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Consumer Guarantees

consumer guarantees

 

All Australian traders, whether online or running a bricks and mortar operation, must comply with Australian trading laws and this includes consumer guarantees. This includes laws on consumer guarantees. Since 1 January 2011, businesses must provide consumers with guarantees for most consumer goods and services they sell.

Each circumstance is unique, and we are here to listen to your story and find a solution or answer, contact us.

Goods

Consumers have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund if the goods sold are:
• faulty
• unsafe
• look unacceptable, and
• do not do what they are supposed to do.

In each case this is according to what someone would normally expect for the type and cost of the particular goods.

Consumers also have this right if the goods sold do not:
• fit the purpose discussed with the shop owner
• match the description provided
• match the sample or demonstration model provided
• have the extra qualities or performance that were promised before the sale.

Services

Consumers have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund if the services you sold:
• were not delivered completely or with adequate care and skill
• did not fit the purpose or give the results that had been agreed to
• were not delivered within a reasonable time.

These rights arise from the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law that provide consumers with a right to seek remedies where there are problems with goods or services. Other laws apply for products and services you bought before 1 January 2011.

What types of businesses must offer consumer guarantees?

Consumer guarantees apply automatically to most products and services supplied by businesses in retail, service, online and hire situations.

No refunds

  1. It is illegal for businesses to tell customers or show signs stating that they do not under any circumstances give refunds.
  2. Must businesses automatically give a repair, replacement or refund? No. This will depend on the consumer showing proof of purchase and whether or not there is a major problem with the product or service.
  3. Proof of purchase can include a receipt, bank statement, a completed warranty card or a lay-by statement.

Guarantees and the ACCC

guarantees and the accc

Fully defined statutory guarantees apply to all products and services sold in Australia. While there are nine specific rights regarding goods and three regarding service, the essential rules with relation to guarantees are as follows:

  • Goods must be of acceptable quality (taking account of their price and nature) and fit for the purpose they were designed for.
  • Goods must match any description made of them and any sample shown. If you’re buying a product for a particular purpose, make sure you discuss this explicitly with the salesperson. If in doubt, get it in writing.
  • Spare parts and servicing must be available for products for a “reasonable time” after sale.
  • Services must be carried out with due care and skill, and achieve any result specified… If a plumber promises to fix a leak and the leak continues, the onus is on the plumber to repair it.

There are no explicitly specific periods specified for how long goods must be functional for, since this varies enormously depending on the product category. However, as the ACCC has made clear with recent discussions with phone companies, products provided as part of a contract like mobile phones must remain operable and serviceable for the duration of those contracts.

Businesses can extend these rights — for instance by offering a more specific or longer warranty — but they can’t reduce or ignore them. A business might reasonably argue that the conditions applying to an item sold as a “second” are different, but they can’t opt out altogether. A business cannot display a sign stating “no refunds”. As a consumer, you wouldn’t be able to complain about a stitching flaw in a “seconds” pair of jeans, but if they fell apart the first time you put them on, you’d likely be entitled to ask for a replacement or refund, since they don’t meet their intended purpose at all.

The law also clarifies how problems are to be remedied. If the issue with a product is “major” — defined by the ACCC as “one that is so severe that a reasonable consumer would not have bought the good or service if they had fully understood the problem with it” — then the consumer can choose whether they want a refund, replacement or repair and the vendor can’t object to their choice. For less severe problems, that decision can be made by the supplier.