In the lead up to Christmas the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has
produced a media release advising consumers to be aware of their
rights during this busy shopping period.
In particular the ACCC warns consumers of the pitfalls of online
shopping scams, ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, providing the
following advice to ensure a positive online shopping
"Online shopping can bring consumers many benefits such as
wider choice, savings in time, and potentially savings in costs as
well. But it can also be confusing as consumers navigate unfamiliar
selling platforms such as online auctions, figure out which reviews
to trust, and try to pay securely.
All of your usual rights and obligations under the Australian
Consumer Law ("ACL") apply when you shop
with an Australian online business, including your right to a
repair, replacement or refund. These rights may also apply when you
buy from an overseas online business however you may experience
difficulties enforcing them."
The ACCC also offers the following tips for consumers who shop
Research and shop around – have you compared products and
prices for sale on other sites? Do you know the total price
including delivery charges? How long will it take to receive your
purchase? Do they provide FAQs and other tips on safety
requirements or other purchase issues?
Know who you are dealing with – is the business trusted
and reliable? What do other consumers say about the business or the
product/service? Does the business provide legitimate contact
Make sure you choose what's right for you – price
alone should not be the driving factor in making a decision about
which business to buy from. There are many factors to keep in mind
– is the quality ok? Does it meet Australian standards? How
easy will it be to return if something goes wrong? What's the
business' customer service like?
Keep your personal details private and secure – does the
payment methods such as a credit card or similar secure method
– when you go to make a purchase, does the web address start
with 'https' and can you see a closed padlock symbol? If
the only way to pay for something is via money order or wire
transfer, think twice as there is a chance that you are being
If a problem arises – how easy will it be to right a
wrong? What do you have to do to return the product if it's
unsafe, doesn't meet its intended purpose or is not what you
expected? Does the business have a good complaints resolution
process in place?
For those who have not opted to shop online, a handy tool to
help guarantee refunds and returns over Christmas is the ACCC's
free "ACCC Shopper app" compatible with Apple and Android
smart phones and tablets. The app provides consumers with instant
advice while shopping, answering commonly asked questions about
refunds, returns, warranties, and lay-buys, such as 'what do I
do if a product is faulty?' and 'what happens if I
don't have a receipt?'
The app allows consumers to store photographs of receipts as
proof of purchase at the point of sale. Ms Rickard said that the
app "will help to take the worry out of Christmas
shopping" with "simple disputes over returns, refunds or
replacements often leaving shoppers confused about their
The ACL provides strong protection against faulty products
outside of any 'warranty period' provided by a retailer and
the app provides simple advice on those consumer rights.
Retailers should also take extra care to ensure that they are
abiding by their obligations under the ACL.
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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