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About the obligation to provide a repair notice
Reasons for repair notices
When electronic products, such as mobile phones, computers and car navigation systems, are repaired, consumers can lose data they have stored. Data can include music, games, phone numbers and electronic files.
Consumers may not know their data can be lost when these products are repaired. So, businesses must warn them by giving them a repair notice. This gives consumers the chance to back up their data before the repair takes place.
Repair notices are also used to tell consumers if a business may use refurbished products or parts when repairing products. This lets consumers decide whether they are happy with this.
Occasions when a repair notice must be provided
A consumer must be given a repair notice when:
- a repair will be made to a product that can store user data
- a repair may use refurbished parts, or
- it is the repairer’s practice to supply refurbished goods rather than repair defective goods.
These obligations apply whether or not the products are second-hand goods.
When businesses must provide the repair notice
The business must provide the repair notice before it accepts the product for repair.
The repairer must provide this repair notice whether or not they know before inspecting the goods that they will:
- use refurbished parts in a particular repair, or
- supply refurbished goods instead of repairing the goods.
The repairer should allow enough time for the consumer to receive the notice, and think about whether they want to go ahead with the repair, before accepting the goods for repair.
The business does not have to provide a repair notice when a consumer brings in a product for assessment only, rather than immediate repair. However, it is good practice for the business to let the consumer know about the content of the repair notice at this time.
Repair notice rules apply to all products that are:
- under $100,000
- over $100,000 that are normally bought for personal or household use.
Business vehicles and trailers are also covered if they are used mainly to transport goods.
Repair notice rules apply to all products that are covered by the set of basic consumer rights, known as consumer guarantees.
The business that must provide the repair notice
Providing the repair notice is the responsibility of whichever business accepts the product for repair.
This may be:
- the business that sold the product to the consumer
- the manufacturer
- an insurer that accepts a product for repair on behalf of a repairer
- a general repairer unrelated to the product’s sale or manufacture.
Contents of a repair notice
Products that store user data
When a product can store user data, the repair notice must state that the repair may cause the data to be lost. The business can use any wording in this notice, as long as it provides this information.
Products being repaired
When a product may be repaired with refurbished parts, or replaced with a refurbished version, the repair notice must include this specific wording:
"Goods presented for repair may be replaced by refurbished goods of the same type rather than being repaired. Refurbished parts may be used to repair the goods."
A repair notice may need to contain both the specific wording for refurbished goods and parts, as well as the information about the repair possibly causing data to be lost.
A laptop repair business that may use refurbished parts to repair laptops would need to provide a repair notice that states both the:
- specific wording for refurbished goods and parts
- information about the repair possibly causing data to be lost.
How the repair notice must be provided
Repair notices must be in writing.
They can be handed, emailed or posted to the consumer. It isn’t enough to show the consumer a sign or direct them to information on a website.
The repair notice can be included as part of another document, such as the repair terms and conditions, as long as the repair notice:
- is easy to see
- is clearly set apart from the other information in the document
- says that the notice is given under the Australian Consumer Law.
As well as providing the written repair notice, it’s good practice for businesses to discuss the repair notice to make sure the consumer is aware of the information, and get the consumer’s clear permission before doing the repair.
Businesses needing more information about their repair notice obligations can contact the ACCC small business helpline on 1300 302 021.