Under the Australian Consumer Law, when you buy products and services they come with automatic guarantees that they will work and do what you asked for. If you buy something that isn’t right, you have consumer rights.
What products and services are guaranteed?
Businesses must guarantee products and services they sell, hire or lease for:
- under $40 000
- over $40 000 that are normally bought for personal or household use.
Business vehicles and trailers are also covered, irrespective of cost, provided they are used mainly to transport goods.
Businesses must provide these automatic guarantees regardless of any other warranties they give to you or sell you.
If a business fails to deliver any of these guarantees, you have consumer rights for:
Consumer guarantees on products and services
Since 1 January 2011, the following consumer guarantees on products and services apply.
Products must be of acceptable quality, that is:
- safe, lasting, with no faults
- look acceptable
- do all the things someone would normally expect them to do.
Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost.
- match descriptions made by the salesperson, on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising
- match any demonstration model or sample you asked for
- 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
- come with full title and ownership
- not carry any hidden debts or extra charges
- come with undisturbed possession, so 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
- have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.
- be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage
- be fit for the purpose or give the results that you and the business had agreed to
- be delivered within a reasonable time when there is no agreed end date.
Consumer guarantees on products and services also apply to:
- bundled products and services
- gifts with proof of purchase
- sale items
- online products and services bought from Australian businesses
- second-hand products from businesses, taking into account age and condition.
Who to claim a remedy from
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.
The remedies you can seek from the retailer who sold you the product include a repair, replacement, or refund and in some cases compensation for damages and loss.
The retailer can’t refuse to help you 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 like performance, condition and quality
- repairs and spare parts – the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that spare parts and repair facilities (a place that can fix the consumer’s goods) are available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise. How long is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the type of product.
You are only entitled to recover costs from a manufacturer or importer, which include an amount for reduction in the product’s value and in some cases compensation for damages or loss.
You can claim a remedy from the supplier if the services do not meet any of the consumer guarantees in relation to services. Remedies include cancelling a service and in some cases compensation for damages and loss.
Exceptions to guarantees
Consumer guarantees do not apply if you:
- got what you asked for but simply changed your mind, found it cheaper somewhere else, decided you did not like the purchase or had no use for it
- misused a product in any way that caused the problem
- knew of or were made aware of the faults before you bought the product
- asked for a service to be done in a certain way against the advice of the business or were unclear about what you wanted
Rights to a repair, replacement, refund, cancellation or compensation do not apply to items:
- worth more than $40 000 purely for business use, such as machinery or farming equipment
- you plan to on-sell or change so that you can re-supply as a business
- bought as a one-off from a private seller, for example at a garage sale or fete (but you do have rights to full title, undisturbed possession and no unknown debts or extra charges)
- bought at auction where the auctioneer acted as an agent for the owner (but you do have rights to full title, undisturbed possession and no unknown debts or extra charges).
Different laws apply to insurance or financial services and for products or services you bought before 2011.