Customers are entitled to automatic consumer guarantees for most goods and services they buy, hire or lease. Consumer guarantees include refunds, repairs and replacement of goods if a problem is identified.
Refunds and returns
If a problem has been identified with a good, businesses still operating must contact the manufacturer on behalf of the customer.
Customers may choose their resolution if the problem with the good or service is major
. These include:
- a refund of their money
- compensation when service levels have reduced
- repairs or replacement of goods
For minor problems with goods and services the business may provide free repairs rather than a refund or replacement of goods.
Customer returns even include:
- gifts (proof of purchase is still required)
- used items
- items that have had the packaging and tags removed
- worn items (including underwear, swimwear and jewellery)
- purchases from second-hand stores
- online purchases from Australian business (does not include private sellers)
Both businesses and customers need to consider how long ago the item was bought, the condition and the price of the product.
When you may refuse returns for goods
The automatic consumer guarantees do not cover all goods and services see 'Warranties and guarantees' section below for more details.
As a business you may refuse to accept returns when:
- the good was used incorrectly
- damage occurred after the item was bought
- faults were identified by the business and communicated prior to purchase
- the customer didn't find faults they should have seen when inspecting the good prior to purchasing
- customers change their minds - although as a sign of good will many businesses allow refunds or exchanges
Returning faulty goods
As a business you are allowed to request that you inspect the goods, this may mean the customer needs to send it back to you. Prior to them sending the goods back (where possible) advise of the (real) transport and inspection costs, these may need to be refunded and not charged respectively if the good is found to be faulty. If the good is found to have no faults, you do not need to refund the transport costs and you may charge your inspection fee.
Prior to commencing any repairs on electronic goods you must provide a written repair notice. This must say:
'The repair of your goods may result in the loss of any user-generated data. Please ensure that you have made a copy of any data saved on your goods.'
If using secondhand parts when repairing the notice must include:
'Goods presented for repair may be replaced by refurbished goods of the same type rather than being repaired. Refurbished parts may be used to repair the goods.'