Consumer Rights, Compensation, Refunds & the Australian Consumer Law

Good day Phil,
Sorry for the delay but I was tied up with family matters. Yes Sir, it is Brilliant Lighting. How did you know? To be exact: brilliant lighting ceiling oyster 32w t5 avebury
Do you know something about this brand/importer?

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Looking at the installation instructions, the fitting contains a fluorescent light starter/ballast. From your description above, it sounds like this starter/ballast has failed.

A starter/ballast, potentially can last more than 6 years as they very good ones can have a maximum life up to 50,000 switch cycles (if one say switches the light on 10 times per day, and the ballast is rated as 50,000 switch cycles then the ballast should last about 12 years). If one switches more and has a lower rated ballast, the 6 years may be a good life. If one switches less and the ballast is rated at up to 50,000 cycles, then one could expect more than 12 years. Some ballasts last considerably less.

The crunch for getting resolution under the ACL will be determining if the ballast is the issue, what it is rated as (number of switch cycles), how the light has been used (number of times it has been turned on and off) and whether the use is reasonable compared to the expected life of the ballast. If the use matches the rating of the ballast, then the ballast could be seen as being at end of life and needs replacement - something a reasonable person would expect. If the use has been very low (which can be difficult to prove), then a reasonable person could then assume that the ballast failed earlier than should have otherwise been the case.

The challenge will be proving that the light should have lasted longer. Other factors such as the location the light has been installed (noting that Brilliant Lighting indicates that this particular light is not suitable for outdoor use), whether overvoltage occurs (due to solar installation or local network issues) etc can all affect the life of a bulb and ballast/starter.

It is worth noting that fluoro ballasts are a replaceable item and usually cost in the range of $10-20. These however need to be replaced by a electrician.

If you decide to pursue under the ACL, a favourable outcome is uncertain, but keep us in the loop of how you go.

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Phb, thanks for the reply. I will read it in detail later on as I am enroute to a meeting.
To recap there were two issues: 1 x light fitting that does not work and 1 x plastic cover (on another fitting that cannot be held in place). Both fittings are identical brand/model
The fitting that does not work is in a hallway and is not used as often as other fittings in the apartment.
I asked for replacement plus the cost to install the replacements, which of course means removing the lemons from my ceiling and positioning the new fittings. Hence even if I was offered new fittings, I would be up for the electrician’s fees.
FYI, Bunnings replied after receiving answers from Brilliant: "We have received information from Brilliant lighting, the supplier of the product, who have advised that ‘The product in question is a T5 circular luminaire. From the descriptions provided it seems that after 6 years of unspecified use and switching, the T5 ballast has failed. This has easily surpassed the 2-year warranty period provided and it is not uncommon for an electronic product to have internal components degrade over time.’

With regards to failing clips, Brilliant Lighting are unable to provide replacement clips as they no longer supply this product and do not hold spares.

Whilst we are sorry to hear of this incident, as the incident occurred almost four years after the expected warranty period ended"

phb and PhilT: How does the above feedback from Bunnings and Brilliant influence your views?

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Thanks for the post. I will consider that idea.

This is the subject of my previous email and the ballast may seen to be seen as having a reasonable life. Hopefully this ballast can be replaced as they are relatively inexpensive parts…the electrician costs will be more.

If it is the ballast, it is unlikely that you will succeed under the ACL as it is possibly within the life expectancy of the ballast. Any brand of light will have a ballast with a lifespan…many could be similar to those used by Brilliant.

Asking for full replacement and electrician fees reimbursement therefore would be seen as unreasonable in the case of that light.

This is also difficult to determine. If the clips broke because of a design fault or because they were defective, then you may have an avenue under the ACL.

If they accidentally broke when replacing the bulb, then it will be hard to prove that the clips broke because they were defective or through what may be considered misuse under the ACL. Misuse being that excessive force caused the clips to break.

It is a difficult one…

It may be worth considering the offer for $50 and replacing the light fitting with a different one which is a lot more robust.

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Phb, the claim by Brilliant that it is the ballast is their guess. Nobody from Bunnings or Brillaint bothered to inspect the item, as I was led to believe would happen when I first raised the issue. As to a life of 6 years, are you saying that there is an expectation that all my fittings should be replaced in such a short time if they all gave up so soon? If so, should the packaging of the product not make this clear? From memory what was clear on the packaging was that the bulb would last thousands of hours.

Also given an electrician would be needed, is it economical in the long run to just replace the ballast or to replace the fitting entirely?

I do not recall the circular fluorescent bulb being replaced, so it is more likely than not that the levers on the plastic cover were hardly if ever touched. That would negate the allegation of “misuse”. No?

I agree it is difficult one.
What about the fact that given my experience of purchases in 2014 and 2019 are surely not unique, did Bunnings knowingly sell lemons when they were selling these products?

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I bought a Brilliant Lighting outdoor motion detecting LED 2 years ago. It looked shiny and nice for about 6 months but the finish deteriorated quickly thereafter. The warranty period on the outside of the box was 2 years, the paper on the inside of the box said 1. The importer was not helpful explaining but Bunnings advised to keep the box just in case. I kept a photo.

Other than the finish having worn down to base plastic on the sensor it has worked fine so far. I personally categorise BL as lower end Chinese product because of the cheap finish (it is an outdoor product!) and the lack of attention and consistency of the ‘paperwork’ end-to-end complemented by the importer who was as unimpressive for my simple query as they were for your problem.

I suggest whatever your outcome, since you need to get a sparky have a power point installed for the light(s) so in future you can DIY.

LEDs are commonly sold by hours, but reality is the electronics that drive them usually last much shorter periods. As @phb indicated the on-off cycles are important as they have their own design life, and QA seems all but random. I have many LED downlights (AC-DC plugin replacements for the old 50w halogens) There were lots of failures in the first 2 years and then all settled down. Lots of on-off cycles so the ‘weak ones’ perished quickly.


We have two Brilliant GU10 spotlight fixtures. They are made to a price point and agree are lower end products…made to possibly satisfy zest for cheap products. We select the Brilliant products as there weren’t any similar ones available to meet the size constraints of their mounting location.

Being lower end (cheap) makes them difficult to argue they should have a long life.


It certainly is.
The lights are both 32 watt circular fluorescent tube type. They are becoming less common.

We made a decision that when we were needing to have electrical work done it was more cost effective to do as many work items as possible with the one call.

The lowest cost solution for you may be to purchase one new Oyster light of what ever style and type you choose. When the electrician arrives have the Oyster light with the damaged clips replaced with the new. The non working light should be repairable, whether the ballast or wall switch or something else.

For a little extra cost it would be possible to replace both. We’ve converted to all LED, and tried to avoid fittings that use built in or fixed LEDs. The exceptions are sealed down lights which have standard 230/240V plugs.


Mark, I agree that it may be more cost effective to replace both light fittings. They are both oysters and I wish to replace them with oysters. Clearly I need to focus on the type of fitting which will prove to be the most economical to repair/ replace.

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I would look at the LED oyster lights with replaceable bulbs…these will come in either cool white or warm white light tone. A good quality LED light should last many years…even possibly a decade or two and are far cheaper to run that fluorescent or traditional incandescent/halogen lights.

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We moved away from oyster lights to a combination of LED down lights and pendant/hanging style lights (standard LED bulbs) for inside. The verandahs have coach lights (standard LED globes) and Weatherproof LED mini flood lights.

The down lights have standard mains wall plugs and are owner replaceable. It’s important to ensure the sparky doing the first install does not cut the plugs off, or you will need them back if they ever need replacing. They are available in a choice of colour temperatures and styles. Some have screw mounts and others spring clips. The last batch we changed were under $50 each from one of the electrical wholesalers.

Most of our LED lights and bulbs are now 6 years old. I’ve only needed to replace the bulb in the WC recently (it’s left on all night, 20,000+ hrs) and two bulbs in an enclosed set of suspended lamps over the kitchen bench in all that time. I suspect these enclosed fittings were not intended for LED globes. I’m trying a different brand now, although we did get 5 years life out of them (7,000 hrs est). We’ve approx 36 LED lights all up. None of the fittings with built in/fixed LEDs have failed.

Thanks Mark. I will study your detailed email.

Breaking News: after getting quite frustrated that my reliable electrician cannot attend to replacing two fittings in the near future, not to mention I need to find the time to study ALL your valuable replies in detail (advising what fittings/bulbs to buy) prior to making the purchase of the replacements (and of course there are other goings on in my life), I decided not to go to NCAT to seek relief under the ACL inter alia for the reasons phb articulated, but instead to approach the ACCC with my file on the matter.

(As for NCAT, I am busy enough considering NCAT for a strata matter).

But before approaching the ACCC, I wanted to remind Bunnings, who as mentioned earlier offered me $50 as a goodwill gesture - to cover my cost of $250 for 2 fittings plus labour - after the importer, Brilliant Lighting told me to take a hike. As has been pointed out here and I agree, it is unlikely that I would obtain the full $250 from Bunnings. So I told Bunnings that while I acknowledge the offer of $50, that quantum is a paltry sum and asked for $150 in order for me to shut the gate on the matter. Today they agreed to refund me $150. Amen to that. As Bunnings agreed to $150 as a gesture of their goodwill, I will return to Bunnings to purchase the replacement fittings, as an expression of my confidence in the company.
Needless to say, at this time I will not prepare an investigative report for the ACCC on this experience.


Hi @Gabbymac LG doesn’t do itself any favours by making it so difficult to get warranty support for its products. I’m in the process of selecting a new dishwasher - and I’m after a relatively high-end unit so willing to spend more. One of the LG products was rated highly by Choice and appears to be a good unit. I vaguely remembered having a bad LG warranty experience around 20 years ago so searched for information on other people’s reviews on LG’s after-sales/warranty support. LG Australia seems to have a parlous reputation for failing to honour its warranty and having protracted delays in responding to consumer complaints. That makes me very wary of the LG brand for household products, despite the fact that their product seems to make a very good value proposition.

There are a number of aspects to be aware of:

  • some companies have inferior warranty service to maintain low prices
  • some companies have excellent products that are reliable, so warranty service is not ‘exercised’ and is fraught with bad service because it is essentially an exception not a rule so their systems are neither ‘polished’ nor responsive
  • some high price companies tout quality but do not provide any better, and sometimes worse, service or parts supplies than the ‘popular priced market leaders’. Search the community for ‘Asko’ as one example. Similarly check for other ‘high end’ brands here as well as on productreview, noting the latter posts are anecdotal and unhappy customers are more likely to post there than happy ones.

If you buy a value proposition LG and it fails you are way ahead of buying a high end ‘built for 20 years’ Asko that fails, no parts available, after 12 at double or more the price. If you had to replace the LG (or any highly ranked ‘popular priced value leader’) at say 10 you would also have the latest technology not a repaired old model. Also consider what you might do with the money saved on the initial purchase. You could bank it just in case, or ?

Some will be more concerned with sending the old one to the tip and would prefer to repair forever or as long as it could be made to limp along, but economics and the march of newer models matters more to others.

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Have you looked at Bosch?

Their products and service are both great.

I posted a comprehensive review of our new Bosch on the Choice website if you are a subscriber.

Other aspects are:

  • some are not geared up all that well to deal with warranty claims…as the Australian Consumer Law points consumers towards the retailer rather than the manufacturer/distributer for resolving any product issues.
  • Some experiences from the same company (retailer/manufacturer/distributer) can be very positive experience for some consumers, while the same contact point for others provides a negative experience. Positive and negative experiences can be driven by expectations of the consumer, the nature and response of the representative contacted, whether a resolution is initially offered and whether contact is easy or difficult.

A recent decision by VCAT is based on the tribunals reference to a ‘windfall’. The tribunal sided with the supplier, in this instance Qantas. :roll_eyes:

Does the same legal principle apply when any retailer/staff puts an incorrect (lower) price on a product or undercharges for a service?

VCAT said re Qantas,

This is not a situation where the respondent offered a benefit or service and failed to supply it. It was a windfall. As such the applicable law is that which applies to a benefit obtained in error or through a mistake. The mistake vitiates any intention on the part of Qantas to give the benefit to the applicant, and gives Qantas a prima facie entitlement to restitution.[1]

There are occasional anecdotes about customers sweeping up what appear to be bargains that are likely store errors. Is a consumer legally entitled to pay only the price for chuck steak if that’s what the tray of score 12 Wagyu has been labelled as? I’ve yet to see something so significant, or $200/kg steak in the Woolies meat section.