Warranty rights and wrongs

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  • Updated:3 Dec 2009

03.Insist on your rights - what you need to know when things go wrong

Despite your best efforts to choose reliable products based on your research, goods sometimes break down or don’t work the way you’d reasonably expect them to. At this point, many people are unsure about where to go to get things fixed.

Virtually all goods and services are automatically protected by comprehensive statutory warranties above and beyond any manufacturers' warranty. For goods this means that they:

  • Are of merchantable or acceptable quality
  • Are fit for purpose
  • Are free from defects
  • Match any sample presented to you

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For services, this means that the service must be carried out with due care and skill.

For more information on the protections offered by the statutory warranty, check out Warranties explained - What you need to know before you buy

To exercise your warranty rights, you need to contact the retailer.

Explain the problem

You should contact the store where you purchased the goods or service. You should explain, either in person or in writing, what the problem is and why you are dissatisfied with the goods or service. 

Suggest a solution

You should then suggest the solution that you would prefer – repair, replace, refund or for services, have it redone. Ideally, you should be able to come to a mutual agreement with the retailer about the solution, based on your preference. You are entitled to a solution which puts you in the same situation as if the problem had never happened. For goods this may mean repair, refund or replacement, For services, you can ask for the job to be redone or to be paid for the costs of having it redone.

If the retailer is unable to meet your wishes it is reasonable to try and negotiate a solution acceptable to you.

The retailer should provide a temporary product

When you choose to have a product repaired, or replaced, the retailer should offer the customer a temporary replacement till the product is fixed, or the replacement has been provided, to cover any inconvenience.

The retailer should meet cost of transport/freight

If the retailer requires you to send the product to be repaired, replaced or refunded, the retailer should cover this cost.

If you are dissatisfied with the retailer’s response, you can take your complaint to the next level. Ask whether more senior staff at the retailer can review your situation or contact the state/territory consumer protection bodies agency.

State and Territory Offices of Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs

You can make a complaint to their State or Territory Office of Fair Trading, or Consumer Affairs agency. These agencies consider customer complaints and try to resolve them through conciliation with the trader. If they are unable to help, you may need to take your problem to the small claims court - the agency will explain how.


The Office of Fair Trading

Phone: (02) 6207 0400

Email: fair.trading@act.gov.au

Web: http://www.ors.act.gov.au/fairtrading


Office of Consumer and Business Affairs Phone: (08) 8204 9777

Email: metro.cab@agd.sa.gov.au

Web: http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au


Office of Fair Trading

Phone: 13 32 20

TTY: 1300 723 404

Email: enquiry@fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Web: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au  


Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

Phone: 1300 654 499

Email: consumer.affairs@justice.tas.gov.au

Web: http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au


Northern Territory Consumer Affairs

Phone: (08) 8999 1999 or 1800 019 319

Fax: (08) 8935 7727

Email: consumer@nt.gov.au

Web: www.consumeraffairs.nt.gov.au


Consumer and Business Affairs Victoria

Melbourne VIC 3001

Consumer Affairs Helpline: 1300 558 181

E-mail: consumer@justice.vic.gov.au

Web: http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au


Office of Fair Trading

Phone: 131 304

Web: http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au


Consumer Protection

Phone: 1300 304 054 (local call cost only)

Email: consumer@docep.wa.gov.au

Website: www.docep.wa.gov.au


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