As a consumer, we should all be aware of our rights when it comes to returns and refunds. The Australian Consumer Law or ACL protects Australian consumers by putting out a number of laws for retailers and salespeople to follow. The ACL penalises retailers that do not abide by these rules, so you can make sure that these laws got you covered.
The Australian Consumer’s Rights
1. This might be basic knowledge, but we will mention it anyway. If you bought something and you realize that it does not work the way it’s supposed to, you can definitely have it refunded or exchanged. The same applies to online shopping - once it arrives on your doorstep and you find that it has been tampered or the condition of the item is not usable and of unacceptable quality, then you can definitely have it replaced. There’s an exception to this rule though - if you want to have the item/s exchanged or refunded just because you’ve had a change of heart, then that is not possible. You simply have to have a valid reason to have your item/s changed or replaced.
2. If the item is irreparable, then you have the right to demand a replacement or a refund.
3. Ask the retailer if the replacement is totally brand new and never been opened. If it has been opened or refurbished before, then you should ask for a warranty. You also have the right to decline or ask for a refund if you do not want to risk working with a secondhand replacement.
4. Beware of stores and retailers with signs that read “No Refunds”, “No Refunds on Sale Items”, or “Exchange or Credit Note Only for Return of Sale Items”, and the likes. This is a violation of the consumer law, and should be reported to the ACL ASAP.
5. Electronics should be considered as a high priority and must be repaired ASAP. Washing machines, fridges, mobile phones, and the likes must be attended to immediately. If they fail to repair it right away, then you have the right to demand for a replacement.
6. The receipt is not the only thing that you can use or present if you want to have your item/s replaced or refunded. If you’ve lost it (though we highly recommend keeping it), then you can present a credit card statement, a confirmation or receipt number, or a warranty card complete with the date, price, and place of purchase.
7. It is the retailer’s responsibility to fix or replace your damaged item/s.
For items with major faults, it is definitely the right of the consumer to demand an exchange of the exact same item or have it refunded. Major faults include:
1. The item that you have received is completely different from the description or demonstration that was shown to you
2. It is totally damaged and unusable
3. It is not safe to use Minor Faults Things such as loose thread or faint stain on a clothing item is considered as a minor fault. You can have the item/s replaced or exchanged with the same exact item, provided that you haven’t used it yet, or have bought it for the last couple of days. Item/s that has been purchased and kept for a long time cannot be exchanged or replaced anymore unless the retailer agrees to it.
For a more detailed guide on refunds and returns, you can contact the ACL by clicking here.