Which goods are covered and what guarantees apply.
Which goods are covered?
Goods are covered when sold in trade or commerce and bought by a consumer. Second-hand, leased or hired goods are also covered.
Some consumer guarantees apply regardless of whether the goods are sold in trade or commerce – these are the guarantees that a consumer is buying goods:
- with a clear title, unless told otherwise before the sale;
- with a right to undisturbed possession – no-one has a legal right to take the goods away or prevent them from using the goods; and
- that do not carry any undisclosed securities – the goods do not have any hidden securities or charges.
Trade or commerce means in the course of a supplier’s or manufacturer’s business or professional activity, including a non-profit business or activity.
A consumer is a person who buys:
- any type of goods or services costing up to $100,000*, or any other amount set by the Australian Consumer Law in future – for example, a photocopier or cash register;
- a vehicle or trailer used mainly to transport goods. The cost of the vehicle or trailer is irrelevant; or
- goods or services costing more than $100,000*, which are normally used for personal, domestic or household purposes – for example, a car or landscaping design.
The following goods are not normally used for personal, domestic or household purposes:
- an airseeder (Jillawara Grazing Co v John Shearer Ltd (1984) ATPR 40-441);
- a large tractor (Atkinson v Hasting Deering (Queensland) Pty Ltd (1985) 6 FCR 331); or
- an industrial photocopier (Four Square Stores (Qld) Ltd v ABE Copiers Pty Ltd (1981) ATPR 40-232 at 43,115).
Goods not covered by consumer guarantees include those:
- bought before 1 January 2011. These are covered by statutory implied conditions and warranties under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and state and territory legislation in force before 1 January 2011;
- bought from one-off sales by private sellers, such as garage sales and fêtes;
- bought at auctions, where the auctioneer acts as agent for the owner;
- costing more than $100,000* that a person would normally buy for business use – for example, machinery and farming equipment;
- a person buys to on-sell or re-supply; or
- a person wants to use, as part of a business, to:
- manufacture or produce something else, for example, an ingredient; or
- repair or otherwise use on other goods or fixtures.
Both supplier and manufacturer guarantee that goods:
- are of acceptable quality – they will be safe, durable and free from defects. They will be acceptable in appearance and finish, and do the job that type of thing is usually used for;
- will match any description given to the consumer; and
- will satisfy any extra promises made about them (express warranties).
A supplier also guarantees the consumer is buying goods:
- fit for any disclosed purpose – the goods will do the job the consumer was told they would;
- with a clear title, unless the supplier told the consumer otherwise before the sale;
- a right to undisturbed possession – the supplier promises no-one has a legal right to take the goods away or prevent the consumer from using the goods;
- that match the sample or demonstration model; and
- that do not have any undisclosed securities – the goods do not have any hidden securities or charges.
A manufacturer guarantees that repairs and spare parts will be available for a reasonable time after purchase.
* post 1 July 2021 or $40,000 pre 1 July 2021.