Buying from an international trader

Examples of an 'international trader' would be a Hong Kong business selling watches on eBay, or Amazon selling books or DVDs where the business is located in another country. If you bought your item from a private individual seller, view information on buying from a private seller. When buying from an international seller, there are some things you should know.

If there is a problem with your product

Step 1: Know your rights

The business must comply with the consumer protection laws of their own country. They may also have their own refunds and returns policy with additional rights. Read the policy on their website.
While the ACL does apply to purchases from international traders delivering to Australia, you may experience practical difficulties in obtaining a refund, repair or replacement for your product, or in taking action against them.

Step 2: Contact the business

Contact the business to negotiate a solution.
You may wish to use our complaint letter or email template 

Step 3: Take your complaint further

If the business does not resolve your issue, what you do next depends on how you paid for the item.

You bought from an online auction house

Most online auction houses have a dispute resolution service. For example, you can report an issue to eBay’s Resolution Centre up to 45 days after the sale. You can open a case in the Resolution Centre regardless of how you bought the item (in other words, via an auction or ‘Buy it now’). 

Note: If you paid via PayPal, you will be automatically directed from eBay to the PayPal Resolution Centre. See below. You can also post feedback about the seller on the auction site to warn the auction house and other potential buyers.

You paid via PayPal

You can file a dispute through PayPal's Resolution Centre within 45 days of paying for the item. You may be covered by PayPal’s Buyer Protection.

You paid via credit card

Contact your provider to organise a chargeback (this effectively reverses the credit card charge, and is similar to a refund).  The chargeback is a process with your credit card provider, separate from any other dispute resolution service such as those with eBay or PayPal. More information is available on our credit card chargeback page. 

You paid via online cash transfer

If you used an instant cash transfer system (such as Western Union or MoneyGram) or if you deposited your money directly into the seller's bank account, it can be very difficult to track your money once the seller has collected it. In this case, you should contact the police who may be able to assist.

You can also:

  • contact the government body responsible for consumer protection in the seller’s country; and
  • file a complaint at econsumer.gov.

econsumer.gov is a portal for consumers to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies. While this will not resolve your individual complaint it will allow international consumer agencies to gather data that can help stop consumer fraud.

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