Consumer Affairs Victoria began reviewing carpet and curtain contracts in late 2005 following an increase inthe number of consumer complaints.
We asked representatives from Carpet Call, Kresta, Vista, Spotlight, Carpet Choice and Dollar Curtains & Blinds to provide copies of their consumer contracts. We analysed these contracts, identified possible unfair contract terms and held discussions with company representatives in a bid to have the unfair terms changed or removed.
Carpet Choice, Spotlight and Dollar Curtains and Blinds implemented revised consumer contracts.
Suppliers should ensure their contracts do not contain any of the following unfaircontract terms, which Consumer Affairs Victoria considers unfair. These are terms that:
Examples of unfair terms in carpet and curtain contracts
Terms that contradict or do not allow for consumers’ statutory rights in relation to implied warranties
“Whilst manufacturers make every to match dye lots, the customer acknowledges that colour shades may vary from the samples shown.”
“Colour and weaves may vary slightly from samples.”
“The sample that you have been shown represents a species not a colour. Colour variations within the panel, and from panel to panel can be extreme. Timber is likely to change colour quite dramatically when exposed to UV light. The panel you have viewed may appear different from the timber in the pack.”
“Some cut pile carpets may exhibit an appearance change of random light and dark areas after installation. This is known as shading, tracking, pile reversal or watermarking and is caused by movement of the carpet fibres in different directions as the result of normal use. The customer acknowledges that this does not indicate the floor coverings are defective.”
Terms that limit the performance obligations of the supplier
“Every effort is made to complete the contract in the estimated time, however no responsibility can be taken for delays by manufacturers beyond our control."
“Supply of goods is subject to product availability. From time to time these approximate delivery times may be greater than stated due to supply and/or demand. X can not be held responsible for increases in delivery times due to external suppliers not providing goods on time or if materials are out of stock.”
“We will make every effort to complete the work on time but we cannot be held responsible for delays due to circumstances beyond our control. In this case, we will complete the work as soon as reasonably possible.
Terms that require the consumer to pay in full before completion of the contract
“A deposit of 1/3 upon order is required, the balance to be paid when collecting goods from the store or before installation or otherwise agreed to by X.”
“50% deposit to be paid before work can commence. Payment of the balance is due and payable upon notification by X that the window coverings are available for installation. Title for these goods will not pass to the purchaser until full payment has been received.”
“A deposit of one-third upon order is required, the balance to be paid when collecting goods from the store or before installation or otherwise agreed to by X.”
“If the Customer defaults in payment by the due date then all money becomes immediately due and payable and the Company may, without prejudice to any other remedy available to it:
(a) charge the Customer interest at the rate of 1.5% per month until the date of payment in ful
(b) charge the Customer for all costs and expenses resulting from the default
(c) cease or suspend supply of any further goods or services to the Customer
(d) by notice in writing to the Customer, terminate any contract with the Customer so far as unperformed by the Company.”
“Once the order has entered production, it cannot be cancelled.”
"In the event that the retailer is unable to supply part of the order and the retailer accepts cancellation of the part, cancellation applies to such part only.”
Last updated: 12/04/2013