Your consumer rights

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 11:45
ThreadID: 91711 Views:1779 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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In light of a couple of recent threads regarding warranties etc the ACCC's new "Repair, replace, refund" campaign aimed at informing consumers and providers of their rights and responsibilities may be of interest.

Heard an ACCC manager on air confirming the 'reasonable expectation' and 'fit for purpose' warranty principles. These are embedded in the law and are no less valid than your written '12+ month guarantee' [my interpretation]. Obviously the more expensive the item the higher the expectation a 'reasonable' consumer would have of it's reliability and longevity - in most cases. The ACCC rep confirmed that under Australian law your warranty does not necessarily expire at the magic 12 months or whatever is written on the manufacturer's warranty card. Some exceptions do apply though (eg goods bought at auction or privately, and misuse for example).

I was interested to learn that for goods which are difficult to return it is the seller's responsibility to organise return or onsite repair/replacement but for small items the consumer would bear the cost (I was under the impression the seller was responsible so I'll have to look that up on their website). Presumably this would apply (to some extent) in cases such as remote vehicle breakdown or where your product has been permanently installed.

New consumer laws (Australian Consumer Law) for purchases from Jan1 2012 are now in effect. Previous purchases are still covererd under the Trade Practices Act.

The ACCC website has lots of useful and easy to follow material for anyone interested.

ACCC Repair, replace, refund pages

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Reply By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 12:03

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 12:03
NB - That should read Jan1 2011 for the new law - important if you bought your vehicle last year!
AnswerID: 477178

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 17:36

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2012 at 17:36
I know the ACCC wants to improve our rights and that is all good, but they seem to fail consistently on the question of time limits (a core factor in every warranty). They want us to get more time than the manufacturer simply offers - that's all understandable, but they never tell us how that timespan can be identified and how we could successfully claim on that basis. The couple of examples they give in that section of the blurb seem plain silly to me. Anyway, as you say Baz, an improved era hopefully and potential for better consumer rights.
AnswerID: 477213

Reply By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 08:07

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 08:07
Thanks for the information. The cook has a problem with the gearbox of her less than 12 months old Citreon. Checking by the dealer involves a 350km one way trip. No trouble with the warranty but hassles with the expense for the trips as more than one will be necessary. After checking with the ACCC & a few phone calls it looks like we might not be too far out of pocket. Bill
AnswerID: 477267

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 00:57

Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 00:57
Please dont think Im being a smartass (but Im very curious), but why would you buy a Citreon (of all brands???) when the nearest dealer is 350km away?
FollowupID: 752513

Follow Up By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 08:49

Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 08:49
To satisfy your curiosity. The cook & her brothers all had Citreons for years in Europe & she had an earlier model of the current one for 7 years with no trouble. As for the distance. Unless you want a Holden or Toyota, who don't have what she wanted, the are few other choices near to home. She wasn't going to change but they gave her a good deal & she can't pass up a bargain. With the warranty claim they don't know who they are dealing with. Bill
FollowupID: 752520

Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 08:28

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 08:28
Thanks Baz

I will read the blurb today a trip to the shops. I was wondering about the implications on stuff we import directly to us via the internet etc and do not go through an Australian representative or official agent. That may be a minefield.

AnswerID: 477271

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 10:06

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 10:06
Just read the link. Good to see it formally announced. And they cleared up what I have mentioned to some who want to import technical and expensive stuff straight to their house.

Products and services from overseas online businesses
For other problems with products bought from overseas online businesses, you may not be covered by the consumer guarantees and may have difficulties tracking businesses down to get a repair, replacement or refund.
End quote

Just imagine importing a fifth wheeler and something with the side extenders is broken. Ouch. Then you get your GPS from China and three months later it breaks. Don't get me wrong. I use the online and ebay from overseas. But before we do we ask the locals if they will honour the warranty. And get it at least on an email.

FollowupID: 752465

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 11:19

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 11:19
Before retiring recently I was a dealer for an American made product. Any vehicle bought through the Australian dealer network was warranted throughout Australia at any dealership (something like 80 or so) Any unit bought direct from the USA or any other country was not covered but usually they would help with parts or in some other way. According to their legal team this was well within the warranty requirements of the ACCC. I would add that we never had any dramas with these guys for genuine claims and even some questionable ones if bought through the local dealer network.

FollowupID: 752469

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 11:31

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 at 11:31

I bought a collectors version model of a special steam engine direct from Germany a few years back. It was almost half the price of here. It failed almost immediately and if it wasn't for the fact that I was a regular customer at the local Australian importer, I would not have had repair assistance and a big discount for the parts. We knew we were not covered. I could have sent it back but then they may have just returned the money and not the train. The model is now worth double what we paid and not much less for a non working one. The model sold out immediately it was released.

No warranty on direct imports has been that way for as long as I could remember. But it amazed me how many people believe that they are covered normally when importing things directly from overseas. Not so!!

FollowupID: 752471

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