Freelancer’s Question: As a new sole trader, can you please advise me what’s involved if I “guarantee” my work? A prospective client has asked If I can do this, but I’m reluctant as I’m not sure what I’d be committing to, legally. Or is that for me to specify in such a guarantee?
Expert’s Answer: I can only give general advice as I do not know your full circumstances, such as whether you sell to or supply other traders or ‘consumers.’ It is also not clear from your question as what work in terms of skill artistry and materials are involved.
A guarantee is, on the whole, a specific written contractual promise of the quality of the work and material provided. It is usually time-limited. It may cover such things as returns and complaints. It cannot override any consumer rights, which are extensively set out in such as the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
From cars to white goods and the like, there is often a manufacturer’s written guarantee which can be enforced. But consumers may also look to statute law -- mainly the Consumer Rights Act -- for consumer protection rights, which may be wider that the written “Guarantee.”
For non-consumer sales, there are also the existing implied terms such as the implied term that goods are of “merchantable quality”. Such an implied term in non-consumer sales can be excluded by the written contract. But that would hardly encourage sales!
Whether it is advisable to provide a written guarantee will depend on many factors. If you do decide to provide a guarantee, I recommend you get it drafted by a commercial lawyer.
The expert was solicitor Nigel Musgrove of legal advisory Cousins Business Law.