The full text of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is set out in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which is the new name of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA). The ACL is a single, national law concerning consumer protection and fair trading, which applies in the same way nationally and in each State and Territory and replaces a wide range of existing State and Territory consumer laws. Under the ACL, consumers have the same protections and expectations about business conduct wherever they are in Australia. Similarly, businesses have the same obligations and responsibilities wherever they operate in Australia.
The ACL is enforced by all Australian courts and tribunals, including the courts and tribunals of the States and Territories and is administered by the ACCC and each State and Territory’s consumer law agency.
The Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010
Regulations made under the ACL are set out in Parts 6 and 7 of the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010.
The Regulations give practical effect to the provisions of the ACL, including with respect to requirements for warranties against defects and repair notices.
Requirements for warranties against defects
From 1 January 2012, all suppliers, importers and manufacturers of products who offer ‘manufacturer’s warranties’ or ‘warranties against defects’ with their goods have had to comply with a number of requirements under Regulation 90. The requirements are set out below. This change in the law has meant that all suppliers, importers and manufacturers have had to amend their existing warranty against defects. For many suppliers it has also meant amending existing packaging or requesting changes to a warranty card included with an imported product. Failure to comply with Regulation 90 amounts to a breach of section 102 of the ACL and can result in liability for both manufacturers and retailers of products who pass on non-compliant warranties to consumers.
Regulation 90 requirements
From 1 January 2012, the following requirements are to be met in all warranties:
- a warranty against defects must be in a document that is transparent;
- a warranty against defects must concisely state:
- what the person who gives the warranty must do so that the warranty may be honoured; and Innovative legal outsourcing solutions
- what the consumer must do to entitle the consumer to claim the warranty;
- a warranty against defects must include this text: ‘Our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under the Australian Consumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure’.
- a warranty against defects must prominently state the following information about the person who gives the warranty;
- the person’s name;
- the person’s business address;
- the person’s telephone number;
- the person’s email address (if any);
- a warranty against defects must state the period or periods within which a defect in the goods or services to which the warranty relates must appear if the consumer is to be entitled to claim the warranty;
- a warranty against defects must set out the procedure for the consumer to claim the warranty including the address to which a claim may be sent;
- a warranty against defects must state who will bear the expense of claiming the warranty and if the expense is to be borne by the person who gives the warranty — how the consumer can claim expenses incurred in making the claim;
- a warranty against defects must state that the benefits to the consumer given by the warranty are in addition to other rights and remedies of the consumer under a law in relation to the goods or services to which the warranty relates.
The contents of this note are not intended to be, nor should they be, relied upon as a substitute for obtaining your own legal or other professional advice. For more information about the Australian Consumer Law and its relevance to your business, please contact Source Legal Pty Ltd (firstname.lastname@example.org).