Refunds, Repairs or Replacements and Australian Consumer Law

There are a lot of huge sales coming up towards the end of 2022 with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the lead up to Christmas and Boxing Day.

Many stores will temporarily amend their refund/return policies to accommodate the influx of gift purchases usually by extending return periods or their change of mind policy.

Regardless of a store’s policy for returns and refunds, they can never contravene Australian Consumer Law.

Whether you’re a consumer or business owner, are you familiar with Australian Consumer Law when it comes to returns or refunds?

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission website (ACCC) is a great resource for this information. The following is from their website:

Businesses can’t take away a consumer’s right to a refund or replacement for faulty products or services. Store policies that claim in their terms and conditions “no refunds” or “no refunds or exchanges on sale items” are illegal if they deny a consumer’s rights when it comes to faulty products or services.

Generally you’re not entitled to a refund, repair or replacement under consumer guarantees for:

🛍Change of mind*

🛍Finding the product cheaper elsewhere

🛍Issues with the product caused by the consumer misusing it

🛍Being made aware of any issues with the product before purchase

🛍The problem with a service being caused by someone else other than the business

*If a business has their own ‘change of mind’ policy they must follow this.

When a business sells a product or service that doesn’t meet basic rights, known as consumer guarantees, it must offer the consumer a solution. Consumers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund if a product or service they buy doesn’t meet consumer guarantees.

A factor that determines the best course of action is if it’s a major or minor problem with the product or service.

MAJOR PROBLEMS

Consumers can choose between a refund or replacement when a product has a major problem.

Consumers have a right to alter the agreement with a service provider when a service has a major problem.

A major problem can include something that is unsafe or very different to the description or sample (head to the ACCC website for more information, link at bottom)

MINOR PROBLEMS

Businesses must fix minor problems with products or services by at least giving a free repair.

The business does not have to offer a replacement or refund for a minor problem, although it can choose to do this.

Businesses are responsible for resolving problems with products they sell to consumers and they can’t tell consumers to go to the manufacturer for a solution.

Head to the ACCC’s website here for comprehensive information on refunds, replacements or returns under Australian Consumer Law.

This article does not constitute legal advice and is general in nature. If you need legal advice specific to your situation, contact our friendly team on hello@littonlegal.com.au or by heading to our contact page here.