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Articles from INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS (263 Articles), EDUCATION / TRAINING (185 Articles)

Retailers can now choose whether to repair, replace, resupply or refund consumers if the problem can be remedied within a reasonable time
Retailers can now choose whether to repair, replace, resupply or refund consumers if the problem can be remedied within a reasonable time

New consumer laws to aid jewellers

Jewellers are set to benefit from what has been described as “a big step forward” in Australia’s consumer laws on warranties and guarantees.
A new federal legislation dictates that the onus will now be on retailers to choose the most appropriate course of action when there is a failure to comply with a consumer guarantee, but only if the failure is minor and can be remedied in a reasonable time. 

The ruling is part of the new Australian Consumer Law, which takes effect on January 1, 2011. It is one of 12 that comprise a set of new rights for consumers when they buy goods or services.

It will replace the implied conditions and warranties law in the Trade Practices Act 1974 as well as separate state and territory laws.

Small to medium-sized businesses will be the ones most profoundly affected by the new law.

Dr Michael Schaper, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said that under the new laws, consumers were still entitled to take action to obtain a remedy from retailers, service providers or manufacturers.

However, retailers can now choose whether to repair, replace, re-supply or refund consumers if the failure is minor and can be remedied within a reasonable time.
“The appropriate remedy will depend on the circumstances and the seriousness of the problem,” Schaper said.

The ACCC made it clear however, that the consumer still has legal rights if there is a major problem with the jewellery or if the jewellery cannot be repaired within a reasonable time (no matter how small the fault) and is entitled to ask for a refund under these circumstances.

JAA chief executive Ian Hadassin said the new consumer law was a big step forward for jewellery retailers, because the national regulatory framework would bring uniformity to the previously fragmented state laws.

“This is a very significant change. Before under the state laws, consumers had legal rights to decide if they wanted a refund or repair. Now, it is the retailer’s choice to decide what they want in a situation,” Hadassin said.

He used the example of a stone that may have fallen out of a ring. If retailers can easily refasten the stone, consumers will have to accept that as a remedy as opposed to a full refund.

Schaper said it was vital that both retailers and their staff understand their own rights as well as that of the consumers.
“While the guarantees have been met, there is no obligation for businesses to provide a remedy under the consumer guarantee provisions – for example, if a consumer changes their mind,” he explained.
Retailers that want more information about the new Australian Consumer Law can visit the websites of ACCC or Australian Consumer Law.

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