods or services, there is also legislation that helps the consumer get a fair deal when they enter into any form of hiring arrangement. This too is covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

When you hire goods, consumer rights offer protection to ensure that you are not ripped off.

You are entitled to expect that goods that are hired will be

  • as described
  • of satisfactory quality
  • fit for their purpose

You have exactly the same rights with respect to hired goods that don't meet these expectations as for goods that you buy, so if they are faulty, you may have the right to a refund, repair, replacement or reduction in the price.

This covers both straight hiring of goods, for example hiring a sanding machine for a few days so that you can sand your floorboards, as well as a hire purchase arrangement, which is often used when you buy a car, for example.

Hire purchase

There are actually three parties involved in a HP contract. If you decide to buy a car on hire purchase, the garage actually sells the car to the finance company, who as the legal owner then agrees to hire the car to you. You will have an option to buy the car at the end of the agreement, but you will not become the owner until the last payment has been made. Until you have made your last payment, you will also need the permission of the finance company to sell the vehicle. Any faults that occur will be the responsibility of both the finance company and the garage, and you can refer your complaint to either of them.

Short term hire

Short term hire agreements do not need to be in writing, but most professional hire firms will only hire items to you under their terms and conditions, which will be in a written contract. Once again you should read the contract before you sign it. Check your responsibilities and liabilities. The goods you are hiring belong to someone else, and therefore if you damage them you may be liable to the hirer. Normal wear and tear is OK, but anything beyond that and you may end up paying for the damage.

Long term hire

Longer hire agreements, which must be for more than 3 agreed payments, must be in writing, under the Consumer Credit Act. The agreement needs to be signed by both parties and you should be given a copy. If you signed it at home then you may have cancellation rights as you do with other forms of credit arrangement. Also you cannot usually be made to sign up for a period which exceeds 18 months without being given the chance to end the agreement by giving reasonable notice.

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