Refund, repair or replacement?

Whether a consumer can get a refund, repair or replacement depends on whether the problem is:

  • major – cannot be fixed or is too difficult to fix; or
  • minor – can usually be put right.

The consumer may also be able to claim for compensation for their costs in time and money because something went wrong with the goods. The supplier or manufacturer will provide the remedy depending on what the problem is.

Major problems

A consumer can choose to:

  • Reject the goods and get a refund
  • reject the goods and get an identical replacement, or one of similar value if reasonably available, or
  • keep the goods and get compensation for the drop in value caused by the problem.

A major problem with goods is when:

  • a reasonable person would not have bought the goods if they had known about the problem
  • the goods are significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration model shown
  • the goods are substantially unfit for their normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit, within a reasonable time
  • the goods are substantially unfit for a purpose that you told the supplier about, and cannot easily be made fit within a reasonable time
  • the goods are unsafe.

Minor problems

If the problem can be repaired within a reasonable time, the supplier must be given a chance to fix the problem. The supplier may choose to:

  • provide a refund
  • replace the goods
  • repair the goods.