Ziggy Zapata Title

CONSUMER LAW

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EVERY BUYER NEEDS TO KNOW THIS

Are my goods covered by consumer guarantees?

Your goods are covered if they were:

Your goods are covered even if they are second-hand, leased or hired.

Some consumer guarantees apply regardless of whether the goods are sold in trade or commerce – these are the guarantees that you are buying goods:

What goods are not covered?

You will not be covered by consumer guarantees for goods:

You want to use, as part of a business, to:

Who is responsible for fixing the problem with my goods?

Either the supplier or manufacturer, depending on what the problem is.

The supplier is the person or business who sold you the goods, for example, a retailer or a trader.

The manufacturer is the person or business who:

What do they guarantee about goods?

Both the supplier and the manufacturer guarantee that goods:

A supplier also guarantees that you are buying goods:

A manufacturer guarantees repairs and spare parts.

When goods do not meet these guarantees, the supplier or manufacturer must attempt to put the situation right - offer you a remedy. Common remedies are repairs, replacements and refunds.

When you cannot claim under consumer guarantees

A supplier or manufacturer does not have to put a situation right when they did not meet consumer guarantees due to something:

Can I get a refund, replacement or other compensation?

Whether you get a repair, replacement, refund or other ‘remedy’ depends on whether the problem is:

You may also be able to claim for compensation for your costs in time and money because something went wrong with the goods.

For major problems with goods

You can:

You get to choose, not the supplier or manufacturer.

A major problem with goods is when:

For minor problems with goods

If the problem can be repaired within a reasonable time, you cannot immediately reject the goods and demand a refund.

You must give the supplier a chance to fix the problem. The supplier may choose to:

How do I reject or return goods?

You must tell the supplier if you intend to reject goods, and explain why, and:

You cannot reject goods when:

You do not have to return goods with the original packaging.

Who is responsible for returned goods?

When you tell the supplier that you are returning the goods, the goods become the supplier’s property. They are responsible for any loss or damage to the goods from this time.

You must return the goods unless the cost of returning, removing or transporting is significant, for example, the size makes transportation costly. If so, the supplier must collect the goods at their own expense and within a reasonable time.

Examples of goods a supplier would have to collect:

Goods linked to a service

People often buy goods linked to certain services. An example is a mobile telephone, often linked to a contract for network services. This is sometimes called a ‘linked service contract’.

If you are returning goods within a reasonable time and are entitled to a refund, you can also cancel the linked service contract. You can do this when returning the goods, or within a reasonable time. These contracts do not automatically end.

For example: A consumer signs up for a package that includes a modem and internet access. She rejects the modem because it turns out to be faulty but chooses to keep her internet connection. Alternatively, she could reject the faulty modem and cancel the connection.

When you cancel a linked service contract, you are entitled to a refund or can refuse to pay for any services that you have not yet received.

The supplier does not have to give a refund for any services you received up to the time you rejected the goods. For example, a consumer subscribes to 12 editions of a cooking magazine for $200, including $80 for delivery. She receives only three editions in six months, so cancels the subscription and delivery. The supplier must refund $150 for nine magazines not received - $90 for the magazines and $60 for delivery.

REFUNDS AND REPLACEMENTS
How long can the supplier take to fix the goods?

They must fix the problem within a reasonable time. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances. For example, a supplier would be expected to respond quickly to a request for a repair to an essential household item, such as a water heater. For goods used less often, such as a lawnmower, the reasonable time for repair would be longer.

What if the supplier refuses or takes too long to repair the goods?

If they refuse or take more than a reasonable time to repair the goods, you can:

There are some restrictions – see How do I reject goods? (NSW Fair Trading Website)

What if the supplier cannot fix the goods?

If they cannot fix the goods – for instance, because they do not have the parts – or cannot do so within a reasonable time, you can:

For example, several buttons came off a consumer’s new shirt due to poor stitching. The tailor who made the shirt could not supply matching buttons. The consumer is entitled to ask for a replacement or refund.

When you take goods elsewhere for repair

If you have no choice but to take goods elsewhere for repair, you do not have to get the supplier’s agreement or provide quotes. However, they only have to pay the reasonable costs of repair. A reasonable cost would be within the normal range charged by repairers of such goods, and include:

For example, the zip on a pair of trousers breaks after one week. The retailer tells the consumer the repair will take a month. The consumer explains he needs the trousers for work urgently but the retailer offers no other option. The consumer gets the zip replaced by a tailor for $35. When the consumer asks the retailer to pay for this, the retailer says that their dressmaker would have done it for $15. If the higher price is a normal price for a tailor (not a dressmaker) to fix the trousers, the retailer would have to reimburse the consumer.

Prescribed requirements for repairs of consumer goods

A repairer of goods – whether or not this is the supplier – must notify you of particular information before accepting the goods for repair, as follows:

Repairers that fail to comply may face:

Refunds

The person or business giving the refund must repay any money you paid for the returned goods, and return any other form of payment you made – for example, a trade-in. If this is not possible, they must refund the value of the item. They must not:

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?

A business does not have to give a refund if you simply change your mind about something you bought, unless they have a store policy to offer a refund, replacement or credit note when this happens.

Do I need a receipt or the original packaging?

A consumer who wants to make a claim against a supplier or manufacturer requires proof of purchase. The best proof of purchase is a receipt or tax invoice, however other examples are:

A business cannot refuse to give a refund, or reduce the amount, because you did not return the items in the original packaging or wrapping.

What if I received the goods as a gift?

You have the same rights as a person who has bought goods directly.

What about gift certificates?

Many traders offer gift certificates where consumers pay an amount of money and receive a certificate allowing them or another person to purchase goods or services to that value at a later date.

When purchasing gift certificates consumers should check whether there are any terms and conditions, such as ‘excluding sale items’. Traders must provide notice, preferably in writing, about these conditions and cannot impose conditions that were not stipulated at the time the certificate was purchased.

Consumers should also make sure that the gift certificate is kept in a safe place and treated like cash. Many certificates are not recorded with details of the purchaser so anyone can return and use the certificate. If the certificate is lost, consumers may not be able to redeem them.

If a dispute arises with respect to a gift certificate the matter would need to be addressed by the purchaser of the certificate, as the recipient does not have a contract with the trader. Similarly, if a complaint is made to Fair Trading it would have to be lodged by the purchaser of the gift certificate.

Replacements

The person or business giving the replacement must provide goods of the same type and similar value. If such a replacement is not reasonably available, you may choose a repair or a refund.

You must return goods to them. If this involves significant cost, they must collect the goods at their own expense.

The consumer guarantees that applied to the original goods will apply to the replacements.

For example, a consumer buys a new mobile phone. Due to a problem, the supplier replaces it. Consumer guarantees apply to the replacement phone as if it were a new mobile phone.

Life Expectancy of Appliances
Refrigerators
Budget / entry level: 6 years
Mid-range: 9 years
High-end: 13 years
LCD TVs
Budget / entry level: 5 years
Mid-range: 8 years
High-end: 11 years
Laptop Computers
Budget / entry level: 4 years
Mid-range: 6 years
High-end: 8 years
Ovens
Budget / entry level: 10 years
Mid-range: 15 years
High-end: 20 years
Small Appliances
Budget / entry level: 2 years
Mid-range: 4 years
High-end: 6 years
Washing Machines
Budget / entry level: 5 years
Mid-range: 8 years
High-end: 11 years