LEGAL ADVENTURES OF THE CLARKE FAMILY
Chapter 4 - PRODUCT LIABILITY
Dave has recently expanded his pool cleaning service to include selling pool cleaning products in addition to his pool cleaning services.
Several days ago, Angela who is his long-time customer came in and purchased a battery powered pool vacuum which was one of the higher priced items he offered. However, she returns to the store angry, saying
“I bought this a few days ago from here and it broke the first time I tried to use it yesterday! This is ridiculous considering its hefty price, I thought I was buying a good quality item! I want a refund.”
Dave stares at her and replies saying “you must’ve broken it when you tried to use it, that’s not our fault”.
With this Angela becomes angrier, and her voice rises as she expresses her frustration with Dave. Maggie, who had been hovering close by the counter, overhears the exchange between Angela and Dave and decides to step in as the situation is not improving. She smiles at Angela, and asks her to wait for a moment whilst pulling Dave aside. Dave looks at Maggie with irritation, but before he can say anything she quietly says to him “I think it’s best we give her a refund or provide her with a new replacement.”.
Upon hearing this, Dave says angrily to her “Are you the owner? No, you’re not! If that’s what you want then it’s coming out of your own pay check.” He then storms off leaving Maggie by herself with Angela.
All consumers are protected by law under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The ACL contains numerous guarantees relating to the supply of goods such as that the quality of the goods will be acceptable.
A business cannot exclude its obligations under the ACL such as including a disclaimer that it will not be liable under any circumstances, if goods purchased by a consumer prove defective.
Q and A
Q: The item I purchased broke when I tried to use it for the first time. Can I claim a refund from the retailer?
A: Yes, you can claim a refund from the retailer as the goods do not meet the consumer guarantee of acceptable quality. In the chapter above Angela has the right to receive a refund, and Maggie was correct in saying so.
Q: What sorts of remedies can I seek from the retailer?
A: You can claim remedies such as the repair, replacement, or refund and in some cases compensation for damages and loss.
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