As a consumer, you are covered by a range of basic guarantees when you acquire or purchase goods or services from suppliers, manufacturers or importers within Australia (if they were purchased on or after 1 January 2011).

The Australian Consumer Law outlines nine (9) guarantees that apply to goods, including that:

  • they are of acceptable quality;
  • they are fit for their particular purpose;
  • they match the description given;
  • they match the sample or demonstration model;
  • the seller complies with any express warranties made by the seller (i.e. lifetime guarantee);
  • the seller is able to supply spare parts and/or repairs for the goods for a ‘reasonable time’ after it is purchased;
  • the seller entitled to transfer the ownership right to the goods to you;
  • no-one will try to repossess or reclaim the goods;
  • there are no un-disclosed securities on goods.

Depending on the extent to which the goods don’t meet the guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law, you may be entitled to a refund, repair, replacement/exchange or cancellation of the contract.

Failures of the goods can be classed as ‘minor’ or ‘major’.

Where the product can be fixed or resolved by the seller in a reasonable amount of time, it is a ‘minor failure’ and the seller can offer you a refund, replacement or repair.

A ‘major failure’ can include if the product does not match the description/sample/demonstration model, you would not have purchased the product if you had known about the problem, or the product is substantially unfit for its normal purpose or is unsafe.

In these circumstances, you may be able to:

  • ask for a refund and return the product;
  • return the product and ask for an identical replacement/one of similar value;
  • keep the product and ask for compensation for the drop in value caused by the problem.

Remember, you may not be entitled to return the product or obtain a refund if you have simply changed your mind or do not like the product you purchased, if the goods were faulty before you purchased them and this was brought to your attention by the seller, or if you find the goods for sale elsewhere at a cheaper price.

If you have an issue with goods that you have purchased, first, approach the seller and explain the problem. We would also recommend detailing any complaint to the seller in writing and keeping a copy for your records.

Depending on the value of the goods involved, it may be a good idea to obtain some legal advice if you are unsuccessful in resolving a dispute about goods.

Please feel free to contact one of our friendly solicitors at Affinity Lawyers on 5563 8970 to discuss the details of your goods dispute and if necessary, arrange for an initial consultation, which is free of charge, to discuss your matter.