A national regime protects consumers when buying goods and services. Your rights depend on whether your claim is against a supplier or manufacturer. Goods and services must be reasonably fit for purpose.

Contributors

Paul Latimer

Adjunct Professor, Swinburne Law School

Introduction to consumer guarantees

Last updated

1 June 2021

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) creates a set of minimum standards, called consumer guarantees, that apply when a consumer buys goods or services from an Australian supplier, manufacturer or importer. The consumer guarantees are statutory implied conditions or warranties of the contract.

Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

There are parallel statutory warranties in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (‘ASIC Act’) that financial services will be provided with due care and skill,  and that they will be fit for their purpose.

When a consumer buys goods, the seller is required by the ACL to guarantee that:

  • the goods are acceptable quality;
  • the goods are fit for any disclosed purpose;
  • the goods match their description, sample or demonstration model;
  • it will honour any express warranty;
  • the consumer has title to the goods, undisturbed possession of the goods, and there are no undisclosed securities.

When a consumer buys goods, the manufacturer is required by the ACL to guarantee that:

  • the goods are acceptable quality;
  • the goods match their description;
  • it will honour any express warranty
  • it will provide repairs and spare parts for a reasonable time.

When a consumer buys services, the service provider guarantees that:

  • the services will be provided with due care and skill;
  • the services will be fit for any specified purpose; 
  • the services will be provided within a reasonable time.

If the goods or services fail to comply with one of the consumer guarantees, the consumer may have access to a number of remedies, including repair, replacement, refund, compensation or cancellation of the contract. These remedies apply in addition to any remedy under contract or an express warranty.

The ACL is set out in schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and has applied since 1 January 2011. Different laws apply to goods and services purchased before 2011.

The ACCC, ASIC and the state and territory consumer protection agencies have jointly published Consumer Guarantees: A Guide for Consumers (2021 edn), which assisted in the writing of this chapter. This guide is available at www.accc.gov.au.

Back to
Consumers, contracts, the internet and copyright