When you have a problem with goods or a service, the type of ´remedy´ you can ask for depends on whether the problem is classed as either a minor or major failure.
For goods, if the problem is major, you can:
- reject the goods and get a refund or
- reject the goods and get an identical replacement, or one of similar value if reasonably available or
- keep the goods and claim compensation for the drop in value caused by the problem.
For services, if the problem is major, you can:
- cancel the service contract with the business and claim a refund or
- keep the contract and claim compensation for the difference in the service delivered and what was paid for.
For a major failure, you get to choose which option to take, not the business.
For goods, if the problem is minor, the business can:
- provide a refund
- replace the goods
- fix the title to the goods, if this is the problem
- repair the goods.
For services, if the problem is minor, the business can fix the problem:
- within a reasonable time.
The time you have to reject the good or service is however long it would reasonably be expected to last.
What qualifies as a major failure?
A major problem with goods is when:
- you would not have bought the goods if you had known about the problem. For example, you wouldn´t buy a washing machine if you knew the motor was going to burn out after three months
- the goods are significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration model shown to you. For example, you order a red bicycle from a catalogue, but the bicycle delivered is green
- the goods are substantially unfit for their normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit, within a reasonable time. For example, a ski jacket is not waterproof because it is made from the wrong material
- the goods are substantially unfit for a purpose that you told the supplier about and cannot easily be made fit within a reasonable time. For example, a car is not powerful enough to tow your boat because its engine is too small, despite you telling the dealer that you needed the car to tow a boat
- the goods are unsafe. For example, an electric blanket has faulty wiring.
A major problem with services is when:
- you would not have acquired the services if you had known the nature and extent of the problem. For example, you would not have a jacket dry-cleaned if you knew the dye would run
- the services are substantially unfit for their normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit, within a reasonable time. For example, a carpet-cleaning service changes the colour of your carpet in some places
- you told the business that you wanted a specific result but the services, and any resulting product, do not achieve that result
- you told the business that you wanted their service for a specific purpose but the services, and any resulting product, do not achieve that purpose. For example, you tell a pay TV company that you´re signing up specifically to watch the football finals and they sign you up to a contract, but the finals are over before the company installs the service
- the supply of the services has created an unsafe situation. For example, an electrician incorrectly wires wall sockets in your new kitchen, which makes the electrical outlets unsafe.
A minor problem with goods or services is anything that is not classed as major.
Last reviewed 11/04/2013