In Queensland, the rights of a recipient of goods or services from a business (“consumer”) is governed by:
- the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (“Act”) (formerly Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth)) and The Australian Consumer Law contained within schedule 2 of the Act;
- the Sale of Goods Act 1896;
- various individual industry pieces of legislation, regulations, standards, codes or rules; and
- common law principles.
The competition and consumer law captures various forms of conduct and transactions, including:
- misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce;
- the making of false representations in relation to the sale of goods and services;
- the making of false representations in relation to the sale of land;
- unconscionable conduct in trade or commerce;
- unfair terms in consumer contracts and standard form consumer contracts;
- safety of consumer goods and product related services;
- the making and enforcement of information standards;
- liability of manufacturers for goods with safety defects;
- anti competitive conduct; or
- bait advertising.
Since 1 January 2011, the Consumer Laws have been incorporated as certain consumer guarantees (“Consumer Guarantees”) on goods and services, including:
- be of acceptable quality, taking into account what would normally be expected for the type of goods and their cost, such that they must be safe and without fault, look acceptable and do all the things that would be reasonably expected;
- match descriptions made by sales representatives, match demonstration models or samples or descriptions on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising;
- be fit for the purpose represented or implied and for any purpose made known to the business before purchase;
- come with full title, ownership and possession;
- not carry any hidden debts or extra charges;
- meet any extra promises made about performance, condition and quality, such as life time guarantees and money back offers; and
- have spare parts and repair facilities available for a reasonable time after purchase unless you were told otherwise.
- be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge, taking precautions to avoid loss and damage;
- be fit for the purpose or give the results agreed between business and consumer; and
- be delivered within a reasonable time when there is no agreed end date.
The Consumer Guarantees on goods and services also apply to bundled goods and services, gifts with proof of purchase, ‘on sale’ items, online products and services bought from Australian businesses and second-hand products from businesses, taking into account age and condition.
The Consumer Guarantees do not apply to every circumstance and only apply where the goods or services sold, hired or leased are:
- under $100,000;
- over $100,000 that are normally bought for personal or household use; or
- business vehicles or trailers (irrespective of cost), provided they are used mainly to transport goods.
- to be on-sold or changed for re-supply as part of a business;
- bought as a ‘one-off’ from a private seller;
- bought at auction where the auctioneer acted as an agent for the owner; or
- part of a contract to store or transport goods as part of business activities.
Businesses must provide these automatic Consumer Guarantees, regardless of any other warranties they give or supply with their goods or services. If a business fails to deliver any of these Consumer Guarantees, a consumer may have rights or legal remedies for:
- repair, replacement or refund;
- cancelling a service; and/or
- compensation for damages & loss.
Importantly, Consumer Guarantees do not apply where a consumer:
- changes their mind (eg found it cheaper elsewhere, decided they did not like the purchase or had no use for it);
- misuse in any way that causes damage or destruction;
- knew of or were made aware of the fault before purchase; or
- asked for a service to be done in a certain way against the advice of the business or were unclear about what was required.
As a Consumer
Should you wish to make a claim in connection with any goods or services, our team of experienced consumer law solicitors can provide you with advice and guidance as to your rights and remedies as a consequence of any breach of any Consumer Laws or Consumer Guarantees.
As a Business Owner
Our team of experienced Business Lawyers can assist you ensure your business practices and contracts don’t contravene the Australian Consumer Laws and to defend claims should they arise.