KEEP MUM SAFE BY BUYING APPROVED PRODUCTS
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is urging Mother’s Day shoppers to be aware of their Australian Consumer Law rights and responsibilities and the need to check approval marks on electrical products, as well as retailers’ refund policies.
Mother’s Day predictably prompts a spending bonanza every year worth millions of dollars and whether it’s goods or services, consumers should be aware they may not secure a refund unless there is a major problem.
“Just because Mum may not like the gift or the gift may not be suitable for some reason doesn’t mean you are automatically entitled to a refund, so check the store’s or seller’s policy before you buy,” he said.
“Some retailers may have a policy providing a store credit in those circumstances and larger retailers tend to be more generous when dealing with refund requests.
“You can ask for a refund when there is a major problem, that is if the goods are faulty or defective, are not fit for the intended purpose or if they are different to the sample shown or what was described.”
Suppliers and manufacturers are required by law to automatically provide guarantees about goods they sell, hire or lease and services they provide to consumers. These rights exist regardless of any warranty provided by the supplier or manufacturer.
A supplier and a manufacturer guarantee that goods are of acceptable quality, will match any description provided and any express warranties will be honoured.
A supplier guarantees that services are provided with due care and skill, are fit for any specified purpose and within a reasonable time (when no time is specified).
Mr Stowe encouraged the public to report any illegal refund signs by calling Fair Trading on 13 32 20.
“Signs that state `no refunds´ are unlawful because they imply it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstance – even when there is a major default with the goods or service,” he said.
“For the same reason, the following signs are also unlawful: ‘No refund on sale items’ and ‘Exchange or credit note only for return of sale items’.
“Signs that state `No refunds will be given if you have simply changed your mind´ are acceptable.”
Mr Stowe also warned the public to be very careful about paying for extended warranties, which in many cases only replicate consumer entitlements under consumer guarantees.
“A supplier must not tell a consumer they are required to pay for any rights equivalent to a consumer guarantee,” he said.
“This means that, when selling an extended warranty, a supplier or manufacturer should be very clear exactly what it offers over and above the consumer guarantees.”
Consumers should also exercise caution when buying electrical products for Mother’s Day gifts.
“Don’t short change Mum or Grandma with a cheap knock-off bought at markets or online,” he said.
“Those are the outlets where a cheap deal is more likely to be counterfeit and unapproved and therefore potentially unsafe.
“You don’t want to put your beloved mother or grandmother at risk of electrocution or electric shock with a dangerous electrical product.
“These can include hair dryers and straighteners and kitchen and bathroom appliances.
“Shop with reputable retailers and check for genuine trademarks, trade names and approval marks to make sure you are getting what you paid for.”
Approval marks for electrical goods can be checked at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
Mr Stowe said if consumers are offered unapproved goods they should report it to Fair Trading.