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Standard fact sheet.

Goods match description or sample guarantee 

Consumer guarantees

Matching description

As a supplier or manufacturer, you guarantee that the description of goods – for example, in a catalogue or television commercial – is accurate.

If the goods do not match the description – for example the goods are a different colour or size – the consumer is entitled to a remedy. A remedy is an attempt to put right a fault, deficiency or a failure – for example, repair, replacement and refund.

You cannot argue that the consumer inspected the goods before purchase and should have picked up any errors in the description.

This guarantee does not apply to goods bought at auction.

Matching sample or demonstration model

You also guarantee goods will match any sample or demonstration model shown to the consumer. For example a sample of fabric is used to sell a couch but the couch delivered to the consumer is a different colour from the sample. The consumer has a right to a remedy.

This guarantee does not apply to goods bought at auction.

Hidden defects

Goods sold by relying on a sample or demonstration model must not have any hidden defects. If the consumer does notice any defects, these must not be serious enough to make the goods of unacceptable quality.

Unavoidable differences

This guarantee applies even if the differences are unavoidable, provided they are substantial. For example if shading, piling or colouring in an installed woollen carpet is substantially different from the sample used to sell it, the consumer may be entitled to remedy.
Legal reference: Cavalier Marketing (Australia) Pty Ltd v Rasell (1990) 96 ALR 375).

Reasonable time to compare the goods

You must give the consumer a reasonable amount of time to compare the goods with the original sample. This does not apply to demonstration models.

For example a car dealer does not need to keep a demonstration model to allow the consumer to compare their car to that model. However, a furniture retailer should keep a sample of the fabric used to sell a couch, to allow a consumer to compare it with the couch supplied.

If you show a sample or demonstration model to the consumer and give a description of the goods, the goods must match both.

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