When You Don’t Get What You Ordered – Rights Under Australian Consumer law

In Australia, whether as part of a commercial venture, where you may be ordering 100’s of items at a time, or just an individual purchasing a car or a computer, those purchases are covered by the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”).

The ACL sets out consumer rights that are called consumer guarantees. These include your rights to a repair, replacement or refund as well as compensation for damages and loss and being able to cancel a faulty service.

The ACL is purposefully broad in its applicability in some areas, such as where there is misleading or deceptive conduct to induce someone into entering into a contract, and quite specific in others, such as a limit on the dollar amount of the transaction in certain sales.

Our Firm has acted in several matters recently which rely on the ACL as the core basis of claim, including:

  1. A claim by a builder for a refund for items purchased, where those items had parts missing which were implied or ought to have been part of the package purchased;
  2. A claim by a client of a professional service, where the professional represented themselves to be an expert in a particular field, yet did not carry out their duties to an acceptable standard;
  3. A claim by a purchaser of a vehicle, where the vehicle spent more time in service than on the road.

The concept of “caveat emptor”, which translates roughly to buyer beware, still exists in Australia, so that claims under the ACL can only brought where the seller or other party did not deliver the product or service advertised, or engaged in behavior which misled the consumer.

Not all of our ACL cases wind up in court; we do our best to resolve matters through negotiation and mediation, to both save costs and ensure that all other options have been exhausted when it comes to resolving a dispute.

If you believe you’ve been misled into signing a contract or purchasing a product or service, don’t hesitate to speak to us about your options.