You have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund under the Australian Consumer Law consumer guarantees for products and services bought on or after 1 January 2011.
Replacement or refund
You can ask a business for your preference of a free replacement or refund, but you are not always entitled to one. For example, the consumer guarantees do not apply if you got what you asked for but simply changed your mind, found it cheaper somewhere else, decided you did not like the purchase or had no use for it.
Replacements and refunds
You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.
Replaced products must be of an identical type to the product originally supplied. Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.
The business may take into account how much time has passed since you bought the product considering the following factors:
- type of product
- how a consumer is likely to use the product
- the length of time for which it is reasonable for the product to be used
- the amount of use it could reasonably be expected to tolerate before the failure becomes noticeable.
What is a major problem?
A product or good has a major problem when:
- it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
- it is unsafe
- it is significantly different from the sample or description
- it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.
Returning the product
You are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem. You are generally responsible for returning the product if it can be posted or easily returned. You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem, so keep your receipts.
When a product is too large, too heavy or too difficult to remove, the business is responsible for paying the shipping costs or collecting the product within a reasonable time of being notified of the problem.
You do not have to return products in the original packaging in order to get a refund.
If the product is found not to have a problem, you may be required to pay the transport or inspection costs. An estimate of these costs should be provided to you before the product is collected, and the costs must not be inflated in an attempt to deter you from pursuing your claims.
Approaching the retailer or manufacturer
The retailer who sold you the product or service cannot refuse to help you by sending you to the manufacturer or importer. You can approach the manufacturer or importer directly, however, you will only be entitled to recover costs from them, which include an amount for reduction in the product’s value and in some cases compensation for damages or loss. You cannot demand a repair, replacement or refund from the manufacturer.
Your rights under the consumer guarantees do not have a specific expiry date and can apply even after any warranties you’ve got from a business have expired.