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Consumer Rights and Remedies Under the Australian Consumer Law: Understanding the Right to Reject Go

Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), consumers hold a unique entitlement to refuse goods from a supplier/dealership if they fail to meet the requirements of a consumer guarantee under Chapter 3, which amounts to a major failure and cannot be addressed within a reasonable timeframe. In such instances, a consumer can formally notify the supplier about the rejection of the goods.


Major Failure


The ACL bestows upon consumers specific guarantees concerning the purchased goods' fitness for a designated purpose, quality, and likeness to a given description or demonstration. When a supplier defaults in meeting these guarantees, this could amount to a significant failure under certain conditions.


These conditions include scenarios, where a reasonable consumer would not have purchased the goods, had the failure been made known beforehand, or if the goods greatly deviate from the description or demonstration model. Other conditions would be if the goods are substantially unfit for a purpose that similar goods are ordinarily used for and cannot be remedied within a reasonable time to make them fit for such a purpose. Also, if the goods are unfit for a disclosed purpose or are of unacceptable quality because they pose a safety risk.


Remedies


If the failure does not constitute a major failure, the supplier is obligated to remedy the situation in compliance with the guarantees. This can be achieved by repairing the goods, replacing them with an identical type, refunding the consumer the money paid for the goods, or providing compensation equivalent to the value of any other consideration.


Rejection


In cases where the failure cannot be remedied or is deemed a major failure, the consumer is entitled to reject the goods.


However, a consumer may not reject the goods if the rejection period has lapsed, if the goods have been lost or destroyed, if the goods were damaged after delivery to the consumer, or if the goods were affixed to any real or personal property and cannot be separated.


The rejection period during which goods can be rejected is reasonably aligned with when the consumer becomes aware of the failure to comply with the guarantee. Factors taken into account include the type of goods, their use and purpose, and the duration and amount of reasonable use.


Post-Rejection Proceedings


Once a consumer has informed the supplier of their decision to reject the goods, the consumer is required to return the goods unless they have already done so or if returning them would incur significant costs. In the latter scenario, the supplier must retrieve the goods at their own expense. Should the consumer opt for a refund, the supplier is obliged to provide it, or if a replacement is requested, the supplier must replace the goods if reasonably available.


The ACL empowers consumers to reject goods when they encounter a significant failure with their purchased goods, providing a viable recourse against suppliers/dealerships who fail to comply with the guarantees. This provision aids in enforcing the protections established by the ACL and safeguarding consumers against supplier misconduct.


For those seeking legal advice on your prospects of rejection or requiring assistance in notifying your supplier of your rejection of goods, our expert team at Arida Lawyers have extensive knowledge of your rights under the ACL and how to assert them against suppliers. Contact us on 1300 146 390 for your initial consultation or email us your inquiry at info@aridalawyers.com.


This article provides general information relevant to our expert services. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact us for a free initial consultation.


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