NBS Domestic Specification

7.5 What is a 'consumer' client?

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A 'consumer' client is a natural person entering into a contract for purposes outside their trade, business or profession who wishes to have work carried out on their own house. A consumer has legal protection under the 'Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations' (UTCCR) but would be exempt from the provisions of the 'Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act', the 'CDM Regulations' and the 'Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Regulations'. If the work is for a second home which is to be let at any time for holiday rental purposes or to other tenants, the client will be deemed a business client and the exemptions will not apply.

Written consumer contracts must be in plain and intelligible language and signed under hand by the ‘consumer’ in their own name, not as a limited company or other legal entity. The consumer must be given assistance to understand their obligations and the procedural options available, drawing particular attention to payment, liability and dispute resolution. If a term is negotiated which reduces the client’s legal protection, the Office of Fair Trading’s guidelines state that: 'We do object to terms that require a consumer to make declarations particularly to the effect that they have read and understood the terms of the contract or have had the terms explained.'

All discussions should be noted and copied to the consumer.

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