Who is a Consumer?

Consumer protection laws are designed to protect "working families".

Sound familiar? What that means is that consumer protection laws apply to you only if your customers fit within the definition of a "consumer".

The Basics

It's simple really. Anyone who purchases a product or service from you that they use for:

  • personal use
  • domestic use
  • household use

is a consumer. In that case, the value $ of your product doesn't matter.

But what if what you are selling is worth less than $40,000? Did you know that can make a difference? 

Special Rules for products under $40,000

If what you are selling is worth less than $40,000 then you are selling to consumers whether they are individuals or businesses. So if you are in the business to business trade, you're covered by the new national consumer guarantees that came into force in Australia on 1 January 2011. 

*Consumer guarantees do not apply to wholesale, or products for resale, or products that will be made into something else or become part of something else.

Motor Vehicles and trailers

Motor vehicles and trailers are covered if you use them for transporting goods. How does that work?

  • sale of a family car with a value of less than $40,000 is covered by consumer protection laws
  • sale of a family car worth more than $40,000 that is used for personal or household use is covered by consumer protection laws
  • a sale of a van you use to deliver goods as part of your business is covered, whatever the value
  • the sale of a luxury car (more than $57,000, or $75,000 if its eco-friendly) to your business that is only going to carry you around is not covered   

What about second-hand?

People who buy second-hand goods are still consumers. Same with 'seconds' off the warehouse floor. The expectations are just adjusted.

If you are dealing with consumers, then you need to know about consumer protection.

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