In an increasingly competitive market, businesses often make promises to consumers that the product they’re selling will perform a certain way or have a particular effect. These promises are aimed at encouraging consumers to purchase products if they know that a product will meet a certain purpose or that they have options if the product fails.
A warranty is a promise that is made to a consumer when a good or service is purchased. Most often, it’s a promise or guarantee that if goods are faulty, a consumer can exchange the product or have their money returned. Warranties often have time limits within which they will be enforced. For example, if a faulty pair of headphones are purchased they might only be under warranty for 2 months.
Warranties are beneficial for consumers as they instil confidence by providing a guarantee that they will not be at a loss if the product doesn’t live up to expectations.
Australian Consumer Law
Warranties and other consumer issues are governed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), whose aim it is to enforce the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). The ACCC is an independent commission which aims to protect consumers and promote fair competition amongst businesses and service providers. If a consumer believes that a business has breached the Act, they can make a complaint with the ACCC.
What Is A Warranty Lawyer?
Warranty lawyers assist individuals and businesses in enforcing their consumer rights and guarantees. Warranty lawyers have an expert understanding of the Australian Consumer Law.
These lawyers will provide professional advice about warranties offered by the person or business that sold a product or service to you. It is recommended you contact warranty lawyers if a person or business failed to perform a promise that was made to you either verbally or in writing about the quality (including defects) or standard of a good.
For example, the person or business may make promises about:
- What the good can do and how long it can last
- The overall quality, condition, characteristic or performance of a good
- The availability of servicing, supply of parts or identical goods
If you believe an individual, business or supplier has breached the law by providing you with products or services that falls below the standard that they promise to offer, it is recommended that you consult with a warranty lawyer as you may be able to take legal action.
Why Do I Need A Warranty Lawyer?
Warranty lawyers should be your first point of contact if you wish to enforce your consumer rights, which include rights to repairs, replacements and refunds. Expert warranty lawyers will investigate your situation and determine whether:
- A warranty was made;
- The period of the warranty;
- If any terms and conditions apply that affect the warranty; and
- Can a claim be brought against the individual, business or supplier.
Warranty lawyers understand it can be frustrating dealing with individuals, businesses and suppliers who refuse to allow you to enforce your consumer rights. In more complex situations where you have invested in a property to build a house and the builder has died, warranty lawyers can help you make a home warranty insurance claim. These lawyers will advise you about the process of lodging a complaint and making an appeal to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
Moreover, warranty lawyers can also help businesses identify risks associated with making certain warranties. Regardless of your situation, warranty lawyers have the legal training to analyse, interpret and apply the Australian Consumer Law, and with their advice, your issue can be effectively and quickly resolved.
What Will A Warranty Lawyer Provide?
Warranty lawyers will provide effective solutions for individuals, businesses and suppliers that are specifically catered to their situation. While keeping their clients’ best interests in mind, warranty lawyers will commit to resolving your issue from beginning to end.
How Much Will A Warranty Lawyer Charge?
Usually, warranty lawyers, and lawyers in general, charge either a fixed amount or an hourly rate. Also, fees are calculated based on the solicitor’s expertise, seniority, location and whether the work is urgent.
Hourly rates and Court fees
The cost of a Warranty Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go court, there are additional Court fees associated with doing this, particularly as this work takes time.
What can a Warranty Lawyer legally charge?
Costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014.
Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.
What if I don’t agree with the costs?
You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.