With the post-Christmas sales now in full swing, it’s important to remember your rights and obligations as a retailer, particularly when it comes to the return of goods.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, part of the Competition & Consumer Act 2010, consumers have a number of automatic rights when they buy goods and services, known as ‘consumer guarantees’. These consumer guarantees mean shoppers are entitled to certain remedies if there is a problem with what they’ve purchased.
If there is a major problem with a product, shoppers have the right to choose between a refund or a replacement. If it’s a minor problem, then the retailer can decide to either give the shopper a refund, offer them a replacement or repair faulty goods.
It doesn’t matter whether something is being offered at full price or at a discount – the same rules apply. So signs which say ‘No refunds on sale items’ wrongly suggest that shoppers can’t get a refund at all. Remember, it’s illegal for a retailer to do anything that leads consumers to believe their rights are limited, or do not apply.
Businesses also have rights under the Australian Consumer Law. The law makes it clear that retailers don’t have to provide a replacement or refund if a customer simply changes their mind or finds the product cheaper elsewhere. So it’s okay to display a sign which states ‘We do not provide refunds or replacements if you change your mind’.
The ACCC has produced printable refund and return signs to display on your premises which you can download here, or from the ACCC’s website, or by calling the ACCC Small Business Helpline 1300 302 021.
For further information, you can also work through the ‘Consumer rights and guarantees’ modules in the ACCC’s online education program for small business (www.ccaeducationprograms.org) or visit the ACCC website (www.accc.gov.au).
– Australian Retailers Association