What to do when Father Christmas really lands you with a dud!

As Christmas approaches it is a good time to think about what to do about those unwanted gifts, gifts which are the wrong size or gifts which are damaged or faulty, and what your rights are as a consumer and as a business owner.

One of the biggest reasons for asking to refund or exchange goods is that the recipient just does not like the gift!  Perhaps it is the wrong colour, or not the right style… there are all sorts of reasons.

Retailers are not obliged to give a refund when a consumer simply does not like the goods or have changed their mind about something they have bought, however many retailers have policies which offer a refund or replacement or credit note when this happens.  Some retailers will require a receipt for the goods whilst others will accept the goods and offer a credit note or exchange for goods of same or greater value. Often there may be a time limit on the availability for consumers to make use of this policy and if the goods have been used or worn the retailer has the right to refuse to offer any refund or exchange.

Christmas is often the time of year where people don’t just buy gifts for other people, they buy something special such as new white goods or tv, audio, furniture etc for their home.  In the event that there is a minor problem with any goods, then under Australian Consumer Law, the retailer is obliged to fix the problem by offering any of these options.

  • Provide a refund;
  • Replace the goods;
  • Repair the goods.

If a consumer has bought goods and encounters a major problem with the goods, for example:

  • The goods are unsafe. Ie. an electric kettle sparks each time it is turned on.
  • A child’s bike is shown on the box as being pink but when you unpack it is green
  • A fridge with an ice maker refuses to make ice and leaks all over the floor.

The consumer is entitled to any of the following outcomes:

  • Reject the goods and get a refund;
  • Reject the goods and get an identical replacement or one of similar value if reasonably available; or
  • Keep the goods and get compensation for the drop in value caused by the problem.