Consumer protection lawyers
Some of the people we have helped include:
- a homeowner, who had a defective lift installed in her home, fell and was injured
- a dad who was injured due to a defective bicycle, and
- a cleaner who was struck by faulty automatic glass doors.
Our interest in consumer protection goes beyond our daily legal role. NSW Managing Principal Ben Slade sits on the Board of the Australian consumers association Choice.
We have Queensland offices in Brisbane, Browns Plains, Caboolture, Cairns, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Strathpine, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, and Townsville. Contact us today to find out how we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer protection is a broad area of law that includes product liability and faulty products. Maurice Blackburn’s lawyers are experienced in helping people with claims such as defective products that cause serious and permanent injury.
Under Australian Consumer Law, if you suffer loss or damage because of safety defects in a manufacturer's goods when supplied in trade or commerce you can take the manufacturer to court for compensation to cover the loss or damage, if you can show that:
- the manufacturer or producer owed you a duty of care
- this duty was breached, by establishing that the manufacturer failed to do something it should have or did something it should not have, and
- this failure caused you to suffer an injury, which will need to be supported by medical evidence.
Loss and damage can include injuries to the person making the claim, or injuries or death to another individual; and economic loss caused by damage to, or destruction of another good, land, a building or a fixture. Compensation may cover:
- replacement and repair costs,
- medical costs (including future costs),
- lost income,
- pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, and
- home help and attendant care.
If you think you have a claim you should:
- seek medical treatment immediately and tell your doctor how you were injured,
- keep records and receipts of all medical expenses and the dates of all medical consultations,
- keep records and receipts of any wages you have lost as a result of your injury, and
- take photos of your injuries, where possible, and always keep the product that caused your injury.
Manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers who ultimately purchase and use their products. A manufacturer owes a duty to the consumer to take “reasonable care” in the manufacture of the product, with the knowledge that the absence of reasonable care will result in an injury to the consumer or damage to their property.
A product has a safety defect if its safety is not what the community is generally entitled to expect. While the level of safety will vary from case to case, it is ultimately for the court to determine whether a product has a safety defect. There are various factors the court will take into account when making its determination, including:
- how and for what purposes the product has been marketed
- the product’s packaging
- the use of any mark in relation to the product
- instructions for, or warnings about, assembling and using the product
- what might reasonably be expected to be done with the product, and
- the time when it was supplied.
A product will not necessarily be considered to be safe just because it complied with a Commonwealth mandatory standard.
Expected levels of safety differ for older products because they cannot be expected to be as safe as brand new products. Similarly, older models of products would not necessarily be considered defective simply because more recent models have improved safety features.
The product liability provisions of the Australian Consumer Law will generally apply to a manufacturer that supplies the goods in trade or commerce. A manufacturer includes a company that:
- makes or puts together the product
- imports the product, if the maker of the goods does not have an office in Australia
- uses its own brand name in relation to the product
- holds itself out to the public as the manufacturer of the product, or
- permits another person to promote the product as having been manufactured by the company.
A retailer can also be the manufacturer of a product and therefore liable.