Consumer Rights Act - reduction for "reasonable time"

thigger Forumite Posts: 36
Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker

 We've been having solar panels installed and the installation has been dragging on for months and months with missed deliveries of parts, wrong deliveries of parts, installers missing appointments or running out of time (or not having the right parts) etc.

 I sent a complaint but they have pointed to their terms and conditions saying that they're not responsible for delays (where a result of engineer availability) or loss of earnings, and time is not of the essence. However, my understanding is that the Consumer Rights Act supersedes all that - and we should be able to claim a reduction.

 Does anyone have any experience of this, and the kind of percentage we should be looking at that would be considered reasonable? We had to take multiple days off work and cancel plans, a lot of which were wasted.

thanks for any advice!


  • PHK
    PHK Forumite Posts: 778
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper
    Interesting, I'm not aware of the CRA giving you the right to a reduction. Hopefully someone can give more information.

    You might be able to make a small claims court but you would have to prove some sort of negligence and prove any losses you couldn't avoid. You're unlikely to get much for trouble and upset.

    As there are very well publicised shortages of solar panel equipment. My gut feeling is that you might struggle to prove the former. But much of this depends on details we haven't seen.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Forumite Posts: 6,299
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    If time is of the essence then a delay gives rise to a right of cancellation and refund, equally not aware of a requirement for price reduction and in particular in a contract that states time is not of the essence.
  • Okell
    Okell Forumite Posts: 255
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 8 August at 12:17PM
    Assuming this is a contract for the provision of a service (installation of solar panels) then s52(2) of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 ( implies a term into the contrcat that the service must be performed within a reasonable time.  The trader's T&Cs can't override that implied term

    s54(5) says:  "If the trader is in breach of what the contract requires under section 52 (performance within a reasonable time), the consumer has the right to a price reduction (see section 56 for provisions about that right and when it is available)."

    So far as I'm aware, the legislation does not say what "a reasonable time" is.  It would be a question of fact.

    I'm not 100% confident answering queries about contracts for the provision of services and I'm not entirely certain what s56 means what it talks about exactly when a price reduction is available as a remedy.

    I'm sure others will know better than me.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Forumite Posts: 6,539
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    OP if the contract doesn't specify a set time then a service must be carried out within a reasonable time, as above what is reasonable is undefined, the guidance notes have the following to say:

    For example, an individual engages a builder to rebuild a 1 metre high, 25 metre long garden wall. At the outset, the individual agrees the price with the builder, but not a deadline for completion of the work. If, six months later, the work had not been completed, the builder would most likely not have carried out the work within a reasonable time.

    If the contract did state a time and that has passed they've breached the contract any way.

    The guidance notes suggest that a consumer may seek a price reduction even in cases where they have received full benefit under the contract, but give a rather peculiar example

    In relation to services, however, there may be some cases consumer is able to ask for a reduction in price even where it may be argued that the value of the service as provided has not been reduced by the breach of the consumer’s rights. This could occur, for example, where the trader has not complied with information they gave about themselves. For example, if the trader tells the consumer that they will pay their workers the living wage and this is important to the consumer and a reason why they decided to go with this particular trader, arguably this does not affect the value of the service but the consumer would still have the right to request a reduction of an “appropriate amount” to account for the breach.. 

    That page also speaks further regarding damages under common law

    I guess an important question would be have you paid in full yet? 

  • thigger
    thigger Forumite Posts: 36
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Thanks - not paid in full yet (there are other issues over whether they've even technically finished!). No specific time stated in the contract, though even with the delays due to parts I think it would have been reasonable to conclude that it should have been finished in Jan/Feb 2023 which was the installation date given.

    The CRA and guidance seems to be very unclear on what exact reduction might be appropriate - they've conceded that things went very badly, and have offered what is effectively a 0.8% reduction; I was imagining nearer 10-15% because of the number of days off work and other cancellations required, but wanted to make sure I'm being realistic and hoped there might be some experience/opinions here.
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