Know consumers' rights - repair, replace, refund

As a business owner, did you know you must, by law, guarantee the products or services you sell?

And that your customers have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund if the products you sell are faulty, unsafe or don't work as intended?

These rights are called consumer guarantees and they have been law since 1 January 2011.

ACCC has a new education campaign targeting consumers - Repair, Replace, Refund - highlights their rights under the consumer guarantees.

In broad terms, consumer guarantees state that all goods sold in Australia must be of acceptable quality, be fit for any purpose that the consumer made known and match the description given.

Services must be delivered with due care and skill, and completed within a reasonable time if no set timeframe is agreed.

If the goods or services don't meet the consumer guarantees, the most appropriate remedy will depend on how serious the problem is.

If it is a major problem, your customers are entitled to choose a refund or a replacement product (or receive compensation in the case of services).

If the problem is minor you can choose whether you will repair, replace or refund the product or fix the problem with the service.

You can't limit or refuse a consumer guarantee, nor can you tell your customers they have to pay for the rights under consumer guarantees or do anything that leads them to believe their rights do not apply.

However, consumers' rights are not limitless. You are not required to provide a remedy if you have complied with all the guarantees. For example if a customer simply changes their mind and no longer wants the product or service, they are not entitled to a refund.

The ACCC has produced an online education module for businesses to help them understand consumer guarantees and train their staff. Visit www.accc.gov.au/consumerguarantees to view the module.

For further information on the campaign visit www.australia.gov.au/consumerrights