Suppliers of Goods and the Act

For Retailers
This is a guide to the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) for retail traders supplying consumer goods. It sets out the guarantees under the Act that apply to goods and the rights and remedies available to consumers if those guarantees are breached.

CGA Guarantees for Goods

  • Goods will be of acceptable quality.
  • Goods will be fit for any particular purpose.
  • Goods must be the same as any description given to the customer.
  • Goods must be the same as any sample or demonstration model shown to the customer.
  • Goods can be legally sold ( the seller has the right to sell the goods and there are no undisclosed securities).
  • Goods will cost the consumer a reasonable price if no agreement has been made about the price.
  • Manufacturers and importers of goods must guarantee that repairs and spare parts are available for a reasonable time.
From 8 July 2003, the Consumer Guarantees Act applies to:
  • Electricity.
  • Gas.
  • Water.
  • Computer software.

This means that from 8 July 2003 you must meet the guarantees contained in the Consumer Guarantees Act when you supply those goods to consumers.

Acceptable quality

The Act says goods are of acceptable quality when the goods:

  • Do what they are made to do.
  • Are fit for all the purposes that the goods are normally used for.
  • Do not have any small faults.
  • Are acceptable in appearance and finish.
  • Are safe to use.
  • Are durable.

The test for each of these points is: Would a reasonable consumer, who is fully aware of the state of the goods including any hidden defects, find the goods acceptable?

When are Goods not of Acceptable Quality?

  • A reasonable consumer would NOT consider these goods to be of acceptable quality.
  • A new toaster has a faulty element and toasts only one side of the bread. It does not do what it is made to do.
  • An on/off light on a new CD player doesn't work. This is a minor fault but not acceptable quality for a new appliance.
  • A shirt has a mark on the back. It is unacceptable in appearance.
  • The locking mechanism on a baby stroller slips when the child wriggles about in the parked stroller. The stroller is not safe.
  • The motor in a new washing machine burns out after two years normal use. A reasonable consumer would consider this was not acceptable durability for a new appliance.
  • Computer software with a "bug" in it that continually causes the consumer’s computer to crash.
  • Electricity supply that is cut off to a street, so that work can be done on the lines, and no advance warning is given to consumers.
  • Water that is murky and tastes bad, because the water supplier failed to use skill and care when maintaining the pipes.