What is Fit for Purpose?

artwork framed

Fit For Purpose Legislation

Why should I buy artist quality paints and canvases?

If you sell your work and it fades (paints are not lightfast or use of plain glass), warps (insufficient bracing), gets holes in it (weak canvas), the image disappears (pastel falls off), becomes mouldy (using frames that are not sealed properly) then you may have a problem.

Remember the sole purpose of art is to look good and according to the Australian Tax Office it should have a useful life of 100 years


Who must comply with the consumer guarantees?

If you provide goods, by selling, leasing or hiring, to consumers in Australia you must comply with the consumer guarantees.

You will notice it doesn’t say you have to be a business, it covers any transaction whether at the markets, to your neighbours, or at a high-end retail store.

Manufacturers and importers must also comply with certain consumer guarantees.

Consumer guarantees applying to goods

Sellers must guarantee that those goods:

  • are of acceptable quality – the goods must be safe, lasting, have no faults, look acceptable and do all the things someone would normally expect them to do
  • are fit for any purpose that the consumer made known to the business before buying (either expressly or by implication), or the purpose for which the business said it would be fit for
  • have been accurately described
  • match any sample or demonstration model
  • satisfy any express warranty
  • have a clear title, unless you otherwise advise the consumer before the sale
  • come with undisturbed possession, so no one has the right to take the goods away from or to prevent the consumer from using them
  • are free from any hidden securities or charges
  • have spare parts and repair facilities reasonably available for a reasonable period of time, unless the consumer is advised otherwise.

Manufacturers and importers guarantee that their goods:

  • are of acceptable quality
  • have been accurately described
  • satisfy any manufacturer’s express warranty
  • have spare parts and repair facilities reasonably available for a reasonable period of time, unless the consumer is advised otherwise.

What happens if these guarantees are not met?

If you sell a customer a product that fails to meet one or more of the consumer guarantees, they are entitled to a remedy – either a repair, replacement or refund and compensation for any consequential loss – depending on the circumstances.

Generally, if the problem is minor, the seller can choose whether to remedy the problem with a replacement, repair or refund. If you choose to repair and it takes too long, the consumer can get someone else to fix the problem and ask you to pay reasonable costs, or reject the good and get a full refund or replacement.

If the problem is major or cannot be fixed, the consumer can choose to:

  • reject the goods and obtain a full refund or replacement, or
  • keep the goods and seek compensation for the reduction in value of the goods.

A purchased item has a major problem when it:

  • has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying the item if they had known about it
  • is unsafe
  • is significantly different from the sample or description
  • doesn’t do what you said it would, or what the consumer asked for and can’t easily be fixed

Gift recipients are entitled to the same rights as consumers who bought the goods directly.

The seller cannot refuse to provide a remedy if the product is not returned in its original packaging.

The seller also must not refuse to deal with a customer about the returned good and tell them to deal with the manufacturer instead.