Blitz on il­le­gal ‘no re­fund’ signs

Monthly Chronicle - - Local Politics -

The lo­cal shop that says ‘no’ to your re­quest for a re­fund is break­ing the law, ac­cord­ing to Hornsby MP and Min­is­ter for In­no­va­tion and Bet­ter Reg­u­la­tion Matt Kean.

Yet 20% of busi­nesses across the state vis­ited by in­spec­tors are do­ing just that, a re­cent blitz on il­le­gal ‘no re­fund’ signs found, when 12 con­sumer pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers vis­ited 561 re­tail­ers at 52 lo­ca­tions across NSW.

Re­tail­ers aren’t al­lowed to put up ‘no re­fund’ signs in their shops or print sim­i­lar messages on re­ceipts or in­voices un­der con­sumer laws, as the signs im­ply a re­fund isn’t pos­si­ble even when a prod­uct is de­fec­tive.

“Con­sumers aren’t al­ways en­ti­tled to a re­fund,” said Mr Kean, “such as if they have just changed their mind. How­ever, they cer­tainly do have the right to a re­fund if there’s a prob­lem with a prod­uct, and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is il­le­gal,” Mr Kean said.

In the swoop 120 busi­nesses – or about one in five – had il­le­gal mes­sag­ing about re­funds on signs, in­voices or re­ceipts. The area with the high­est rate of non- com­pli­ance was Fair­field, where all 15 traders vis­ited had il­le­gal in­for­ma­tion about re­funds. Clothes shops were the worst of­fend­ers, with non­com­pli­ance de­tected in more than half the premises vis­ited.

Of­fend­ing traders were ed­u­cated about the law, had the un­law­ful signs re­moved and pro­vided with al­ter­nate signs with le­gal word­ing.

“Most of the of­fend­ing re­tail­ers vis­ited dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Re­fund claimed to be un­aware of the law, or the fact that they could be pe­nalised up to $11,000 if pros­e­cuted.”

These busi­nesses will get re­peat in­spec­tions to en­sure they’re com­ply­ing with leg­is­la­tion.

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