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Standard fact sheet.

Fit for purpose guarantee 

Consumer guarantees

As a supplier, you guarantee that goods will be reasonably fit for any purpose that you or the consumer specify – the goods will do the job the consumer was told they would.

This guarantee does not apply to goods bought at auction.

Supplier specifies purpose of goods

You guarantee that goods will be reasonably fit for any purpose that you told the consumer the goods would be fit for. For example a keen diver buys a watch, which the supplier says will be suitable for diving. A couple of weeks later, she goes for her first dive wearing the new watch, only to surface and see the dial filled with water. She would have the right to a remedy from the supplier.

Consumer specifies purpose of goods

A consumer might want goods to do a specific job or achieve a specific purpose, different from the normal use or purpose of those goods.

You guarantee that goods will be fit for such a special job or purpose if the consumer, before buying the goods:

  • expressly or implicitly told you what they wanted to use the goods for, and
  • relied on your knowledge or expertise when deciding whether the goods were suitable for that use or purpose.

For example a consumer tells a car dealer that he wants a car capable of towing his boat. The dealer sells him a car that the dealer says will do that job. The car’s normal purpose is to transport people but, as the consumer has told the dealer that he wants to use the car to tow a boat, then the car must be able to do so.

For example, a consumer buys a middle-of-the range lawnmower, but does not mention to the supplier that she wants to use it to mow four hectares of land each week. Because she did not disclose her intended purpose, the lawnmower would only be expected to mow the lawn of an ordinary suburban house for several years without any significant problems. She cannot claim the lawnmower is not fit for purpose.

This guarantee does not apply when

This guarantee does not apply if you can show that:

  • the consumer did not rely on your skill or judgment when buying the goods
  • under the circumstances, it was unreasonable for the consumer to have relied on your skill or judgment (or lack of it).

For example a consumer tells a fellow customer at a discount department store that he wants a television capable of showing all available digital channels. The other customer tells the consumer that a particular television “looks like one my dad bought, which I think does what you want”. After buying the television, the consumer discovers that it is analogue and will not capture digital signals. The consumer did not rely on the supplier when buying the goods, so is not entitled to a refund or exchange.

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