Suppliers of goods and services may make a range of representations in order to sell their goods or to give you information on what remedies are available to you if something goes wrong. It is important to know when certain representations are misleading, unlawful or illegal.

“No refund” signs

Signs within stores or on receipts which state that refunds will not be given on purchased items are misleading and can often be illegal. This is because they give purchasers the understanding that their rights under Australian Consumer Law are limited, even when major problems may have occurred.

The type of signs that are illegal include:

  • “No refund on sale items”
  • “No refund after 14 days”
  • “Only credit notes available for return of sale items”

It is also illegal to state that refunds are only available to goods that are returned in their original packaging.

However, to state that refunds will not be available for a change of mind after purchase is legal, since this coincides with the principles of Australian Consumer Law.

Misleading customers about their rights

It is misleading for suppliers to tell you that you need to approach a manufacturer directly in order to get a refund for the purchased goods. Under the law, the supplier must deal with the problem directly and provide you with assistance.

There are no warranty periods for consumer guarantees. You are able to approach a supplier for a refund at any time after the goods have been purchased. To tell you that your rights under the Australian Consumer Law are limited to a warranty period is considered to be misleading.

It is also misleading for suppliers to make claims that you do not have a right to a remedy if a service has not been carried out with the expected level of due care and skill. Claims which are misleading for this purpose include those that state that:

  • The supplier holds no responsibility over the loss or damage of goods
  • Goods that are left with a supplier to be repaired are left with the supplier at your own risk

The supplier will exercise due care over the good in custody, however will not exercise any responsibility over these goods

 Exceptions to refunds

However, a supplier may refuse to give you a refund if you:

  • Simply changed your mind after the purchase because you do not like the goods that were bought
  • Found out that you can buy the same goods somewhere else for a cheaper price
  • Did not find any faults in the goods prior to purchase despite having the chance to inspect them
  • Have damaged the goods in a manner that lies outside the scope of normal wear and tear
  • Insisted that the goods be used in a certain way and were not happy with the outcome
  • Did not rely upon the skill, judgment or expertise of the supplier when purchasing the goods
  • Relied on a representation that someone other than the supplier made about the goods before buying it
  • Are seeking a remedy for an event that was beyond the control of the supplier

Conclusion

If you’re in need of legal advice, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of our commercial solicitors.

Ursula Hogben

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