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Australian Consumer Law

Ever been told you can’t return something because you bought it on sale? Or purchased something that broke the first time it was used or worn? Now it’s easier than ever to do something about it. Get informed about your rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and get empowered for when you next go shopping.

The ACL provides a legal framework to protect consumers’ rights with protection available in the form of consumer guarantees for the purchase of goods and/or services.

Consumer guarantees apply to goods and services bought on or after1 January 2011 by a consumer from a supplier or manufacturer, in the course of trade.

The guarantees apply to:

  • any type of goods or services costing up to $40,000 (this threshold amount increases to $100,000 from for goods or services supplied from 1 July 2021);
  • goods or services costing more than $40,000, which are normally used for personal, domestic or household purposes (this threshold amount increases to $100,000 from for goods or services supplied from 1 July 2021); and
  • a business vehicle or trailer of any price provided that they are primarily used to transport goods.

Guarantees that apply to the purchase of goods include:-

  • that the goods are of acceptable quality
  • that they are reasonably fit for the purpose specified
  • that the description of the goods (e.g. on the ad or given by the sales person) is accurate
  • that the goods sold will match any sample or demonstration model and any description of the goods provided
  • that the goods will satisfy any extra promises (express warranties) made about them
  • that the seller has the right to sell the goods
  • that no-one will try to repossess or take back the goods
  • that the goods are free of hidden debts, securities or charges
  • that the manufacturer or importer will take reasonable steps to provide spare parts and repair facilities for a reasonable time after purchase

Suppliers of services also have to meet consumer guarantees in their provision of services. They must ensure that:-

  • the services are delivered with due care and skill
  • that the service is fit for the specified purpose, and
  • delivered in a reasonable timeframe (if there is no agreed end date)

If the goods you purchase or the services supplied fail to meet any of the applicable guarantees, then you probablyhave a right to a remedy under the ACL. Depending on whether the problem is a major or minor one, and which guarantee failed to be met, will determine the type of remedy that might apply.

This is where you might need some legal advice. Give us a call – we’d be happy to hear your horror story and if we can help, we will.

TIP: Did you know that those extended warranties offered for an extra price (usually when you purchase a consumer electrical item) often don’t add value to the guarantees you already get for free under the ACL?

Alphastream Lawyers
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