Buying a fridge or TV? It’s guaranteed by law
Consumers have strong guarantee rights under law, and the Federal Court has just hit a large white goods retailer for making false or misleading representations to customers regarding their consumer guarantee rights.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the court had ordered four franchisees of a well known retailer to pay a total of $116,000 in civil pecuniary penalties.
The court found the franchisees had falsely told customers:
*The retailer had no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods unless notified with a short specified period such as 14 days.
*The franchisee had no obligation to provide an exchange or refund for faulty goods.
*The franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy independently of the relevant product manufacturer.
One of the franchisees also falsely stated on their receipts that no claims would be honoured on damaged goods unless notified within 24 hours of delivery or pick-up.
“These penalties send a strong message to all businesses, including franchisees, that they must not mislead consumers about their rights to repair, replacement or refund for faulty goods under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
Under consumer law customers have a set of rights called consumer guarantees for all goods purchased after 1 January 2011. These include a guarantee that:
- goods will be of acceptable quality;
- goods will be fit for any disclosed purpose;
- goods will match any description under which it is sold;
- goods will have spare parts available for a reasonable time; and
- all express warranties offered will be honoured.
For goods purchased after 1 January 2011, where a good develops a major fault, consumers have a right to a replacement or refund from the supplier of the good. For goods that develop a minor fault, a consumer has a right to have the fault remedied (at the suppliers discretion) within a reasonable time.
If the supplier doesn’t do so, the consumer can either reject the goods and get a refund or have the problem fixed and recover reasonable costs of doing so from the supplier.
So if you buy a fridge, TV, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer or even a kitchen blender, you already have a guarantee under consumer law and don’t be talked into paying extra for a guarantee you don’t really need.
Now that the ACCC has made it clear they are prepared to prosecute those who breach the consumer guarantee laws the managers and owners of retail outlets need to ensure they and their staff are complying with the laws.
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