All Australian traders, whether online or running a ‘bricks and mortar’ operation, must comply with Australian trading laws. Since 1 January 2011 this has included laws on consumer guarantees, which are part of the ACL (which forms Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010). The consumer guarantees give consumers the right to a refund if a product is unsafe.
Every business that supplies goods—by selling, leasing or hiring—or services to consumers automatically provides certain guarantees about those goods or services.
Businesses that make goods, put them together or have their name on them also give certain guarantees. Importers give these same guarantees if the maker does not have an office in Australia.
If a consumer has a problem with a good, they are free to approach the seller or manufacturer/importer to obtain a remedy—and you cannot tell them otherwise.
It is important to remember that if you don’t comply with a consumer guarantee, your customers have a right to take action against you. This is the case even if the problem with the good was caused by the manufacturer.
The consumer guarantees do, however, provide sellers with rights against manufacturers or importers of goods if the seller provides a remedy to a consumer for a problem which was caused by the manufacturer or importer.