26 December 2011

Know Your Rights as a Consumer This Christmas

With Santa Claus having come and gone for another year, it is important for Australian consumers to know their rights when it comes to gifts received this Christmas, said Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

"Consumers who receive gifts this year, even those from Santa, have the same refund rights as customers who buy directly – but you must show proof of purchase.

"Consumers should be aware that they can have defective goods repaired, replaced or refunded under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL)", said Mr Bradbury.

"Under the ACL, consumers are entitled to a number of consumer guarantees when purchasing and receiving goods, including:

  • that goods will be of an acceptable quality;
  • that goods will be reasonably fit for any purpose that a supplier states they would be fit for; and
  • that the description of goods (for example, in a catalogue or television commercial) is accurate.

"Where there is a minor problem with the item, the seller must provide either a repair, replacement or refund. If the goods suffer from a major failure, the consumer is entitled to reject the goods and request a refund or replacement.

"A product will suffer from a major failure where the defect is so serious that the person buying the product wouldn't have done so if they'd known about it.

"The store selling the goods is responsible for complying with the consumer guarantees and consumers should not be caught between parties trying to shift responsibility. Consumers should remember to keep their receipts to prove where the goods were purchased. If you don't have the receipt, you can show other forms of evidence, such as a credit card statement.

"However, the consumer guarantees don't extend to situations where the person is not happy with the gift received or the person purchasing the good has simply changed their mind, and stores will be able to refuse a refund in those circumstances.

"If consumers encounter any problems when dealing with a business about their sale items, they should contact their State or Territory fair trading office, or contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502."

For more information visit www.consumerlaw.gov.au where you can download the Your Shopping Rights fact sheet.

26 December 2011