Manufacturers Warranty Vs Seller Refund

Hi guys.

I have a question, I have sold a branded automotive part to a customer back in February through my e-commerce website with a 12 month manufacturers warranty. Cost of item just shy of 4 digits.

They have informed me they fitted the part last month and it has failed/leaking. After a few months in possession with buyer.

Problem is due to that particular brands pricing increase. We stopped selling their parts, and now

The part has a serial number which can be cross referenced to the brands database for warranty claims against the date on our commercial invoice.

The buyer has been recommended by me to speak with manufacturer about their entitlement to a manufacturers warranty claim. The buyer initially made contact and had a brief discussion with one of their reps but now refuses to continue to make the claim with the manufacturers. Claiming I banked the money and I should responsible to refund them in full.

Looking for clarity or feedback as to what should be done in regards to the eyes of the law.


  • +9

    Who must provide a remedy?
    Sellers – 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. The law allows sellers to recover the cost of the remedy from the goods’ manufacturer or importer, if the problem was related to a manufacturing fault.

    Direct from the ACCC website.

  • My only fear is that the manufacturer may refuse to exchange the now leaking item due to incorrect fitment and I as a seller may be left out of pocket for user negligence.

    • +5

      You get the part back, inspect it and if no evidence of abuse or mishandling, send it to the manufacturer for replacement/refund. If they say there is evidence of mishandling or abuse and no replacement you pass this onto the customer, if they give a replacement part or refund you refund/replace the part.

    • +1

      Is this not part of retail sales? Is should you just get to sell something, make your profit, and wash your hands of any responsibility?

      What is the part?

      • +1

        It was an aftermarket high flow brushless fuel pump by a known brand across the globe.

        My mother recently had an issue with her Dyson vacuum. She went back to Myer with it and they informed her to contact the Dyson manufacturer to solve her issue. Would that not be the case for the above?

        • +3

          Your mother would have the right to get Myer to fix the issue, if the manufacturer is at fault. There is a higher level of responsibility selling to consumers vs commercial, and this should be reflected in different price.

          But to your point fitment and incorrect usage could contribute to issues. You shouldn't be responsible if that's the case. One thing some companies are doing is charging back inspection costs if it can be proven it was user error.

        • Technically not, but if the customer wants a quicker resolution with a warranty claim, it is easier and quicker to go directly to the manufacture than having the seller act as a 3rd party.

          Either way, you may just be stuck following the processes. Have the customer return the item, send it back to the manufacturer for warranty assessment.

          Me personally, if I have a warranty claim. Why would I go back through the retailer who will add a week to the whole process?

        • +1

          They can suggest it's easier to go through the manufacturer. However it is illegal for them to say "you have to go through the manufacturer".

          If your mother insisted that Myer deal with it,or if the customer came back saying Dyson wouldn't help them then Myer would have had to remedy it. Whether they then send it to Dyson for inspection or deal with it straight away is another matter.

          So, you have the right to get it inspected by a qualified person (ie the manufacturer), but you do have to remedy the problem within a reasonable time.

          Where did you get it from? Direct from the manufacturer, wholesaler, or did you import it yourself?

          • @dizzle: Funds were paid into an Australian bank account for the order but the goods arrived from overseas.

            • @Sabro: That didn't really answer the question.

              So I assume grey import, which means the manufacturer may not even help you. Either you or the site you purchased from are considered the importer, which according to ACL is considered the manufacturer.

              • @dizzle: Apologies for confusion.

                Commercial invoice was from the manufacturers themselves.

        • The relevant laws have already been provided to you.

  • In the eyes of the law the buyer can seek remedy from the commercial seller and to a lesser extent, the manufacturer.

    They have already been to the manufacturer and are back to you because they didn't receive the outcome they wanted. It is best to ask what the issue was with the manufacturers assistance that didn't make it a worthy route.…

    I think your best bet is to ask for the return of the item so you can then inspect it before making a call about responsibility.

  • Sounds like OP might not be an authorised reseller of these goods in Australia and grey imported the product.

    In other terms SOO claiming manufacturers warranty in Australia and has to go back to the country they sourced it from.

    I could be wrong but the hesitancy of OP to accept the return, and in turn return it to the manufacturer for inspection leads me to believe this.

  • I would inform the buyer that it will take a while to get sorted as the following needs to be done
    1) End user to pack and send the part back so it arrives undamaged. The packing is the responsibility of the end user.
    2) If the parcel arrived damaged or does not arrive at all then you will not be able to process any warranty or refund, so advise that the end user take out insurance with the courier they use.
    3) When you receive the part as has been said previously you will need to inspect it and check for any evidence of mishandling or abuse. If is fails then send it back to the end user as it was abused or mishandled, but be aware that this may end up in a small claims tribunal or court, so take photo's and video as evidence and write down why you are rejecting the claim (you do not need to inform the end user, just that it was installed or miss handles or abused etc)
    4) If the part looks okay package it up and send it to the manufacturer for a warranty or refund claim. Make sure you insure it.
    5) Wait for the the manufacturer to get back to you before you do anything. If it is a refund then get it in writing just in case.
    6) Inform the end user what the manufacturer's response was.
    7) If the goods are fixed then send it back or if it was a refund then process the amount the manufacturer refunded.

    This process will take a while and as such explain to the end user that he is better going to the manufacturer to get it fixed under warranty.

    P.S. Sounds like the end user has installed it incorrectly or damaged it or has bought something cheaper and just wants a refund.

  • You, as the retailer, are responsible for dealing with the manufacturer.

    We stopped selling their parts

    Didn't you have a supplier agreement with the distributor/manufacturer? It should outline the warranty process, even after you stop selling their items.

  • Surely you covered all this in the warranty statement you're required by law to supply with the goods.

    Bottom line, you're responsible for dealing with it. As it sounds like a major defect the buyer has a choice (and it is their choice) of asking for a refund or replacement. You're also responsible for the costs of returning the goods to the manufacturer and as it's an OS supplier not covered by Australian law, you may also need to pay for shipping costs from the manufacturer back to you then back to the customer.

  • I don't know how big your business is but as the retailer, it will be your responsibility to deal with the manufacturer's warranty process.

    This is what happened with a computer motherboard that I purchased from a well known computer shop that stopped working half a year later.

    1. They first got me to fill out a form describing the problem.

    2. I dropped it off to the shop and they inspected it for physical/water damage (any bent pins etc). And also verified that it was infact not working.

    3. Because it was working and died half a year later, it was a usual warranty claim and they sent it off the the manufacture to get fixed or replaced. This process took probably 4-5 weeks. Though they told me that if it was a dead on arrival item, they would of just replaced it for me on the spot and deal with the manufacturer after.

    PS. It's really up to you on how you want to treat your customers and your financial capabilities as a business. Eg. Kmart will refund/replace pretty much anything on the spot without needing to test/send off to the manufacturer because for every say 100 items sold, maybe 15 will come back. But a small business will have to go through the proper process as they might only sell 5 of them and 1 coming back could wipe their profits.

  • +1

    Having a very small business myself… I tend to sometimes accept a loss and just move on. You have to remember… a single 1 star review on Google Business listing can significantly reduce customers. And if that unhappy customer brings in an army to leave negative reviews… your business will sink like a brick.

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