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  • Writer's pictureArida Lawyers

Consumer guarantees under Australian Law: How do they apply?

Updated: May 18, 2023

Consumer guarantees serve as a cornerstone of Australian Consumer Law, acting as the bastion for individuals who believe they have been ill-treated by a business. Conversely, these guarantees can also present challenges for businesses, especially those under the impression they are operating within their legal rights.

Both consumers and businesses can derive significant advantages from a comprehensive understanding of consumer guarantees before engaging in any transaction. For businesses, it is equally crucial to integrate this knowledge into their operational model to circumvent potential disputes.

Typically, consumer guarantees assume the spotlight post-transaction, often emerging as a critical deciding factor. In this concise discussion, the experts at Arida Lawyers elucidate the essence of consumer guarantees and their potential implications for you.

Understanding Consumer Guarantees

Consumer guarantees represent a range of consumer rights that may supersede warranty and contract provisions established by a business during or in connection with a transaction. In Australia, these guarantees are an inherent consumer entitlement, applying universally and by default to suppliers and manufacturers involved in selling, hiring, or leasing qualifying goods and services.

Importantly, consumer guarantees regulate the conduct of both suppliers and manufacturers. This ensures that liability for a defective or damaged product cannot be conveniently transferred to manufacturers. Instead, the legislation aims to hold suppliers accountable for the quality of the goods and services they provide.

Consumer guarantees encompass several key aspects, including:

  • The guarantee of an "acceptable quality" of goods

  • The guarantee that goods correspond with provided descriptions and are fit for disclosed purposes

  • The guarantee that goods align with sample/demo models

  • The guarantee that services will be performed with due care, skill, and within a reasonable timeframe, if not specified.

What Occurs When Alleged Breaches of Consumer Guarantees Arise?

When a business fails to comply with consumer guarantees while maintaining or behaving as though they are within their rights, a consumer may feel powerless to rectify the situation beyond potential reputational damage to the business.

Notwithstanding this, the business may be required to offer a repair, replacement, refund, service cancellation, or compensation, depending on the legitimacy of the alleged breach. This is often a contentious issue, with businesses and customers disagreeing on points such as:

  • The existence of a product or service defect

  • The accuracy of the product description

  • The faithfulness of the display model representation

  • Whether the goods are protected under consumer law (not all are; for example, sales at garage sales or auctions may not be covered, nor may products exceeding a certain price).

Consumers and businesses may opt to obtain legal representation to advocate their case or, alternatively, commence/defend legal proceedings in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It then becomes critical for businesses to engage legal services specialising in both contract and consumer law to represent their interests during negotiations and legal proceedings.

For legal assistance, contact Arida Lawyers on 1300 146 390 or for more information about consumer guarantees and their potential implications for your specific circumstances.

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. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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