You, as a consumer, have a right to replace or refund goods or services that have been purchased after 1 January 2011 if one or more guarantees are not met. The remedies that are available to you will depend on whether the guarantee was breached by a major or minor problem which will vary depending on the individual circumstances of the goods or services purchased.

Minor failures

Minor failures are identified as non compliance with guarantees which can be fixed within a reasonable period of time by the supplier of the goods or service offering a refund, replacement, resupply or repair. Such remedies for minor failures must be offered free of charge by the supplier.

Major failures 

There is a major failure to comply with a guarantee if the problem caused cannot be fixed or is too difficult to fix.

Major failures in relation to goods occur when:

  • There is a problem which would prevent a person from purchasing the goods;
  • The goods are unsafe to use;
  • The goods are significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration model;
  • The goods do not do what the supplier indicated that they would do or they do not do what you clearly indicated that you expected them to do. This problem cannot be fixed within a reasonable time frame

Major failures in relation to services occur when:

  • There is a problem with the service that would prevent a person from purchasing the service;
  • The service is substantially unfit for its common purpose and this problem cannot be fixed within a reasonable time frame; Or
  • The services create an unsafe situation.

The right to a remedy

You will not be entitled to a remedy if you:

  • Change your mind after the purchase because you do not like the goods or services that were bought;
  • Find out that you can buy the same goods and services somewhere else for a cheaper price;
  • Did not find any faults in the goods or services prior to purchase despite having the chance to inspect the goods or service;
  • Have damaged the goods or the method of service in a manner that lies outside the scope of normal wear and tear;
  • Insisted that a good or service should be implemented in a certain way and were not happy with the outcome;
  • Did not rely upon the skill, judgment or expertise of the supplier when purchasing the goods or service;
  • Relied on a representation that someone other than the supplier made about the goods or service before buying it; Or
  • Are seeking a remedy for an event that was beyond the control of the supplier.

Other remedies

There are other remedies that are available to you if a guarantee has been breached. These include:

  • Repairs
  • Compensation
  • Cancellation of contract


If you’re in need of a business lawyer, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of our team of business law specialists.

Ursula Hogben
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