Coffee maker brews up strife

Consumers of any goods or services have certain guarantees by The Consumer Guarantee Act which protects them should something go wrong, as Farmer Freddy discovers.

<p>Farmer Freddy has returned from his journey in the Greek Islands.  On Freddy's first morning back home, Pebbles is woken by an early phone call from him.</p>
<p>"Dad," says Pebbles, still half asleep. "What going on?"</p>
<p>"Come on Pebbles, its 5.30am" replies Freddy.  "It's time you were up.  I've got a crisis at the farm!"</p>
<p>"What's happened Dad?" Pebbles asks, concerned.</p>
<p>"Well, you know how the milking shed was done up while I was away," Freddy begins. "I put a flash coffee machine into the office in the milking shed and ..."</p>
<p>"A coffee machine!" explodes Pebbles.  "You've woken me at 5.30 to talk to me about a coffee machine!  How many farmers have a coffee machine in the shed anyway?"</p>
<p>"Come on, Pebbles," says Freddy.  "Be reasonable. Move with the times - you know I like my coffee. Anyway," he continues, the panic mounting in his voice, "the machine doesn't work!  I've even read the manual and followed all the instructions and it still doesn't work. What should I do?"</p>
<p>"Don't panic," says Pebbles.  "There should be warranties in the contract between you and the supplier.  Even if not, you may have remedies under the Consumer Guarantees Act.  That act sets out certain guarantees that apply when a supplier supplies goods or services to a consumer.  One of those guarantees is that the goods are of acceptable quality."</p>
<p>"Suppliers can only exclude the application of the act," says Pebbles, "if the goods are supplied for the purposes of a business or if the buyer tells the supplier that the goods are for the purpose of a business. Lots of suppliers, in their standard terms, exclude the application of the act if the goods are bought for business purposes."</p>
<p>"Ah, so the fact that I'm treating it as a business expense might be a bit of a problem then?" Freddy suggests.</p>
<p>"Well, Dad," says Pebbles, getting rather annoyed, "you need to discuss the tax issues with your accountant. But in terms of the Consumer Guarantees Act the Courts might look at whether you are purchasing it for both personal and business use, and if so, what the dominant purpose is. Did you tell the supplier you were buying it for the business?"</p>
<p>"No," says Freddy, "and they didn't ask. Maybe I should check the back of the invoice."</p>
<p>"Even if the act doesn't apply Dad," Pebbles continues, "you may have remedies under the Fair Trading Act.  That act prevents people from engaging in conduct, in trade, that is misleading or deceptive or likely to be misleading or deceptive. You'd need to look at what statements the supplier made about the coffee machine when you bought it."</p>
<p>"Thanks Pebbles, you've been very helpful," says Freddy. "Just one more thing, I haven't had my daily coffee - you couldn't possibly get me a takeaway and run it out from town before work could you?"</p>
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<h5>The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.</h5>
<h5>If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb &amp; McEwen adviser.</h5>
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