Service guarantees and consequential loss under the Australian Consumer Law: The illusion of uniformity
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The aim of the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is to 'create a single national consumer law' establishing a uniform set of rules across all jurisdictions in relation to consumer protection. There are, however, exceptions to this uniformity. Although the ACL is a national law, it comes into effect by the activation of separate jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and states and territories. The focus of this article is on one specific aspect of the ACL, namely, the consumer guarantees relating to the supply of services. Importantly, the ACL's uniformity is seriously undermined where there is a failure to comply with the guarantee that services are supplied with due care and skill, where such failure results in personal injury or property damage. Here, state and territory laws that determine liability for careless conduct and that establish relevant defences under the Civil Liability Acts continue to apply. Given that there are considerable differences between the jurisdictions, particularly in relation to the available defences, a uniform national approach therefore does not operate in this context.
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