Consumer protection
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Consumer protection

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Your rights as a consumer

You have the right to expect that the products you use are safe. If you have suffered loss, damage or injury because of an unsafe or faulty product, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Consumer protection is a broad area of law that includes product liability and faulty products. This can cover injuries to the person making the claim or to someone else, the death of another person, and loss caused by damage to goods, buildings and land.

Compensation can cover:

  • replacement and repair costs
  • medical costs (including future costs)
  • lost income
  • pain, suffering and lost enjoyment of life
  • home help and attendant care.

You can take a manufacturer or producer to court over a safety defect in one of their products if you can prove that:

  • they owed you a 'duty of care' (their duty to consumers to take 'reasonable care' when manufacturing a product)
  • they violated this duty with either inaction or action
  • the failure caused you damage or injury (the latter needs to be supported by medical evidence).

Why Maurice Blackburn?

Making a product liability claim can be intimidating, especially when large organisations and insurance companies use legal jargon to confuse you. We've been representing people making claims like these for almost 100 years. We fight for fair, and we'll work to get you the best result possible.

Our consumer protection and product liability lawyers are experienced in helping people with a wide range of issues, such as damages or injuries caused by defective products. We've helped many people—including a homeowner injured by a defective lift in her home, a dad injured by a defective bicycle, and a cleaner struck by faulty automatic doors.

At Maurice Blackburn, we also go beyond our daily legal role. Our New South Wales managing principal sits on the board of CHOICE, the Australian consumer advocacy group.

Our 'no win, no fee'* policy means that if we don't win, you don't pay our legal fees. We have lawyers in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and throughout Australia. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is product liability and consumer protection?

Consumer protection is a broad area of law that includes product liability and faulty products. Maurice Blackburn’s lawyers are experienced at helping people with a wide range of consumer law issues, 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
  • this failure caused you to suffer an injury, which will need to be supported by medical evidence.

What can I claim for?

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 any other goods, land, a building or a fixture. Compensation can cover:

  • replacement and repair costs
  • medical costs (including future costs)
  • lost income
  • pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
  • home help and attendant care.

What should I do if I think I have a claim?

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 of any wages lost as a result of your injury
  • take photos of your injuries if possible and always keep the product that caused your injury.

What is duty of care?

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..

When does a product have a safety defect?

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 marks, including instructions for or warnings about assembling and using the product
  • what might reasonably be expected to be done with the product
  • 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.

Who may be liable for supplying a product with a safety defect?

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
  • presents itself to the public as the manufacturer of the product
  • 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.

No win, no fee*

Our consumer protection lawyers are experienced in winning fair compensation for our clients on a no win, no fee basis.

Our fees and agreements

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