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What are my Australian Consumer Law rights for Defective Products and Services?

As a consumer in Australia, you are protected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which is part of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACL provides a range of consumer guarantees that apply to goods and services purchased by consumers. These guarantees ensure that you receive products and services that meet certain standards and are fit for their intended purpose. Understanding your rights under the ACL can help you take appropriate action if you encounter defective products or services.

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1. Consumer Guarantees and Rights for Defective Products

Under the ACL, products purchased by consumers come with automatic guarantees that they will:

  • Be of acceptable quality.

  • Match descriptions made by the sales representatives, on packaging, and labels, and in promotions or advertising.

  • Be fit for the purpose that the business told you it would be fit for.

  • Come with full title and ownership.

  • Not carry any hidden debts or extra charges.

  • Have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.

What Constitutes a Defective Product?

A product is considered defective if it fails to meet any of the consumer guarantees. This could include:

 

  • A television that stops working within a few months of purchase.

  • Clothing that tears easily despite normal use.

  • A smartphone that does not hold a charge as advertised.

  • A vehicle (i.e. motor vehicle, caravan, motor home) presents cosmetic, electrical or engine issues shortly after purchase.

  • A software that does not operate or produce the desired outcome made known to the supplier.

Remedies for Defective Products

If a product you purchased is defective, you are entitled to a remedy. The type of remedy depends on whether the problem is considered major or minor.

 

Minor Defects

For minor defects, the business can choose to offer a repair, replacement, or refund. A minor defect is one that can be fixed within a reasonable time. You are also entitled to damages as a result of the minor defects.

 

Major Defects

 

For major defects, you have the right to choose between a replacement or a refund. A major defect is one where:

 

  • The product has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they had known about it.

  • The product is unsafe.

  • The product is significantly different from the sample or description.

  • The product doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for, and can’t easily be fixed.

Steps to Take if You Have a Defective Product

  1. Contact the Seller: Start by contacting the seller or manufacturer to explain the issue and request a remedy.

  2. Provide Proof of Purchase: Have your receipt or any other proof of purchase ready.

  3. Negotiate a Solution: Discuss whether you prefer a repair, replacement, or refund.

  4. Escalate if Necessary: If the seller refuses to provide a remedy, you can escalate the matter to New South Wales Fair Trading or contact Arida Lawyers for advice and guidance.

2. Consumer Rights for Defective Services

Consumer Guarantees for Services

The ACL also provides guarantees for services purchased by consumers. These guarantees ensure that services will:

  • Be provided with due care and skill.

  • Be fit for any specified purpose.

  • Be completed within a reasonable time if no time is set.

What Constitutes a Defective Service?

A service is considered defective if it fails to meet any of the consumer guarantees. This could include:

  • A home renovation that is not completed to a professional standard.

  • A vehicle repair that does not fix the problem.

  • A marketing agency that fails to deliver satisfactory results.

  • A cleaning service that leaves your home in an unsatisfactory condition.

Remedies for Defective Services

If a service you purchased is defective, you are entitled to a remedy. The type of remedy depends on whether the problem is considered major or minor.

 

Minor Defects

For minor defects, the service provider can choose to fix the problem free of charge. You are also entitled to recover damages as a result of the defective services.

 

Major Defects

For major defects, you have the right to:

 

  • Cancel the service contract and get a refund; or

  • Keep the contract and negotiate a reduced price; and

  • Recover damages for any loss you suffered as a resulted of the defective services

 

A major defect with a service is one where:

  • The service has a problem that would have stopped someone from obtaining the service if they had known about it.

  • The service is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time.

  • The service does not meet the specific purpose you asked for and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time.

  • The service creates an unsafe situation.

Steps to Take if You Have a Defective Service

  1. Contact the Service Provider: Start by contacting the service provider to explain the issue and request a remedy.

  2. Provide Evidence: Have any contracts, receipts, or other evidence of the service ready.

  3. Negotiate a Solution: Discuss whether you prefer the service to be fixed, a refund, or a reduced price.

  4. Escalate if Necessary: If the service provider refuses to provide a remedy, you can escalate the matter to New South Wales Fair Trading or contact Arida Lawyers for legal advice and guidance.

3. Takeaway

Understanding your rights under the ACL is crucial when dealing with defective products and services. These rights ensure that you receive goods and services that meet certain standards and are fit for their intended purpose. If you encounter any issues, knowing the appropriate steps to take can help you secure a remedy.

 

If you need assistance with a consumer law issue, contact Arida Lawyers for an initial consultation. Our experienced team can provide you with the legal advice and support you need to resolve your matter effectively.

 

For more information or to schedule an initial consultation, please  call us at 1300 146 390. Arida Lawyers is here to help you navigate your consumer rights and ensure you receive the remedies you are entitled to under Australian law.

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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