A member of the ADF recently told us about a conversation she had with a retailer who sold her a new refrigerator. The product came with a two year factory warranty. Two years and three months after the purchase, the motor in the refrigerator burned out, what are their consumer rights?
She approached the retailer and was told that because the factory warranty had expired, she had no recourse. They offered to repair or replace the motor, but at considerable cost. As a sign of “goodwill” to a “valued customer” they offered to give her a special discount of 20% off the normal cost of repair.
That sounds fair and reasonable, doesn’t it? Perhaps it does to consumers who don’t know their rights. Fortunately, our member in this story knew that where a product has a “major fault”, such as in this case, she had consumer rights well beyond a mere two year factory warranty. Those consumer rights include replacement, repair or refund at the discretion of the consumer. As a result, she received a new refrigerator from the retailer.
We know from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that there are many cases each year in which consumers lose significant amounts of money by accepting the line from sellers that nothing can be done because the factory warranty has expired. The reported cases are likely to be “the tip of the iceberg”.
Given the story recounted to us by this member and the positive outcome she achieved through her knowledge of the law, we cannot stress enough the importance of consumers understanding their rights. We wrote about this in some detail in 2022 and you can access that story here.
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