A recent study found less than 20 percent of Australians know their legal rights when they buy goods or services.The study, by the National Education and Investigation Advisory Task-force, also found that consumers are spending, on average, almost six hours trying to resolve problems with purchased goods and services.
Many businesses are also unsure as to when their customers are entitled to refunds and warranties.
Customers have a right to a repair, replacement or refund if the goods supplied to them have a fault that the customer could not have known about at the time of purchase, the goods do not do what the customer was told they would, do not match the sample they were shown or are different than described in the advertisement or by the business’ staff.
Businesses do not have to display refund signs, but if they do, the signs must not be misleading. Signs that say “No refund” are illegal.
A business also cannot limit its liability by excluding, modifying or restricting the legal rights and remedies available to customers. If a business attempts to alter these legal rights, it can be prosecuted for making false or misleading statements.
The Australian Consumer Law will outline a new nationally consistent approach which will come into force on 1 January 2011.
For more information about your legal rights and responsibilities, please contact your local solicitor.