Victoria’s shoppers are being urged to know their rights to a return or refund as the post-Christmas retail rush nears, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jane Garrett said today.
Ms Garrett said online shoppers buying from Australian businesses had the same consumer rights as over-the-counter buyers.
But it can be more difficult getting a return or refund from overseas websites, she warned.
More people call Consumer Affairs Victoria about product quality than any other issue.
The top five shopping-related phone calls from Victorians in 2013-14 were:
• Quality - 14,604
• Rights and responsibilities - 13,574
• Disputed or unreasonable charges - 5401
• Misrepresentations about goods or services - 4364
• Non-supply and partial supply of goods and services - 4131
Of the inquiries about product quality, 6486 related to major failures and defects in goods, with another 4343 about minor failures and defects. Refunds and returns accounted for 4016 of calls about rights and responsibilities to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Quotes attributable to Jane Garrett, Minister for Consumer Affairs
“If there is a problem with a sales item you bought, don’t hesitate returning it just because it was discounted. The Australian Consumer Law gives consumers refund rights on sale items just as it does on full-price products.”
“All your usual consumer rights apply when you shop with an Australian online business. Those rights may also apply when you buy from an overseas online business, although you might find it difficult to get a repair, replacement or refund because the business is not based in Australia.”
• Check the trader’s returns policy before you buy, especially for ‘change of mind’.
• Photograph your receipts and keep the originals in a safe place. Under the Australian Consumer Law, a business must issue a receipt for a purchase of $75 or more, but you can request one for a purchase of lesser value.
• If you’re buying online, check terms and conditions.
• Download Consumer Affairs Victoria’s free MyShopRights app for iPhone and Android, which includes a feature to photograph and store all your recepts.
• If you liked the gift but it was faulty, you are entitled to a repair; if it cannot be repaired, you are entitled to a refund or replacement.
Reviewed 19 August 2020