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Did you know that when providing goods to a consumer, you have an obligation to provide goods that are of “acceptable quality” under the Australian Consumer Law? 

Section 54 of the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”) sets out the guarantee that goods supplied in trade and commerce (except for when bought at auction) will be of acceptable quality.

1 November 2022

Did you know that when providing goods to a consumer, you have an obligation to provide goods that are of “acceptable quality” under the Australian Consumer Law?

Section 54 of the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”) sets out the guarantee that goods supplied in trade and commerce (except for when bought at auction) will be of acceptable quality.

But what does this mean?

When looking at whether goods are of acceptable quality, section 54(2) of the ACL sets out the qualities which are required. These are:

  1. The goods are fit for all the purposes for which the goods of that kind are commonly supplied;
  1. The goods are acceptable in appearance and finish;
  1. The goods are free from defects;
  1. The goods are safe; and
  1. The goods are durable.

For goods to be of acceptable quality, all of these qualities must be present. If one quality is missing, then the goods will fail to meet the consumer guarantee (Vautin v By Winddown Inc – formerly Bertram Yachts) (No 04) [2018] FCA 426). 

When assessing whether or not goods are of an acceptable quality, a Court or Tribunal will look to the type of the goods, how much was paid for the goods, any writing on packaging/labelling for the goods, what was said or represented about the goods, and any other circumstances which may be relevant. 

In addition, the focus will be on the goods at the time of the supply and will include an awareness of any relevant information (whether known at that time or later) which will go towards the quality of the goods at the time of supply. 

For example, if there is a hidden defect at the time of supply, which relates to the durability of the goods, and is not realised until some years down the track, it is still possible for a claim to be made that the goods were in breach of section 54 of the ACL (pending expert evidence).

Each case must be dealt with on its own circumstances and will turn on its own facts.

Similar guarantees apply to the supply of services.

If you have a customer who has made an allegation that you are in breach of the consumer guarantees, the team at ALG can assist you in negotiating and/or defending an application.

We are ready to book you in for your initial consultation to address your needs on (02) 4220 7100, by email lawyers@alg.com.au, or here.