Consumer Rights – Refunds and Repairs
There are many misnomers about consumer rights, and one of the biggest causes of complaints and disputes in the retail sector is refunds. As a consumer, it is important to know when you are entitled to a refund or repair of your product, and what your responsibilities are as a consumer.
Change of Mind
If you simply change your mind, found the product cheaper somewhere else or decided that you had no use for the product you are unfortunately not entitled to a refund or exchange.
If your product has a minor repairable fault, the retailer must offer to fix the product for you free of charge. Under the consumer laws, you must accept an offer to repair your product.
In circumstances where the business fails to repair your product, this will give rise to additional rights including the right to ask for a replacement product or a refund.
Every product is covered by inherent guarantees. These guarantees include that your product or service is safe, is of acceptable quality, is accurately described and is fit for its purpose.
If the product does not meet these requirements, it will be considered a major fault and will entitle the consumer to a replacement or refund.
It is important to note that these guarantees are independent of the warranty period, although a refund may be adjusted to reflect the age or use of a product.
As a consumer you are responsible for the return of the product, unless the cost of doing so is significant. A retailer cannot reasonably expect you to personally hire a truck to return a bed for example, or to uninstall a swimming pool. Contrary to popular belief, a product does not have to delivered in its original packaging.
Consumer laws were created to promote competition and fair trade and to protect the interests and safety of consumers. They operate to strike a balance between consumer rights and business interests, and give rise to obligations for both parties to resolve disputes.
The ACCC website, www.accc.gov.au contains clear and concise information for consumers and business owners and is worth taking a look.