Received a Faulty Christmas Gift?

There’s little, if anything that is worse, than receiving a faulty Christmas gift…And it would seem many more of us did just that this time round.

The ACCC says this festive season they’ve seen increasingly more people contacting them about issues with faulty products and services.

ACCC Acting Chair Roger Featherston says it’s important we remember our rights if they’ve received a Christmas present or purchased an item during the Boxing Day sales that later fails.

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“These consumer guarantee rights mean you’re entitled to a remedy, either a repair, replacement or refund. If the problem is minor, the retailer who sold the item can choose the remedy. If the problem is major, you get to choose your remedy.”

A minor failure is where a problem with a product can be fixed in a reasonable time – A major problem is where the fault is more serious such as the product not working anymore and can’t be fixed, or it’s significantly different from its description, or it doesn’t do what you asked for, or if it’s unsafe.

He says a key trick to remember is to use the words ‘Australian Consumer Law’ when returning a faulty product so the retailer knows you’re aware of your rights.

“People should be wary about potentially misleading claims when returning faulty items. For example, a business may claim they can’t help as the product is out of warranty, that you must take it to the manufacturer, or that because it was a sale item you can’t return it.”

Things to remember:

  • A manufacturer’s warranty is separate to your Australian Consumer Law (ACL) rights so even if a product is out of warranty, you still may be entitled to a remedy.
  • The retailer who sells you the product must help with a remedy if it turns out to be faulty. They can’t claim it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to help you and not theirs.
  • Sale items are covered by consumer guarantees. If the sale item later breaks, you have the same rights—it makes no difference if you pay a discounted price.

“A lot of people like to shop online, including at overseas-based retailers. Another common complaint we receive is that a business won’t help a consumer with a faulty item as they are based overseas and aren’t subject to the Australian Consumer Law.”

“This also isn’t true. Any overseas business that sells products to people in Australia is bound by our consumer law and must help you.”

People having difficulties obtaining a remedy for a faulty product can use the ACCC’s complaint letter tool to try to resolve the issue with the trader. If this is unsuccessful, they can contact their local consumer protection agency or report the issue to the ACCC.