Consumers have statutory rights and suppliers responsibilities for the provision of goods and services under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
There are nine guarantees that apply to the provision of goods – that the goods will:
1. Be of acceptable quality;
2. Be reasonably fit for any purpose the consumer or supplier specified. Where a consumer sought an item for a specific purpose, and was advised to purchase an item (reasonably relying on that advice), the item must meet that purpose;
3. Be described accurately;
4. Be identical to samples, demonstration models or descriptions provided;
5. Satisfy extra (express) warranties given, such as Manufacturer’s Warranties;
6. Carry clear title of ownership and possession, unless otherwise advised (such as leases);
7. Not be repossessed, except in certain circumstances;
8. Be free of hidden securities and charges and remain so, except in certain circumstances; and
9. Have available spare parts and repairs for a reasonable time after production.
With respect to services, consumers are given a guarantee that the services will:
1. Be provided with due care and skill. This means using an acceptable and appropriate skill level, and suppliers must take necessary care to avoid loss and damage;
2. Be fit for the specified purpose; and
3. Be provided within reasonable time (when no time is set).
The guarantees within the ACL apply to personal and business goods and services up to the value of $40,000, personal goods and services over this amount, vehicles and trailers. They apply to new and second hand goods, and hired goods. They don’t provide protection for goods purchased through private sales (garage sales, fetes), some auctions, items purchased for the purpose of on-selling and insurance contracts.
Suppliers and manufacturers cannot contract out of these duties or require consumers to pay for these guarantees. Significant civil and criminal penalties apply.
Where a consumer guarantee has been breached in a minor way, the supplier has the choice of providing a repair, replacement or refund. For major breaches, the consumer may choose a refund or replacement, or may seek compensation for loss of value of the goods or services, and any consequential losses incurred.
Please contact us should you seek further clarification on the application of the consumer guarantees to you or your business.