Failing to meet consumer guarantees

Consumers have the right to gain an outcome for their issue if they buy a product or service that doesn’t meet a consumer guarantee.

The types of remedy depend on if the problem is a major or minor failure.

The business that sold the product must help you resolve the problem. If they can’t do it all themselves, they must contact the manufacturer on your behalf.

Failure can happen at any time in the reasonable life of a good or service. A reasonable life is how long consumers can realistically expect the product to last. This will depend on the type of product.

What is a major failure?

A major failure is when goods or services fall significantly short of a consumer guarantee.

Consumers have the right to choose which of these options to take in the event of a major failure.

Major failures with goods

A major failure with goods is when:

  • the consumer would not have bought it if they knew about the problem
  • the goods are very different from what was in the description or sample model
  • they brake (and can’t be repaired easily), this means they:
    • can’t do their job
    • don’t suit why the consumer bought them (as long as the consumer told the business about this before buying).
    • the goods are dangerous.

If there is a major failure with goods, consumers can choose to:

  • get a refund
  • replace for the same product
  • get a replacement of similar value
  • keep the goods and be compensated for any drop in value.

Major failures with services

A major failure with services is when:

  • the consumer would not have bought the service if they knew about the problem
  • the service does not meet the standard expected and can’t be fixed in a reasonable time
  • the service does not achieve the purpose outlined to the business
  • it caused a dangerous situation.

If there is a major failure with a service, consumers can:

  • cancel the contract and claim a refund
  • keep the contract and be compensated for any drop in value.

What is a minor failure?

A minor failure is anything not listed above. The business has the right to choose which option to take in the event of a minor failure.

For a minor failure with goods, the business may either:

  • provide a refund
  • replace the goods
  • repair the goods
  • fix the title to the goods.

For a minor failure with a service, the business must fix the problem for free and in a reasonable time frame.

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