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End of financial year sales don’t signal the end of your consumer rights

23 June 2017

Although grabbing a bargain may be the first step to a successful end of financial year (EOFY) sale, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) suggests knowing your consumer rights is a close second.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said it was illegal for retailers to display signs that say ‘no refunds’ or ‘no refunds on sale items’.

“Any purchase made by a consumer, regardless of whether or not it is on sale, must be safe and fit for purpose, match the description provided and have no defects,” Mr Bauer said.

“If a consumer makes a purchase where these requirements aren’t met, they are entitled to their choice of a refund, repair or replacement.

“Consumers aren’t however automatically entitled to a refund if they simply change their mind, though some retailers might offer one anyway. These stores are going above and beyond for their customers, so if a ‘no questions asked’ refund policy is important to you, you should check the trader’s refund policy before you buy.”

Although some Queenslanders may believe their consumers rights only exist for in-store purchases, Mr Bauer reminded them they had the same rights when shopping online.

“Consumers have the same rights, regardless of whether a purchase is made in-store or from the comfort of their own home,” he said.

“Despite the convenience of online shopping, it’s important for consumers to take the extra time to read the return policy, delivery information and terms and conditions.”

The OFT suggests the following tips for consumers who shop online during the EOFY sales:

  • Buy from websites you know and trust. Be wary of online businesses who don’t provide both a physical street address and landline phone number.
  • Remember, it is illegal to ship certain products into Australia, such as baby dummies with unsafe decorations and sky lanterns. Go to www.productsafety.gov.au if you’re not sure whether a product you want to purchase is banned.
  • Doing a quick Google search before buying may help you determine whether an online business is legitimate.
  • Are you aware of the full cost of your purchase? If you are purchasing from an overseas seller you may be charged for currency conversion, taxes, packaging, and postage and delivery fees.
  • You should always read and understand the terms and conditions of sale, the refund policy and the delivery details before paying.
  • If you make a purchase from an overseas seller you might have trouble getting a refund or repair if required.
  • If you paid by credit card, you may be able to apply to your bank for a chargeback if something goes wrong. Some third party payment services such as PayPal may also be able to assist.
  • Avoid making online purchases if the website isn’t secure. Secure websites will begin with ‘https://’ and display an image of a closed padlock.

For more information about your consumer rights and obligations, or to lodge a complaint about a business or seller, go to www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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Last updated
23 June 2017
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