Know Your Rights

Warranties, Guarantees and Refunds

We all should understand our consumer rights. Understanding some of these rights will increase your confidence to make yourself heard and when things go wrong.

Not everyone is familiar with the laws and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) identified that not only consumers are confused by ambiguous jargon, but also retailers, service providers and manufacturers too.

The ACCC publish a lot of material on our rights and it's easy to get lost so we will highlight feature some useful links for shoppers. For example, when you're entitled to ask for a refund or exchange and what rights you have when something you buy breaks or doesn't do what it should.

In March 2010 Australian Consumer Law was introduced across Australia guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services. There are now a single set of statutory consumer guarantees to replace the existing system of confusing 'implied' conditions and warranties.

According to the "The Australian Consumer Law - An introduction" paper released July 2010, among other points, the law states that when a consumers buy goods or services we now have "guaranteed rights" that:

- the supplier has the right to sell the goods;
- the goods are of acceptable quality;
- the goods match their description;
- the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier;
- the repairs and spare parts are reasonably available;
- the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and
- the services are completed within a reasonable time.

This paper is located at the Australia Treasury website under Australian Consumer Law.

We are all going to hear more about these "Consumer Guarantees" as they are applied to real world situations. There are interesting implications when your latest gadget fails just after the warranty expires. According to this "Consumer Guarantee" your request for repair are stronger if they failed on one or more of the rights listed above.

We think this is going to get very interesting.

Here are some informative links to resources from the N.S.W Government. We've used the N.S.W resources as they appear to have some reasonable online content and tools. No matter where you live in Australia, it's a great starting point as it's reasonably well organised and accessible. However if you want details, we suggest you look at the State base resources listed below until the Australian Consumer Law website is populated with all the necessary details.

Please let us know what your recommended resources are and we'll try to list them overtime. Email [email protected] with your suggestions.

The Department of Fair Trading Resources for Refunds and Warranties (NSW)

When are consumers entitled to a refund?

When are consumers not entitled to a refund?

What obligations do consumers have?

Rights of a trader

What about those stores which refund all the time?

'No refund' signs

Partial refunds

Reasonable time

Conditions and warranties

Compensation for poorly provided services

Resolving disputes

More information

The Department of Fair Trading Resources for Contracts (NSW)

What is a contract?

When can a contract be ended?


What are reasonable costs?


Delays in delivery and non-supply


Contracts with minors

Loss or damage to consumer’s property

Misleading and unconscionable conduct