Victorians are being reminded of their consumer rights as thousands of people head to the shops today to make the most of Boxing Day sales.
The warning comes after Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 5,000 contacts related to refund and return rights in the past financial year, compared to more than 4,000 during 2019-20 and more than 2,000 in 2018-19.
Jessica from Neerim South contacted Consumer Affairs Victoria for advice after she purchased a dress from an online store during lockdown.
When the dress arrived with significant defects, including a broken zipper that rendered it unwearable, Jessica contacted the business to request a refund or replacement.
The business originally held the position that as the dress was purchased on sale, they would not be offering a remedy, but Jessica eventually managed to obtain a refund after quoting her consumer rights.
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If you buy or receive a gift that turns out to be faulty you are entitled to a repair. If the item can’t be fixed you are entitled to a refund or replacement, even if it was bought on sale or online.
It’s important to remember that you may still need to prove where the gift was purchased to receive a refund or replacement, so keep receipts or other proof-of-purchase documents handy.
“Everyone loves a Boxing Day bargain, but it’s important to know your rights before hitting the shops this year” Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said.
“If your purchase is faulty, you can still return it – sale items come with the same refund rights as full price goods.
“This has been another tough year for both consumers and retailers, so it’s important everyone familiar with the policies when shopping this sales season to avoid a deal turning to disappointment” Minister Horne added.
Consumers should be aware that although individual store policies may differ, retail outlets do not have the automatic right to return a product if they simply change their mind, ordered the wrong product, or find a better product elsewhere – so choose your Boxing Day bargains wisely.
With the economic impacts of coronavirus still hitting hard, it’s more important than ever for shoppers to make sure they’re familiar with store policies, just in case something goes wrong.
If you do run into an issue on your refund rights when attempting to return an item not fit for purpose and cannot resolve the issue with the retailer, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for advice at www.consumer.vic.gov.au or by calling 1300 55 81 81.
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