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As we continuously trade our turf products and services it is important to understand what laws apply to our businesses to ensure you are operating within the appropriate regulations and keep these as a minimum in the back of your mind. Training your staff in these issues is also important.

Business rights and responsibilities

In celebration of Small Business Week, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is encouraging businesses to refresh their knowledge of their business rights and responsibilities to ensure they are complying with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The following topics below are important issues that businesses should be aware of:

Consumer guarantees
As a business, the law requires that you guarantee the quality of the goods and services you sell. You automatically provide ‘consumer guarantees’ when a consumer purchases something from you.

You guarantee that any goods you sell:

  • are of acceptable quality
  • match the description, sample or demonstration model you were shown
  • are fit for their intended purpose
  • have clear title, unless otherwise stated
  • do not have any undisclosed securities (money owing on them)
  • come with a right to undisturbed possession
  • will have spare parts and repairs available for a reasonable amount of time after you buy them
  • will have express warranties honoured.

You guarantee that any services you sell are:

  • provided with due care and skill
  • fit for purpose
  • completed within a reasonable time.

NB: If a good or service you sell fails to meet a guarantee, you will need to provide a ‘remedy’ – an attempt to put right the fault, deficiency or failure.

Businesses do not have to display refund signs. However, if your business does, the signs must not be misleading.

Signs that say “No refunds” are illegal.

The following refund signs or contract terms are illegal, as they imply that customers are not entitled to a refund or that the consumer has no rights if the goods are faulty in any way:

  • no refund on sale items
  • no refunds after seven days
  • exchange, repair or credit only
  • no returns on swimwear.

Refund signs for both goods-based businesses and service-based businesses can be found on the OFT website.

False or misleading representations
A business cannot make false or misleading representations about goods or services concerning:

  • the price or value, standard, age, place of origin, quality or grade
  •  the composition style, model or history of goods
  • testimonials from people buying or using them
  • the availability of repair facilities or spare parts
  • the sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories or benefits of use
  • a buyer’s need for them
  • any guarantee, warranty or condition on them.

NB: It is also illegal for a business to offer rebates, gifts or prizes without intending to provide them, or not providing them as offered.

Small business self assessment checklist

To assist with business knowledge of their rights and responsibilities, OFT has released an interactive checklist which enables small businesses to self assess their company and identify which of their activities are regulated under the ACL.

The Small business self assessment checklist is interactive, easy to understand and features sections on contracts, advertising, receipts, consumer guarantees and refunds.

The Small business self assessment checklist is available for download from the OFT website. 

For more information about the ACL visit the Australian Consumer Law website. 


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