Australian consumer law logo Consumer guarantees a guide for businesses and legal practitioners



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australian consumer law logo

Consumer guarantees

A guide for businesses and legal practitioners
This guide was developed by:


  1. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

  2. Australian Capital Territory Office of Regulatory Services

  3. Australian Securities and Investments Commission

  4. Consumer Affairs Victoria

  5. Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Tasmania

  6. New South Wales Fair Trading

  7. Northern Territory Consumer Affairs

  8. Office of Consumer and Business Affairs South Australia

  9. Queensland Office of Fair Trading

  10. Western Australia Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection

Publisher information and disclaimers

ISBN xxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Contents




Introduction

4

  1. Consumer guarantees: who guarantees what?

6

  1. What do the consumer guarantees cover?

8

  1. Can suppliers or manufacturers ‘contract out’ of the consumer guarantees?

10

  1. Consumer guarantees applying to goods

12

  1. Consumer guarantees applying to services

20

  1. When goods or services do not meet a consumer guarantee

23

  1. Types of remedies available to consumers

26

  1. Consumer claims against the manufacturer

35

  1. Limits on compensation for non-household goods or services

38

  1. When a supplier fixes a problem that is not their fault (manufacturer’s indemnity)

39

  1. Displaying signs about consumer guarantees

40

  1. Receipts and other ‘proof of purchase’

40

Glossary and abbreviations

42

Contacts

44


Introduction

About the Australian Consumer Law





  1. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) aims to protect consumers and ensure fair trading in Australia.




  1. It is a national, state and territory law from 1 January 2011 and includes unfair contract terms legislation introduced on 1 July 2010.




  1. Under the ACL, consumers have the same protections, and businesses the same obligations and responsibilities, across Australia.




  1. Australian courts and tribunals can enforce the ACL, including those of the states and territories. The regulators of this law include:




  • the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

  • the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

  • each state and territory consumer protection agency.




  1. The ACL replaces previous Commonwealth, state and territory consumer protection legislation in fair trading acts. It is contained in a schedule to the Trade Practices Act 1974, which has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).




  1. Aspects of the ACL are reflected in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Act 2001 to protect consumers of financial products and services.


About this guide


  1. Consumer protection agencies across Australia have developed this guide to help businesses and legal practitioners understand consumer guarantees.




  1. This guide covers:




  • what consumer guarantees apply to certain goods and services

  • who is responsible for satisfying the requirements of these consumer guarantees

  • when remedies, such as a refund, repair and replacement, will be available.




  1. It explains the law in simple language but is no substitute for the legislation. This guide provides general information and examples - not legal advice or a definitive list of situations where the law applies.




  1. The guide is based on material prepared by the New Zealand Ministry of Consumer Affairs about their legislation, the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993. Consumer guarantees within the ACL are very similar to this legislation.




  1. Other ACL guides cover:

Consumer guarantees - relationship to implied warranties and conditions


  1. Consumer guarantees are a comprehensive set of rights and remedies for defective goods and services.




  1. The consumer guarantees are based on the same core principles as implied warranties and conditions that previously existed in state and territory fair trading laws and the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974. They do not create drastically different rights and obligations, but set out the rights and obligations in a clearer way.




  1. Existing case law and legal precedents that apply to the previous law may assist when interpreting and applying the consumer guarantees.



      1. Warranties for financial services provided by the ASIC Act will continue to apply and will be administered separately by ASIC.





  1. Meanwhile, eligible goods and services bought before 1 January 2011 are covered by the implied warranties and conditions in state and territory fair trading laws and the Trade Practices Act 1974.




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