Published: 26 June 2013

Summary: This video gives an overview of the consumer guarantees - a must for all who work in a business selling goods or providing services to consumers.


FEMALE PRESENTER: This program is about Consumer Guarantees – an aspect of the Australian Consumer Law that will affect businesses and consumers every day. So, what does this new regime mean? What protections does it offer? And what obligations does it involve?

MALE PRESENTER: The first and most basic thing to understand is what the law means by “consumer guarantees”. It’s a topic with a fair share of misinformation and a few myths. Things like …

MALE SHOP OWNER: No, sorry, the packaging is broken.

MALE SHOP ASSISTANT: No, sorry, hands are tied, all care but no responsibility.

FEMALE SHOP OWNER: Look, we can’t do anything, you have to send it back to the manufacturer.

FEMALE SHOP ASSISTANT: I can’t give you a refund – I can swap it for a new one, if you like!

FEMALE PRESENTER: Which of those responses is valid? Which have you heard before? Which have you used? It is important for you to understand consumer guarantees so that you are in a position to know your own rights as a consumer, and also to ensure that you know what to do when your customers have a problem. We’ll return to those examples – and find out which ones are wrong – later in the program, but first let’s get an overview of the consumer guarantees regime.

All suppliers and manufacturers, in all industries, automatically provide guarantees on goods and services they sell, hire, or lease to consumers. These exist regardless of any express warranty provided by the supplier or manufacturer.

In other words you cannot eliminate consumers’ rights under the consumer guarantees by offering your own warranty or guarantee. You may, of course, extend and improve these basic rights.

While manufacturers and importers also have to comply with consumer guarantees, this video focuses on the obligations of sellers and service providers.

MALE PRESENTER: Put briefly, sellers of goods guarantee that:

  • the goods are of acceptable quality which means:
    • safe, durable and free from defects
    • acceptable in appearance and finish
    • fit for all purposes for which they are commonly supplied taking into account the nature and price of the goods and any statements on the packaging and labelling.
  • the goods match any description given to them
  • the goods match any sample or demonstration model shown to the consumer prior to purchase; and
  • any extra or ‘express’ warranty or guarantee they give about the goods they make or sell will be honoured.

FEMALE PRESENTER: Sellers also guarantee that goods are fit for any declared purpose – that is, any purpose they have stated the goods are appropriate for, whether in advertising, packaging, or in language used at point of sale. Goods must also be fit for any purpose that a consumer told the supplier about before purchase, where the consumer relied on the seller’s skill or judgement in reaching a decision to buy.

Sellers of goods must also:

  • be entitled to sell the goods
  • advise consumers if there are any securities or charges attached to the goods; and
  • ensure that no one else has any legal rights to the goods.

MALE PRESENTER: Service providers guarantee that:

  • they provide services with care and skill; and
  • the services they provide are fit for any specified purpose.

Where a service provider doesn’t specify a timeframe to provide the services they must deliver services within a reasonable time.