Consumer rights with faulty products or services.

There is no denying, every year there’s at least one person you know who has fallen victim to a faulty product or service. Whether it’s the beloved socks and undies from Grandma or the standard t-shirt from Mum and Dad, make no mistake this Christmas-know your consumer rights.

Consumer guarantees are iron-clad. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is a lengthy (aren’t they all) piece of legislation that encompasses a number of guarantees to protect you. No matter the product or service, a business cannot change, alter, or contract their way out of these guarantees.  When dealing with a difficult vendor, it’s always handy to drop in the words “consumer law” and you’ll find that you receive more prompt attention.

Some common kickbacks you might hear are:

“It’s out of warranty” – WRONG! A manufacturers warranty is separate to your rights under the ACL. Even if it is out of warranty, you still may be entitled to a remedy under the ACL.

“It’s the manufacturers responsibility” – WRONG! The retailer who sells the product must help with a remedy if it turns out to be faulty. It’s the retailer’s obligation, not the manufacturers.

“It was a sale item-sorry” – WRONG! If the item breaks, a retailer’s obligations are the same, irrespective if you paid full price or not.

What about online sales? There are no exceptions. Even if it is an international retailer. Any overseas business that sells products to Australian consumers is bound by the ACL and must provide you with a remedy. Although enforcing a remedy may prove difficult in some cases.

Changed your mind about a gift? Unfortunately, the consumer guarantee rights don’t apply, it comes down to the individual store policy.

Gift cards and gift vouchers? There the go-to present when you’re buying for the person who has everything. Although watch out for these little nasties as well. As at 1 November 2019 all Australian retailers must provide a minimum expiry period of three years and are not allowed to charge additional fees after your purchase (with some exclusions). The gift card must also prominently display the expiry date as either the full date or as a period of time. If stated as a period of time, the supply date must be written on the card so you can determine the expiration date.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t let your time be ruined by some dodgy appliance, be informed, be prepared, and know your rights. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and looking forward to sharing some more legal insights with you in 2020.

*The information in this blog is general advice only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. For more information visit the ACCC website.

Photo by Olesia Buyar on Unsplash

Patrick Dawson Law
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*The information in this blog is general advice only and not to be relied upon as legal advice.

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