The Australian Consumer Law as set out in Schedule 1 of the Competition and Consumer Act, 2010 provides consumers with rights known as “consumer guarantees”. These include your rights to a repair, replacement or refund as well as compensation for damages and loss or being able to cancel a faulty service.
Since the commencement of the Australian Consumer Law on 1 January, 2011, all businesses must guarantee –
- Any type of goods or services costing up to $40,000.00; or
- Goods or services costing more that $40,000.00 which are normally used for personal, domestic or household purposes; and
- A vehicle or trailer, the cost of which is irrelevant.
Products must be of acceptable quality, that is –
- safe, lasting, with no faults;
- look acceptable; and
- do all the things someone would normally expect them to do.
Acceptable quality also takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and the cost of the product.
Products must also –
- match descriptions made by the salesperson, on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising;
- match any demonstration model or sample;
- be fit for the purpose the business told you it would be fit for and for any purpose that you made known to the business before purchasing the product;
- come with full title and ownership;
- not carry any hidden debts or extra charges;
- come with undisturbed possession so that no-one has a right to take the goods away or prevent you from using them;
- meet any extra promises made about performance, condition and quality, such as life-time guarantees and money back offers; and
- have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.
Services must –
- be provided with acceptable care, skill and technical knowledge, and whilst taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage;
- be fit for the purpose or give the results that you and the business have agreed to; and
- be delivered within a reasonable time where there is no agreed date.
You can claim a remedy from the retailer if the products do not meet any one or more of the consumer guarantees, with the exception of availability of spare parts and repair facilities. Most importantly, a retailer cannot refuse to offer you a remedy by sending you to the manufacturer or importer.
You can claim a remedy directly from the manufacturer or importer if the goods do not meet one or more of the following consumer guarantees –
- acceptable quality;
- matching description;
- any extra promises made about such things as performance, condition and quality; or
- repairs and spare parts – the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that spare parts and repair facilities are available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise. How long is ‘reasonable’ will depend upon the type of product you purchased.
You are only entitled to recover costs from a manufacturer or importer, which in some cases can include compensation for damages or loss.
Consumer guarantees do not apply if you misused a product in any way that caused the problem, or if you knew or, or were made aware of, the product’s faults before you purchased the product.
If you wish to make a complaint for breach of a consumer guarantee you can make a complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which is the regulatory authority for the Australian Consumer Law, however, that will not necessarily compensate you for your loss.
You may be entitled to commence proceedings in the Local Court of New South Wales or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to recover your loss and damage caused by a breach of the Australian Consumer Law. It is always important however, to seek legal advice before commencing any proceedings.
Contact Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699for more information on your legal rights in civil claim matters.