consumer guarantees on products and services
Australian Consumer Law Rights
If a product or service you buy fails to meet a consumer guarantee, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund under the Australian Consumer Law. The remedy you’re entitled to will depend on whether the issue is major or minor.
Minor & Major Issues
If you have a minor problem with a product or service, the business can choose to give you a free repair instead of a replacement or refund. When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for your choice of a replacement or refund. A product or good has a major problem when:
- it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
- it is significantly different from the sample or description
- it is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time
- it doesn’t do what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time; or
- it is unsafe.
Returning your Product
You are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem. You are generally responsible for returning the product if it can be posted or easily returned. You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem, so keep your receipts.
When a product is too large, too heavy or too difficult to remove (like a bed), the business is responsible for paying the shipping costs or collecting the product within a reasonable time of being notified of the problem.
You do not have to return products in the original packaging in order to get a refund.
If the product is found not to have a problem, you may be required to pay the transport or inspection costs. An estimate of these costs should be provided to you before the product is collected, and the costs must not be inflated in an attempt to deter you from pursuing your claims.
Repair, Replacement or Refund
You can ask a business for your preference of a free repair, replacement or refund, but you are not always entitled to one. For example, 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.
Approaching the Retailer or Manufacturer
The retailer who sold you the product or service cannot refuse to help you by sending you to the manufacturer or importer. You can approach the manufacturer or importer directly, however, you will only be entitled to recover costs from them, which include an amount for reduction in the product’s value and in some cases compensation for damages or loss. You cannot demand a repair, replacement or refund from the manufacturer – unless the product has an expressly stated warranty.
Warranties are separate from your automatic consumer guarantees, such consumer guarantees (which apply regardless of any warranties suppliers sell or give to you) apply for a reasonable time depending on the nature of the goods or services. This means consumer guarantees may continue to apply after the time period for the warranty has expired.