After many, many gifts were given and received yesterday, Choice is reminding consumers that they are protected by Australian law, and faulty products can be returned — even if they're digital.
The independent magazine wants everyone who may have given or received a gift that doesn't work as it's supposed to, to know they aren't stuck with it. Whether that's a "minor failure", like a piece of clothing not working or an easily fixed mechanical fault, or a "major failure", such as a piece of software that just plain doesn't work, or a chair that falls apart as soon as you sit on it:
If it’s a ‘major failure’, you can choose whether you receive a refund, replacement or the product is repaired. A ‘major failure’ includes being unsafe, doesn’t do the job it is supposed to do, different from the description or you wouldn’t have bought it if you knew about the problem. If the product has a minor problem and can be fixed reasonably quickly, then the retailer can decide whether to fix the problem, give you a refund or replace the product.
It points out that any "No Refunds" signs you may have seen in stores are illegal and should be ignored.
When returning gifts, Choice has the following tips:
- You don’t need the original packaging but you do need proof of purchase, such as a receipt, credit card statement or swing tag. Take the product back to the store or return it to the online retailer as soon as possible.
- If the item you purchased from an online website is faulty, the on-line retailer should pay for the cost of posting the item back.
- If you received a gift that was faulty you can ask for the refund in cash even if the person who bought the gift purchased it by credit card – you don’t have to accept a store voucher just because someone else paid for it on their card.
- Don’t let the store brush you off by saying you have to deal with the manufacturer – the store where you bought the item must sort the problem out for you.
- Check the store’s refund or exchange policy before you buy the item. Some larger stores may give you a credit note or offer an exchange even if you change your mind.
- If you think you are entitled to a refund but the retailer still refuses to give you one, contact the Office of Fair Trading in your state or territory.
For more information and to keep up to date, visit the Choice website.