Consumer issues

What rights do consumers have?

When you buy products and services they come with automatic ‘consumer guarantees’ that they will work and will be what you asked for.

If you buy something that is faulty, you have consumer rights. You may be able to get the product repaired, replaced or a refund. You may also be able to get compensation. 

Under the law:
  • goods or services must be as they were described and must be fit for the purpose you got them
  • goods must be of acceptable quality
  • services must be provided with proper care and skill and in a reasonable timeframe.
Also:
  • suppliers, manufacturers and service providers must not mislead consumers into buying goods or services they do not want or do not understand
  • companies and businesses cannot have ‘unfair terms’ in their contract.
You can get legal help about this.

What can my client do if they have a dispute with an education provider?

Education providers must act the same way as any business or company that provides goods or services, and you have the same consumer rights that you have with any other business.

If you have a dispute with an education provider you can follow these steps:

  • Try to sort it out with the provider
    • You can try to resolve your complaint over the phone or in person. If this doesn’t work put your complaint in writing and a keep a copy of communications you send.
    • Calmly and clearly suggest a resolution — for example, ask for a refund.
    • Show them documents such as contracts, receipts or quotes.
    •  Be polite and listen to what they have to say. They might suggest solutions you have not thought about.

  • If that doesn’t work — contact Fair Trading NSW
    Call 13 32 20 or visit the Fair Trading website for information about your rights or to lodge a complaint online. In some cases Fair Trading may contact the other party to help negotiate a solution.

  • If Fair Trading can’t help — go to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
    You must do this no later than 3 years after the date the problem with the goods or service happened. You should get legal advice before you lodge your complaint.
You can get an application form and the fee schedule from the NCAT website or call 1300 006 228.

How can my client resolve their consumer dispute?

  • Try to sort it out directly with the service provider, seller or manufacturer
    • You can try to resolve your complaint over the phone or in person. If this doesn’t work put your complaint in writing (called a letter of demand). State what you want — for example, a refund.
    • Give them documents such as contracts, receipts or quotes and a keep a copy of anything you send.
  • If that doesn’t work — contact Fair Trading NSW
    Call 13 32 20 or go to the Fair Trading website for information about your rights or to lodge a complaint online. In some cases Fair Trading may contact the other party to help negotiate a resolution.

  • If Fair Trading can’t help — you can go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or the Local Court
    • You should get legal advice about the best thing to do.
    • You have 3 years from the date the problem with the goods or service happened to lodge a claim at NCAT.
    • You have 6 years to start legal action in the local court.
    • NCAT and the local court can make an order that you be given compensation, or have the problem fixed, or have your money refunded.

My client has a dispute with a tradesperson. What can they do?

Follow the steps that are set out under How can my client resolve their consumer dispute?

You can find out from NSW Fair Trading if the tradesperson is licenced.

You may need to give NCAT or the local court reports from independent professionals.

Before you decide what to do you should get legal advice.

What should my client be aware of when buying a car?

Before you buy a car you should:

If you buy a car from a dealer you are protected by consumer law. The motor dealer must:

  • be licenced
  • give you accurate information about the make and model of a car and its odometer reading
  • repair the car in the time they are required to do so if it has a problem after you bought it. For example, if it is a new car they have 1 year to repair it.
  • If you buy a car from a private seller — for example, at an auction or from a website like gumtree, an ad in a paper, or through word of mouth — you usually won’t have consumer rights under the law.
  • Get an independent mechanic to test the car and tell you if it is a good car to buy.
Site content is current as at November 2018