Warranties & consumer rights (ACCC)
Last edited 12/07/2009 - 12:39
Obviously warranties and consumer rights are of considerable interest to all of us on OzBargain. The official source of information is the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), and particularly their booklet Warranties and refunds—a guide for consumers and business.
I don't want to quote too heavily from the booklet because I would urge everyone to read it in full (it's only 23 pages including the covers and index), if not carry it with them when they go shopping ;) Note that there's a freebie - "A printed version of this publication is available at no cost."
A lot of what's in the booklet will come as a surprise to most people; it certainly did for me. But it should be a pleasant surprise, so please do take some time to read the booklet and learn your rights, and commence any discussion in this topic.
Each sale is a contract between the seller and the consumer. So if the seller breaches the contract by providing goods that do not meet a statutory warranty or condition, it is their responsibility to provide a remedy. If a seller has to return goods to a manufacturer for assessment or repair, the seller should arrange delivery.
Because each sale is a contract between the buyer and the seller, consumers are entitled to insist that the seller provide them with a remedy, even if a problem is due to a manufacturer’s fault.
The law also gives consumers the right to pursue a manufacturer or importer for a remedy, even if goods were bought from a retailer. However, manufacturers and importers are not required to issue refunds unless the consumer purchased the goods directly from them – that is, they have a contract of sale with the consumer.
It is against the law for a seller to do anything that leads consumers to believe their rights are limited, or do not apply – for example, by claiming that no refunds will be given under any circumstances.
For example, signs that state ‘no refunds’ or ‘no refund on sale items’, could lead consumers to believe they have no right to a refund under any circumstances, which is untrue because if a statutory condition has been breached, the consumer may be entitled to a refund.
Policies that set a time limit, such as ‘no refunds after 30 days’, can be misleading because statutory rights have no time limits, other than what is ‘reasonable’.
Similarly, insisting consumers return goods unopened, or in their original packaging may be misleading (as these are not required to claim a remedy under statutory rights).
Statutory rights have no set time limit – depending on the price and quality of goods, consumers may be entitled to a remedy after any manufacturers’ or extended warranty has expired.
If a good does not meet a statutory condition or statutory warranty after a consumer has owned it for some time or used it a lot, it is still a breach of contract. However, the consumer may not be entitled to rely upon the right under the Act to cancel or rescind the contract and claim a full refund. In these cases, the consumer may still be entitled to another form of remedy from the seller for the breach of contract […]