What are Consumer Guarantees and How Do They Apply To Me?
Consumer guarantees are a fundamental aspect of Australian Consumer Law, and are often the resource of those who feel they have been wronged by a business. In parallel, they can potentially spell the undoing of a business who believed they were acting within their rights.
It benefits both parties to be suitably informed about consumer guarantees before the transaction takes place. For a business, it goes further than this. It is beneficial to embed an understanding of consumer guarantees within one’s business model to prevent disputes.
However, it is often after the transaction that consumer guarantees are considered and emerge as a deciding factor. In this brief article, the team at Arida Lawyers will explain what consumer guarantees are and how they might apply to you.
Defining consumer guarantees
Consumer guarantees are a set of consumer rights that exist above and beyond any warranty agreements outlined by the business during and surrounding the transaction. Within Australia, these guarantees are a consumer’s due, and they apply, as default and universally, to suppliers and manufactures who sell, hire, or lease applicable goods and services.
Notably, consumer guarantees govern the actions of both suppliers and manufacturers. In this way, responsibility for a faulty or damaged product cannot necessarily be handed on to manufacturers; rather, the legislation intends to hold suppliers accountable for the goods and services they supply.
There are numerous consumer guarantees, including:
The guarantee that goods are of “acceptable quality”
The guarantee that goods match provided descriptions and are fit for disclosed purposes
The guarantee that goods match sample/demo models
The guarantee that services are to be carried out with care and skill and within a reasonable timeframe if unspecified.
What happens if consumer guarantees are alleged to be breached?
In instances where a business fails to adhere to consumer guarantees but believes or acts like they are within their rights, the consumer will rarely have much power beyond potential reputational damage when trying to remedy to the situation on their own.
This is despite the fact the business may or may not be obliged to provide a repair, replacement or refund, service cancellation, or compensation, depending on whether the breach is genuine. This is often the point of dispute, with businesses and customers disagreeing on points including:
Whether a defect with the product or service exists
Whether the product description was accurate
Whether or not the display model was an accurate representation
Whether or not additional information, such as a timeframe, was specified in a legally binding way.
Whether the goods are covered under consumer law (not all are; for example, sales at garage sales or auctions may not be, nor products over a certain price).
It is sometimes the recourse of consumers to take their case to consumer protection agencies. At this point it is essential for businesses to contract legal services in contract law and consumer law to represent them in negotiations, paperwork, and potentially in court.
Similarly, many disappointed consumers often recruit legal services with the intent of securing the best possible chances of success in a dispute that may have had a grave and serious effect on their lives.
Contact debt recovery, consumer law and contract law specialists Arida Lawyers on 1300 146 390 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information about consumer guarantees and how they may apply to your unique 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.