Faulty Vacuum Cleaner. Consumer's ACL Rights to Request a Refund?

Hey guys,

I recently returned a faulty vacuum cleaner which developed a strong electrical burning smell and loud popping noise to the retailer where I purchased it from. The vacuum was only 10 months old when it developed the issue, well inside the 24 month warranty period. From my understanding the consumer is entitled to their choice of a refund, replacement or repair in the case of a major failure. However the retailer decided to send the vacuum back to the manufacturer "to be assessed" prior to being able to issue a refund. Instead several weeks later they have just given me a call to say the motor and filter was replaced and the vacuum is ready to be collected.

Given the vacuum was emitting strong electrical burning smell and popping noise, would you consider this a Major or Minor failure under ACL?

Cheers.

Poll Options

  • 4
    Major
  • 58
    Minor

Comments

  • +25

    You bought a vacuum cleaner, it stopped working, you returned it, they fixed it and are giving it back. Other than not having the vacuum whilst they fixed it, I am not seeing the problem.

    • +4

      Sounds like a change of mind in disguise, considering the supplier has followed through with their obligation and fixed the faults.

      • -8

        Their obligation is also to provide a refund or replacement at the customers discretion for a major failure.

        Wouldn't a vital component of an appliance be considered major?

        • +6

          It isn't a major failure if it can be fixed easily / doesn't have to get repaired again and again

          • -4

            @Quantumcat: That is not the definition of a major fault in the ACL.

  • +13

    Given the vacuum was emitting strong electrical burning smell and popping noise, would you consider this a Major or Minor failure under ACL?

    given me a call to say the motor and filter was replaced and the vacuum is ready to be collected.

    Based on the fact it was repaired in a timely manner, its a minor fault.

    Major fault is normally a fault that can't be fixed in a timely manner or one that can't be fixed at all.

    • it was repaired in a timely manner

      That depends on how many weeks "several weeks" was.

      Was it 2? 3? 7?

      The motor, which makes up like 90% of the product failed. Seems pretty major to me.

      • -1

        Almost 4 weeks. That's my point exactly, the motor is a core component of the appliance which stopped the vacuum from working entirely.

        • +1

          Minor, as it was able to be fixed

          • @Quantumcat: That is not the legal definition of a minor fault.

            Anything can be fixed if you swap out enough parts.

            • +2

              @DisabledUser370150: Yes it is.

              they cannot, easily and within a reasonable time, be remedied to make them fit for such a purpose; or

              Item 260 of http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca20...

              If it can be fixed easily in a reasonable time it is not a major failure

              • @Quantumcat: Is "several" weeks a reasonable time though?

                • +3

                  @DisabledUser370150: Yes. Postage can take a while, we don't have teleportation technology just yet. And it isn't like they've tried ten different ways to fix it over several months. They were able to fix it in one single try as it was a simple problem. If it involved multiple rounds of diagnosis and fixing by several different teams and having to post it multiple times around the country with an indefinite return date that would be unreasonable.

                  • -4

                    @Quantumcat:

                    And it isn't like they've tried ten different ways to fix it over several months. They were able to fix it in one single try

                    Where in the ACL does it say that something has to be diagnosed or fixed multiple times for it to be a major fault?

                    If it involved multiple rounds of diagnosis and fixing by several different teams and having to post it multiple times around the country with an indefinite return date that would be unreasonable.

                    Again, that is not how the ACL classifies a major fault.

                    Postage can take a while

                    Most things sent for repair are couriered, which doesn't take "several" weeks.
                    You'll be surprised to know that they wouldn't have just popped it into an envelope with a 40 cent stamp and dropped it into a post box.

                    I think the bigger issue is that you're jumping to conclusions without knowing the details which are pretty important and then just straight up making things up.

      • Yeah but technically it was still a functioning vacuum, just a bit smelly…..and stressful. So I'd say minor.

    • This is only one aspect to the test of a major fault.
      Other factors include whether the good is 'unsafe', whether it departs from the description, whether it can perform a major purpose, and whether a reasonable consumer would have acquired it knowing of the fault.
      See: s. 260 ACL

  • +12

    customer: I have a problem
    shop: let me remedy problem with solution

    customer: I dont want a solution, I want to be angry.

    • -2

      Not sure where I said I was angry? A major component of the appliance failed with once a week use, not even half way through the warranty period. I understand nothing is faultless, but I don't get a fresh 24 month warranty period. At least with a total refund, I could even buy the same model again and have a fresh 24 month warranty should it fail again.

      • +1

        I dunno you seem pretty angry about it. Take it up with ACCC if you’re not happy. What are you gonna do, hey gerry/ store owner, ozbargain said I’m entitled to a refund.

        • ACCC does not take action on the behalf of individual. The complaint has to be lodged with the consumer protection in your state. If no resolution is provided then it can be take to the relevant court / SAT who can then decide.

          Saying the Op now has a working vacuum cleaner.

  • +4

    Sounds like OP has buyer's remorse and is wanting their money back.

    As the retailer has returned the vacuum cleaner fixed they have fulfilled their obligations and OP has got a vacuum cleaner in good working condition.

    Minor fault.

    • Even for a core component?

      • If the manufacturer has remedied the fault, it's a minor fault.

        You don't get to judge if it is a major fault, only the supplier/manufacturer/ACCC can do so. You only get to choose between a repair or a refund in this situation once they've decided that it is major - you DON'T get to choose what kind of fault it is.

        • -2

          If the manufacturer has remedied the fault, it's a minor fault.
          You don't get to judge if it is a major fault, only the supplier/manufacturer/ACCC can do so.

          Care to point out the relevant part of the law for your claim?

  • As the motor had to be replaced, wouldn't that have qualified the initial assessment of the issue as a major failure?

    • -1

      That was my understanding of the failure also. The component is a core part of the appliance.

  • +2

    The only case you would have is:

    the goods would not have been acquired by a reasonable consumer fully acquainted with the nature and extent of the failure

    But reasonable consumers don't expect a 0% failure rate. This is why consumers by products with express warranties. They anticipate that something might go wrong and that the manufacture will in turn fix it. The nature and extent of the failure is that is was fixed easily and reasonably quickly.

    the goods are not of acceptable quality because they are unsafe.

    The burning smell doesn't really make it unsafe. Pretty standard for a burnt out motor.

  • +1

    Sounds to me like someone didn't clean the filter, it blocked up and burnt out the motor (or the motor was not far from being fried)? Vacuums generally run hot and begin to smell if there is a blockage in the tube or if the filter is blocked, pretty sure the operators manual will say to clean the filter weekly?

    • This vacuum has no user serviceable filter and is bagless. Was emptied after each and every vacuum.

      • +1

        But you said that they replaced a filter - I'm confused.

      • What vacuum is it?

  • +2

    What would you have the retailer do OP?

    You appear to disagree with the majority of opinions given here but the retailer, as well as the manufacturer, have done the right thing.

    If you don't want the vacuum cleaner anymore just put it up for sale online and purchase another one if it will make you any happier. That's your only option unless the vacuum blows up again.

    • If the OP sells the vacuum and it subsequently catches fire, according to them they'd have to refund the buyer due to a major failure! lol

  • +1

    This is the definition of a major fault from the ACCC site, I d9nt see it meeting any of those so would classify it as minor.

    What is a major problem?

    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 has multiple minor problems that, when taken as a whole, would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about them
    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.

  • The time to diagnose major or minor fault has passed. Regardless of what you think the fault may be, it's been fixed. If you didn't want it fixed you should have argued for a refund before it was sent off for repair.

  • Another person that feels "entitled"
    OMG so many today

    Got the vacuum clean back repaired
    Probably OPs fault for not cleaning the filters on a regular basis.
    I repair vacuum cleaners and I can tell you that this is the most common issue with vacuum cleaners.

    As the first poster has stated..
    I don't see the problem here

  • Wrong, the retail is the one who determines whether to have item repaired, replaced, or refunded.

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