Know your rights when it comes to re­turns

One of the ad­van­tages of hav­ing the Min­is­ter for Bet­ter Reg­u­la­tion and In­no­va­tion Matt Kean as our lo­cal MP is that we also get to pick his brains about con­sumer rights when it comes to re­turn­ing goods to a store.

Monthly Chronicle - - Front Page - MATT KEAN, MEM­BER FOR HORNSBY & MIN­IS­TER FOR IN­NO­VA­TION & BET­TER REG­U­LA­TION So what hap­pens when you need to re­turn a Christ­mas gift that’s not a good fit? What if it doesn’t fit or suit you? What if the item is faulty? What op­tions do you have if they on

Over Christ­mas Aus­tralian con­sumers hit the shops and spend up big. Buy­ing and giv­ing gifts is the essence of Christ­mas but there are al­ways a few gifts that don’t quite hit the mark. Maybe you got some ugly socks from Aunty Sue or clothes that don’t fit you from your Mother. If you’re plan­ning to take back some un­wanted pre­sents this Jan­uary, it is im­por­tant you know your rights as a con­sumer.

Mem­ber for Hornsby Matt Kean MP has taken on the role as Min­is­ter for In­no­va­tion and Bet­ter Reg­u­la­tion over the last year and has been work­ing hard to put con­sumers first.

“I be­lieve busi­nesses should be do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to look after the con­sumer,” Mr Kean said.

Min­is­ter Kean has had a num­ber of Con­sumers First re­forms passed by Par­lia­ment in­clud­ing changes to the rules for gift cards and crack­ing down on ticket scalp­ing.

These re­forms in­tro­duced by the NSW Gov­ern­ment will en­sure con­sumers have more money in their pock­ets.

“This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for fam­i­lies in Hornsby be­cause life is busy and ex­pen­sive. The NSW State Gov­ern­ment wants to be able give con­sumers more money to put food on the ta­ble and do the things you en­joy.”

The Depart­ment of Fair Trad­ing is your go-to when it comes to all your rights as a con­sumer. We talked to them about what to ex­pect when you wish to re­turn an item you or some­one else has pur­chased.

Con­sumers are not au­to­mat­i­cally en­ti­tled to a re­fund if they sim­ply change their mind or later dis­cover they picked the wrong colour or size. How­ever, many large re­tail­ers have gen­er­ous, has­sle-free re­fund poli­cies. They may re­fund your money or of­fer an ex­change even though they are not legally re­quired to do so. You should al­ways check the re­tailer’s re­fund pol­icy be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase.

Most prod­ucts pur­chased in Aus­tralia come with au­to­matic guar­an­tees that they will work and do what you asked for. What you are en­ti­tled to de­pends on the na­ture of the fault. If you have a mi­nor prob­lem with a prod­uct, the busi­ness can choose to pro­vide a re­pair at no charge, a re­place­ment, or re­fund. For ma­jor prob­lems, you have the right to ask for your choice of a re­place­ment or re­fund.

Un­der DFT guide­lines, a 'ma­jor fault' is one where the prod­uct is un­safe, faulty and can­not be reme­died, or if the goods are not as they were de­scribed in ad­ver­tis­ing or pack­ag­ing De­pend­ing on the rea­son for re­turn, a re­tailer can­not limit a con­sumer’s op­tions to a credit note, un­less it is due to a change of mind. Credit notes pro­vided due to a change of mind would be lim­ited to the re­tailer’s re­fund pol­icy.

Busi­nesses are obliged to pro­vide a proof of trans­ac­tion to con­sumers for goods or ser­vices val­ued at $75 or more. Should a con­sumer re­quest a re­ceipt for a trans­ac­tion un­der $75, the busi­ness must pro­vide this within seven days. Other doc­u­ments can be used in lieu of a re­ceipt, such as credit card or debit card state­ments, con­fir­ma­tion or re­ceipt num­ber pro­vided for a tele­phone or in­ter­net trans­ac­tion, or lay-by agree­ments.

A stag­ger­ing 34 mil­lion gift cards are sold across Aus­tralia ev­ery year, with most of­fer­ing a 12- month ex­piry date. How­ever, up to 8% of those gift cards sold are never used - which means con­sumers are los­ing up to $ 600 mil­lion each year. Leg­is­la­tion has been passed by the NSW State Par­lia­ment that will mean all gift cards sold in NSW will have a manda­tory three year ex­piry date. This is ef­fec­tive from March 31.

Re­mem­ber Fair Trad­ing is al­ways there to help. If you are not happy with your shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and are un­able to re­solve your is­sues with the trader, you are ad­vised to lodge a writ­ten com­plaint with NSW Fair Trad­ing at www.fair­trad­ing.nsw. gov.au.

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