Australian Consumer Law
The Australian Consumer Law spells out the rights of a consumer in areas such as the contract terms which may be unfair, safety of the products, consumer rights during purchase of goods or services, agreements which are in most cases lay-by, and unsolicited consumer agreements.
Is Chong a consumer under the Australian Consumer Law?
Chong bought the truck for $55,000 signed an agreement with Jason agreeing to the terms of sale. However Jason took advantage of Chong’s ignorance.
According to the Competition and Consumer Act of 2010 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) Chong can be rightly said as a Consumer (Corones, 2011). The chapter defines a consumer as a person who acquires goods or services which have a price not exceeding $40,000. In addition one can also be recognized as a consumer if they acquire goods or services priced at over $40,000 only if the products or services are meant to serve the purpose of personal use, domestic use and consumption. Therefore regardless of price, one qualifies to be a consumer if they acquire goods only for the mentioned services. From the excerpt, Chong buys the truck; a commercial vehicle to be used for the purpose of transporting goods and materials for his own construction business. The truck was priced at $55,000 which is above the maximum limit $40,000. However Chong qualifies on the second definition as he bought the truck for personal use. In addition Chong has been fooled by Jason maybe because he did not understand English by inserting a clause that denies Chong the rights of a consumer by making him to unknowingly waive his good. In conclusion, there are additional laws which are meant to protect the consumer against fraudulent sellers.
Consumer guarantees are supposed to assure the buyer that the goods sold are in good condition and will work properly (Csorones, 2011). Consumers are also entitled to repair, replace and refund if the goods sold or services offered are found faulty depending on the nature of the issue. A consumer can also cancel a service if they find out that the seller uses dubious means to sell the product.
Chong can sue Jason for misleading advertisement and unfairness and unsolicited consumer agreements for compensation.
Can Jason claim that Chong waived his protection under the statutory guarantees when he signed the purchase agreement?
Jason secretly inserts a waiver clause in the purchase agreement for Chong to sign after realizing Chong did not know how to read and write English.
Under the statutory guarantees act, Jason cannot claim that the by Chong signing the waiver agreement, he makes him immune against any further action by the law. Jason violates the law by not complying with all the consumer guarantee statuettes. The statuette contains certain measures which must be true and adhered to (Paterson, 2009, 934). One is that the goods must be a quality that can be accepted. Based on the truck sold to Chong, it was not of the required quality. Chong could observe that there was an oil leak. Chong’s mechanic confirms this when the truck breaks down due to failure of the oil filters to work. Secondly the goods must be able to match the descriptions given in the agreement. Jason’s description of the truck does not in any way match with its quality. It was old yet he said it was new. Chong clearly stated the intended use of the truck as to carry goods from his industry. However the truck could not complete this exercise as it was faulty.
The Australian Consumer Law statutory demands that the goods sold must fit the purpose for which they were designed to do (Corones, 2011). Any spare parts and repair services must be provided by the seller to the consumer. Jason only hurries through the transaction by making Chong sign the agreement only to find out later that the truck was faulty. He refuses to provide any repairs by claiming that Chong was not a consumer and that he did sign the waiver agreement meaning he was ready to accept the goods in their condition (Griggs, 2011, 1-9). This as the readers can see is a dubious move to con ignorant consumers. This is what is referred to as bait advertising and the wrongful acceptance of payments for products and services which have not met the required standards. This is according to part 1 chapter three of the Australian Consumer law (Carter, 2010, 221-247).
Chong is right to sue Jason for misleading advertisement and failing to comply with the guarantee statuettes.
Did Jason breach any law when he included the waiver in the agreement?
Jason takes advantage of the inability of Chong to read and understand English by inserting a clause making him accept a waiver that did not have to be there in the first place.
Jason breaches the Australian consumer law by misleading and deceiving Chong into buying an old spoiled truck. According to section 18 of the Australian consumer law, unconscionable conduct is banned in any form of commerce or trade.. This mere act has dire impacts on Chong in that he is charged a higher fee for counterfeit product. His rights have also been denied for example the right to fair treatment and equality between transacting parties. Jason is selfish hence aims at protecting himself at the expense of Chong a potential customer (Corones, 2011).
Did Jason breach any law when he advertised a used truck as being brand new?
Jason advertise an old truck with defect of leaking oil after which Chong buys it.
Jason advertising the truck as being brand new is a violation of the law prohibiting misleading advertisements (Heale, and Terry, 1991).
According to the consumer product safety law and regulations, sellers are supposed to come up with safety standards to protect the consumer. The law also bans goods or services which may cause injury to the buyers and users of the product. The Australian Consumer Law through the commonwealth prescribes the type of information which should be included in the as part of the standards which a good or service should meet before being sold to the buyers (Carter, 2010, 221-247).
Although such a case is hard to argue in court due to the fact that the plaintiff already signed the purchase agreement but then he is right as it was out of a misleading advertisement. Jason is therefore liable.
Has Jason breached any other provisions of ACL?
Based on the transaction between Jason and Chong, Jason has breached quite a number of laws.
Although it is only the court through a tribunal according to the Australian consumer law that can determine if a term is unfair, it is clear from the excerpt and the law that Jason has breached quite a number of provisions. One of the profound provisions breached is whereby Jason inputs new terms which are meant to stop Chong from accessing justice. Jason sold goods at a price which is higher than the recommended one that is $55000 (Griggs, 2011, 1-9). In court this could be argued as Chong not being a consumer according to ACL law which requires one to have acquired a good or service for $40,000 or less. Jason has also tampered with the agreement to create terms which gives him powers to terminate the contract. The waiver included in the contract simply means that Chong had initially accepted all the terms and conditions regarding the truck he was to buy hence with this document Jason would unfairly argue against Chong in a court of law to his advantage. Jason violates the enforcement and consumer redress provision (Corones, 2011).
The liability of sellers and manufacturers for goods which have safety defects provision has been violated by Jason. The ACL states that all sellers and manufacturers must compensate a customer for damages or loss which occurs due to faults related to the good or service sold (Carter, 2010, 221-247). The truck sold by Jason had a defect which was the leaking of oil. This was supposed to have been repaired before sale or disclosed to Chong but instead Jason chose to deceive Chong by telling him the truck was as good as new. Jason violates the information standards provision of the Australian Consumer Law. The law requires that suppliers or sellers such as Jason should disclose all the necessary information concerning a good or service to the buyers or consumers. Jason fails to do this by taking advantage of the fact that Chong could not read or understand English (Griggs, 2011, 1-9).
It is clear that Jason as the seller is the person on the wrong hand of the law. He has basically broken all the basic guiding provisions of the law. Chong is also to blame as he would have consulted a third party for example a lawyer to help in identifying the aspects of the law and the product.
Jason commits many offences through the breach of law in the transaction involving Chong. It is therefore right for him to be judged in a court of law.
1. Carter, J.W., 2010. The commercial side of Australian consumer protection law. Journal of Contract Law, 26(3), pp.221-247.
2. Corones, S.G., 2011. The Australian Consumer Law. Thomson Reuters Lawbook Co.
3. Griggs, L.D., 2011. Australian Consumer Law-An overview, unfair contracts, consumer guarantees and remedies. In Australian Consumer Law (pp. 1-9).
4. Healey, D. and Terry, A., 1991. Misleading or deceptive conduct. CCH Australia.
5. Paterson, J., 2009. The Australian Unfair Contract Terms Law: The Rise of Substantive Unfairness as a Ground for Review of Standard Form Consumer Contracts. Melb. UL Rev., 33, p.934.