Acceptable quality guarantee
January 2012
Acceptable quality guarantee
Consumer guarantees
As a supplier or manufacturer, you guarantee that goods
are of acceptable quality when sold to a consumer.
This means you guarantee the goods will be:
safe, durable and free from defects
acceptable in appearance and finish, and
do the job that type of thing is usually used for.
What is acceptable quality?
The test is whether a reasonable consumer, fully aware
of the goods' condition - including any defects - would
find them:
fit for all the purposes for which goods of that kind
are commonly supplied eg. a toaster must be able to
toast bread
acceptable in appearance and finish eg. a new
toaster should be free from scratches
free from defects eg. the toaster's timer knob should
not fall off when used for the first time
safe eg. sparks should not fly out of the toaster
durable eg, the toaster must function for a
reasonable time after purchase, without breaking
This test takes into account:
the nature of the goods eg. a major appliance such
as a fridge is expected to last longer than a mobile
the price paid for the goods eg. a cheap toaster is
not expected to last as long as a top-of-the-range
any statements about the goods on any packaging or
label on the goods eg. the toaster box shows a
special defroster function
any representation you made about the goods eg.
the supplier said the crumb tray was easy to detach
and clean
any other relevant circumstances relating to supply
of the goods.
Second-hand goods - acceptable quality
Second-hand goods sold in trade or commerce are
covered by the guarantee of acceptable quality, but age,
price and condition must be taken into account.
For example, a consumer buys a second-hand washing
machine for $250 from a shop. The supplier said it was 2
years old and in good condition but it breaks down after 2
months. A reasonable consumer would expect to get
more than 2 months' use from this machine. The
consumer would be entitled to a remedy from the
Leased or hired goods - acceptable quality
Consumer goods leased or hired to a consumer must
also be of acceptable quality. For example, a consumer
hires a steam cleaner to clean her carpet but the
machine does not generate steam and leaks. She is
entitled to a remedy because the steam cleaner is not of
acceptable quality.
For example, two tourists hire a campervan to tour
Australia. Fifty kilometres along the road, the van breaks
down. A mechanic says the van has not been properly
maintained or serviced for some time. The tourists would
have the right to a remedy.
This guarantee does not apply when
You alert the consumer to any hidden defects
Some goods may not be of acceptable quality due to
problems you already know about - for example, goods
with cosmetic defects sold as seconds.
Defective goods can be sold, usually for lower prices, if
the consumer is alerted to the defects before sale. For
instance, you:
tell the consumer before selling the goods, or
display a written notice with the goods. This must be
clearly presented, legible and expressed in plain
January 2012
It is not enough to simply describe the goods as seconds,
sale items or 'as is'. However, a consumer is assumed to
be aware of defects if a written notice setting out the
defects was displayed with the goods.
A consumer alerted to defects in goods before sale does
not have the right to a remedy if those particular defects
later cause problems with the goods.
However, you may have to honour the guarantee if the
consumer finds a different fault. For example a consumer
finds a bargain in a shoe shop - shoes labelled as
seconds. A tag attached to the shoes advises there is a
problem with the stitching. He buys the shoes. When the
stitching splits, he cannot claim the shoes were not of
acceptable quality. However, he may be entitled to a
remedy if another fault develops, such as the sole
The guarantee of acceptable quality will not apply if the
uses the goods abnormally
causes the quality of the goods to become
● fails to take reasonable steps to avoid the quality
becoming unacceptable.
The law does not define abnormal use. However,
examples of abnormal use include:
a mobile phone is dropped in water or is left out in
the rain
● a television is broken by an object hitting the screen
● a laptop is picked up by the corner of its screen,
which then cracks down the middle.
The consumer examines the goods
A consumer is not entitled to a remedy if they had an
opportunity to examine the goods before purchase and
did not find defects that they should have noticed.
For example second-hand goods and antiques are often
sold on an 'as is' basis. An antiques dealer is not
required to give a remedy for defects that a consumer
should have noticed when examining the goods, such as
chipped surfaces or faded paint.
The amount of effort that a consumer should take
examining goods, if given the opportunity, depends on
the nature of the goods. For new goods, very limited or
no examination would be expected.
However, a consumer may be entitled to a remedy for
defects that they would not have found with even the
most careful inspection.
The consumer uses the goods in an abnormal
Goods are not expected to be indestructible; a
consumer's use of goods can affect the durability of
those goods.
Fair Trading enquiries 13 32 20
TTY 1300 723 404
Language assistance 13 14 50
This fact sheet must not be relied on as
legal advice. For more information about
this topic, refer to the appropriate
© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
You may freely copy, distribute, display or download this information with some important
restrictions. See NSW Fair Trading's copyright policy at or email
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