Skip links and keyboard navigation

Consumer guarantees applying to goods

The law automatically gives you rights when you buy goods and services. These are your consumer guarantees.

There are 9 consumer guarantees that apply to any goods you buy from businesses in Queensland.

Consumer guarantees for goods apply to:

  • anything that costs $40,000 or less
  • anything for personal or household use, regardless of price
  • vehicles and trailers.
Consumer guarantees for goods do not apply to:
  • goods you bought before 1 January 2011 (these are covered under previous laws)
  • goods you normally use for your business and cost over $40,000
  • one-off sales by private sellers, garage sales or school fetes (though guarantees about clear title still apply)
  • auctions where the auctioneer is the owner’s agent
  • goods purchased for on-sale or re-supply
  • goods that your business plans to use up or transform during a production, manufacturing or repair process.

You can seek a remedy if a business sells you goods that don’t meet these guarantees. The business will have to attempt to correct any fault, deficiency or failure. This might be a refund, repair, replacement or compensation for the drop in value of the product.

Find out more details about seeking a remedy

The following clip from our Australian Consumer Law film explains the consumer guarantees that apply to goods.

 

Acceptable quality

A business guarantees that goods will be of acceptable quality. This means they must:

  • be fit for all of its usual purposes
  • look acceptable in appearance and finish
  • have no defects
  • be safe
  • be durable.

This acceptable quality test considers:

  • the nature of the goods
  • the price paid for the goods
  • any claims the manufacturers make on the packaging or labels
  • anything the business or its salespeople claim about the goods.

Examples

A consumer buys a toaster. He takes it home and takes it from its packaging. The toaster looks fine, with no obvious scratches or marks of damage. He uses it a few times without any problems, but a week later he tries to toast some bread with it. The timer mechanism falls off and the toaster throws sparks around the kitchen. The consumer takes it back to the store. He is entitled to a refund because it had a defect—it wasn’t safe and it wasn’t durable.

A homeowner goes to an appliances store to buy a new fridge. The attendant suggests a particular model, saying that it is a major brand and will last for years. She decides to buy it. When it arrives, she sees a label on the box about an easy-to-use defrost function. A year later, she activates the defrost function to clean the freezer. The fridge makes a long wheezing noise and then a loud bang. She phones the store. The fridge did not meet the claim on the box about its function or the sales attendant’s claim about how long it would last. The homeowner is entitled to a remedy.

Exceptions

This guarantee does not apply if:

  • you purchase the goods privately or at auction
  • the business or salesperson points out any hidden defects before the sale
  • the defect should have been obvious when you first saw the goods (unless you didn’t see them at all before you bought them)
  • you use the goods in an abnormal way.

Fit for a specific purpose

A business guarantees that the goods you buy will be reasonably fit for their intended purpose. This covers their usual purpose plus anything else that the business or its salespeople claim that the goods can do.

You might also want goods to do a specific job for you. You are guaranteed that the product you buy will be suitable, if you:

  • clearly told the business or salesperson how you want to use the goods, and
  • relied on the business’s or salesperson's knowledge or expertise when deciding if the goods would suit your needs.

Example

A diver buys a watch that the business says will be suitable for diving. A couple of weeks later, the diver goes for her first dive wearing the new watch. When she surfaces, she sees that the dial has filled with water. The watch is not fit for purpose, so she is entitled to a remedy.

Exceptions

This guarantee does not apply when:

  • you purchase the goods privately or at auction
  • the business can show that you did not rely on their skill or judgment when buying the goods
  • you should have reasonably known not to rely on the business's or salesperson’s skill or judgement in the circumstances.

Accurate description

A business guarantees that their description of goods is accurate. The business cannot argue that you inspected the goods before buying them and should have noticed any errors in the description.

This guarantee does not apply to private and auction sales.

Example

A consumer saw an online advertisement for a t-shirt. He liked the design and placed an order for a specific colour, but the t-shirt he received was the wrong colour. He is entitled to a remedy because the shirt does not match the description provided.

Samples or demonstration models

A business guarantees that the goods you buy will match any sample or demonstration model you were shown.

This guarantee does not apply to private and auction sales.

Example

A consumer orders a new couch. They had been shown a red fabric sample by the furniture shop, but the couch that is delivered is blue. The consumer has a right to a remedy.

Spare parts and repairs

Manufacturers or importers guarantee they will take reasonable steps to provide spare parts and repair facilities. They guarantee they will do so for a reasonable time after you buy the goods.

How much time is 'reasonable' will depend on the type of goods. For instance:

  • tyres for a new car should reasonably be available for many years after its purchase
  • spare parts for an inexpensive children's toy are not reasonably likely to be available at all.

This guarantee does not apply to private and auction sales.

Example

A consumer bought a new digital camera a year ago for $2000. He drops it and it breaks. He contacts the importer and asks how to get it repaired. The importer tells him they no longer supply parts for his camera. The manufacturer has not taken reasonable steps to provide spare parts for such a new camera. The importer must therefore provide a remedy.

Exceptions

This guarantee does not apply if:

  • you purchase the goods privately or at auction
  • the manufacturer or importer told you that repair facilities and spare parts would not be available after a certain time. They must do this in writing before you finalise the sale.

The business’s promises (express warranties)

A business guarantees that any extra promises they make on top of your usual consumer guarantees will be satisfied. These might be promises about the quality, state, condition, performance or characteristics of goods. These are called 'express warranties'.

A business might also provide a 'warranty against defects' (also called a 'manufacturer’s warranty'). It makes a promise to provide a remedy if something goes wrong with the goods. This is different from an express warranty.

This guarantee does not apply to private and auction sales.

Example

A couple buys a bed after the salesperson tells them that it will last for 10 years. The bed only lasts for 6 years before breaking. The couple is entitled to a remedy.

Ownership (clear title)

A business guarantees they have 'clear title'—the right to sell the goods to you.

If a third party has placed a mortgage or security on the goods, this would mean the seller has ‘limited title’. This is usually because the seller owes money to the third party.

This guarantee also applies to private and auction sales.

Example

A consumer buys a car from a car dealer, but the dealer had previously mortgaged the car with their bank. The dealer stops making repayments. To claim on its debt, the bank repossesses the car from the consumer. The consumer is entitled to a remedy from the dealer.

Exception

This guarantee does not apply if the business tells you they only have limited title before they sell you the goods.

Available to use (undisturbed possession)

A business guarantees that no one will:

  • take back the goods
  • prevent you from using them
  • limit how you use them (except for illegal uses).

This guarantee also applies to private and auction sales.

Exceptions

This guarantee does not apply if:

  • you do not meet your obligations under the sale, hire or lease contract
  • you were aware the business only had limited title when you bought the goods
  • you were aware when you bought the goods that another person had a security interest over them
  • you hired or leased the goods and the hire or lease has ended.

No debts or hidden charges (free from hidden securities)

A business guarantees that any goods you buy do not have hidden securities or charges, and this will not change. This means that if a business can not sell you goods with ‘limited title’ without telling you first.

This guarantee also applies to private and auction sales.

Example

A customer buys a television set from an electronics shop. The shop had already used the television as security for a current loan. The lender calls in the debt and is entitled to take ownership of the television. The business must provide a remedy to the customer, such as replacing the television.

Exceptions

This guarantee does not apply if:

  • the security was placed on the goods with your permission
  • an existing security was brought to your attention in writing before you bought the goods.
Last updated
1 July 2014

Page feedback

Your privacy

Information collected through this form is used to improve this website.

Any information you submit that could identify you (e.g. name, email address) will be stored securely, and destroyed after we process your feedback.

  1. This page was
  2. We want this information to be the best it can be and we know we can’t do it without you. Let us know what you thought of this page and what other information you would like to see.

    We do not reply to feedback. Contact us if you need a response.

  3. Contact (optional)