When you discover those gadgets you found under the Christmas
tree don't actually work, it's handy to know your rights
under Australian consumer law.
There are a lot of myths and horror stories about trying to
return malfunctioning goods – many of them put out by the
retailers trying to discourage you from even trying to get
The most notorious is the old retailer line 'Sorry, no
refunds' or 'You can't have your money back –
just store credit'.
Not true! You are legally entitled to a refund if the item you
bought is not of acceptable quality, doesn't do what it is
supposed to do, is unsafe, is significantly different to what you
were originally shown or you would not have bought it if you'd
known of its problems.
But don't think you can automatically get money back if your
Chrissie present is something you've already got, or you just
don't like it. You don't have a right to a refund if you
simply change your mind.
Myth: No refund on sales items. Not true! You
have the same refund rights on discount items as on full-priced
items. But you can't claim for faulty items the shop warned you
about such as stains or faulty stitching.
Myth: You need to buy an extended warranty.
The law requires a guarantee which may be just as good as extended
Myth: No refund without a receipt. If shoppers
have credit card records or warranty card showing date of purchase
it is enough under law.
Reality: You can return a faulty item even if
you've used it and removed the tags and labels.
Reality: Gift recipients have the same rights
as purchasers but also need proof of purchase.
Reality: It doesn't always matter if the
warranty has lapsed. Under the law you can expect a product to
function throughout its "reasonable" life.
Reality: When replacing a faulty item, the
retailer has to provide goods of the same type or value. If they
can't, consumers are entitled to a repair or refund.
Reality: You don't have to return an item
in its original packaging, but you will need proof you bought it at
Reality: Cooling-off periods only apply to
limited types of transactions including door-to-door sales and
telemarketing, land and property sales, some motor vehicle deals
where the dealer arranges finance. Always read documents you are
asked to sign – if you don't understand it, don't
Big Myth: The customer is always right. In
reality they can be wrong. It's far better to know your legal
rights as a consumer.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Sportscraft refunds and returns policy limitations went beyond consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
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