All retailers and manufacturers must act now to ensure that all
product warranty information given to consumers complies with new
regulations which come into effect on 1 January 2012.
All documents that give a warranty against defects - including
manufacturer warranty cards, terms and conditions of sale,
warranties given on product packaging - must comply with Regulation
90 of the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010.
Non-compliance will be an offence under Schedule 2 to the
Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (The Australian Consumer
Regulation 90 prescribes that, from 1 January 2012, all
warranties against defects must include the following
"Our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under
the Australian Consumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or
refund for a major failure and for compensation for any other
reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to
have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of
acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major
Any warranty against defects must also:
be in a document that is transparent (that is, a document that
is expressed in reasonably plain language, legible and presented
clearly state the warranty period, procedure for claiming
including the address to which a claim may be sent, who bears the
cost of claiming the warranty, and if such cost is to be borne by
the person giving the warranty, how the consumer can claim expenses
incurred in making the claim; and
prominently state the name, business address, telephone number
and email address (if any) of the person who gives the
The above is only a summary of the requirements of Regulation
90, and full reference to Regulation 90 ought to be made prior to
taking any steps in relation to the new legislation.
The legislation describes a warranty against defects as a
representation that a person will:
repair or replace goods or part of them, or
provide again or rectify the services or part of them, or
wholly or partly recompense the consumer,
if the goods or services or part of them are defective.
What to do now
This new regulation imposes significant further compliance
obligations on the retailer and the manufacturer.
Both the retailer and the manufacturer need to take steps to
make sure that all warranty documentation is compliant. It is
not sufficient to refer the consumer to warranty information on a
website or in-store. The warranty document, whatever form it
takes, must be compliant.
For stock packaged prior to 1 November 2011, there is thankfully
some transitional relief. The ACCC has just announced that:
Until September 2012, when considering the appropriate enforcement
response to any contravention of the warranty against defects
requirements that apply to stock in the supply chain manufactured
and packaged prior to 1 November 2011, the ACL Regulators will have
whether there are serious practical difficulties in updating
warranty documents-e.g. the warranty is in a tamper-proof package;
whether the supplier has taken all reasonable steps to
otherwise convey the mandatory text and information required by the
ACL to consumers-e.g. by placing a compliant sticker on the outside
In these circumstances the ACL Regulators are unlikely to take
This transitional relief will need to be considered on a case by
case basis, and if you have any queries regarding the transitional
relief or warranties against defects more generally, please contact
us for further information.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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