What happens if the guarantees aren’t complied with?
If any of these guarantees are not complied with, the consumer may take action to obtain a remedy from the supplier or, in some cases, the manufacturer or importer. The remedies are generally a repair, replacement, refund or having an unsatisfactory service performed again.
Generally, if a failure to comply with a guarantee is minor and can be remedied, the supplier can choose whether they wish to repair or replace goods or fix problems with services. However, when a failure to comply with a guarantee is major, the consumer can choose their preferred remedy.
A consumer may get compensation from the supplier if he or she suffered any loss or damage because of the failure and it was reasonably foreseeable that they would suffer loss or damage because of the failure.
Example: A customer purchases a desk for $800 from a furniture store and specifies that they need it to hold a computer and other electronics equipment. When the customer puts their computer on the desk the legs snap and the computer is damaged.
In this case, the consumer guarantees regarding acceptable quality and fitness for purpose have not been met, as a reasonable customer would expect an expensive desk to hold a computer without breaking. This is likely to be a major failure where the consumer would be entitled to a refund or replacement and compensation for the damage to the computer.
Legislation: Australian Consumer Law Part 5-4
Related information: Consumers' rights & obligations
Related publication: Consumer guarantees – a guide for businesses and legal practitioners