Advice on Rights for a Customer
Rajesh has recently returned from a shopping trip to a large retail store “Best Bargain Buys” (BBB) where he had bought a colour laser printer for his personal use at home. As a second-year Murdoch University student, Rajesh has found that it is essential for him to have printing facilities at home, so that he can print his lecture slides and other University materials. He also needs to ensure that he can print in colour in order to make sense of the coloured diagrams and charts that form part of his lecturers’ slides. He was therefore very pleased to find in the store a suitable colour laser printer for $340.00.
On his way to the check-out desk, he stopped a salesperson and asked for his help in finding the correct colour toner cartridge that would be suitable for his particular colour laser printer model, telling him he specifically wanted to be able to print in colour.
The salesperson, who was just about to assist another customer, quickly took him to the appropriate aisle where the printer cartridges were displayed, grabbed one and gave it to Rajesh, saying “Here Mate – last one left – lucky you, and it’s only $70.00”, before rushing off to deal with the other customer, hoping to secure a sale. Rajesh then made his way to the check-out desk where he paid for his two purchases.
On arriving at home, Rajesh was keen to try out his new printer. After connecting it and installing the toner cartridge, he began printing some lecture slides. To his dismay, however, after only 10 pages had printed, the printer jammed. He fixed the jam and set the printer in motion again, however this time, only 5 pages printed before it jammed again. He tried one more time before the printer stopped working altogether.
Rajesh noticed that the colour illustrations on those pages had not been printed in colour. They were black and white only. On closer inspection of the cartridge he had bought, Rajesh saw that the salesperson had in fact handed to him a single black toner cartridge instead of the colour one that he had said he needed for his colour printer.
Rajesh was very frustrated with this outcome and returned immediately to the store where he asked the sales representative at the front desk for a full refund of both items.
Regarding the printer, the sales representative assisting him told him that because the store only supplied the printers to customers, and did not actually make them, Rajesh would need to contact the manufacturer directly if he wanted a full refund.
Regarding the cartridge, the sales representative also refused to give Rajesh his money back saying that before Rajesh bought the cartridge, he should have read the description on the packaging himself which correctly described the contents and was clearly visible.
Rajesh comes to you for advice on what his rights are. With reference to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), advise Rajesh.
Examination & analysis of information: 5 marks
Direct-Buy Ltd is a nationally known Australian company that distributes household products direct to the public through catalogues. It has been selling a dishwashing liquid called ‘Kleen-up’, promoting it as a ‘Fantastic new product. Your dishes will love it!’
‘Kleen-up’ is imported by Direct-Buy Ltd, from the manufacturer in Bolivia.
A customer, Mrs Jones, saw the Direct-Buy catalogue and bought a bottle of ‘Kleen-up’. Mrs Jones’ house help, Mrs Wotts, developed a severe skin rash on the palms of her hands after using the product.
Does Mrs Wotts have an action(s) for compensation for her injuries under the ACL against either/both Direct-Buy or the manufacturer in Bolivia?
Thomas works for a chemical engineering company called Smart Solutions Pty Ltd (SS). Management asks him to develop some new product lines and after some experimentation, Thomas presents one of his inventions.
Thomas invents an implantable solar powered dialysis unit, which assists people suffering from kidney disease by the removal of toxic waste matter from the body. Nothing like this exists in the world, and the invention will be of enormous benefit to all those suffering from kidney failure, allowing them to live productive lives instead of having to spend hours hooked up to dialysis machines in hospitals. Thomas wants to make sure that it operates effectively and so spends 18 months testing it in various trials with a number of different patients from different hospitals to make sure that it works safely and reliably as he intends it to. Due to its successful operation during these trials, the patent lawyer at SS applies for patent protection of this potentially very lucrative and useful device on behalf of the company, giving full details of how to create the device.
Discuss the requirements of the Patents Act 1990, and explain whether or not the Patents office would be likely to grant a patent. If the patent is successfully applied for, who would own it?