Leaky homes remediation a legal minefield

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A recent survey by web site www.leakyhomeforum.co.nz of leaky home remediation specialists has uncovered evidence of inconsistencies that are complicating the leaky home problem.

The survey targeted a document that remediation specialists commonly present a client with before engaging business with them, called “Terms of Engagement”.
The “Terms of Engagement” from all five businesses surveyed contained liability clauses that ranged from simple and concise, to grammatical nightmares.
Arguably, the prime objective of these statements is to limit the expectations of customers to a “practical” level.

The way a business conducts itself while trying to meet these expectations is governed by laws such as the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act, which apply to all companies, not just remediation specialists.

Despite this, each liability clause attempted to repeat the rights of the consumer and the business in their own words, despite them already being detailed in each of the above Acts.
The results were, in some instances, informative, while others were downright confusing, the web site says.

These inconsistencies highlight the immaturity of the remediation profession in New Zealand, and the lack of control its governing organisations have over how their members conduct business, according to Steven McAneney of the leakyhomeforum web site.

Owners should beware of ambiguous wording in contracts and agreements and, if in doubt, have your lawyer check it out.