Demand your consumer rights during mid-year sales

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WA consumers are being urged to demand their consumer rights as retailers are gearing up for their mid-year clearance sales.

So far this year, Consumer Protection has received more than 270 complaints about the misrepresentation of retail goods.  Many of these complaints concern purchases made during sales and many complaints could have been avoided if consumers were aware of their rights.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said it is important consumers remember that their consumer rights do not stop when these sales start.

“All goods, even those on sale, must be fit for purpose, safe to use, described accurately and free of defects - these are the basic rights under consumer law. If goods don’t meet these basic criteria, consumers are entitled to a remedy in the form of a refund, repair or replacement,” Mr Hillyard said.

“However, these rules do not apply if you simply change your mind. If you want to take an item back, be aware that it will be on the retailer's store policy and you will have to comply with their requirements about proof of purchase, packaging and use of the product.”

Do not be misled by ‘no refund signs’ – they are illegal, as are signs that say ‘No refund on sale items’ and ‘Exchange or credit note only for the return of sale items’.  Signs that say ‘No refunds will be given if you have simply changed your mind’ are acceptable.

“You do not necessarily have to provide a receipt to be able to claim a remedy.  Providing some other form of proof of purchase such as a credit card statement is sufficient.  Also, purchased items do not have to be returned in their original packaging,” the acting Commissioner added.

“If you see an advertisement that shows an item or service is being offered at a bargain price during a sale, you should have a reasonable expectation that it will be available when you visit the store.  If supply is limited, the retailer should provide details of that in their sales advertisements.

“Consumer Protection takes allegations about bait advertising very seriously and has received nearly 20 complaints about this issue over the past year.

“Retailers also have to be truthful about mark-downs during sales.  For example, a retailer cannot say that an item is a bargain because it is ’50 per cent off’ when it was never sold for the price claimed and is actually a cheap product brought in for the purpose of the sale.  This is misleading and in breach of consumer law.”

Consumers can get more information about their rights and obligations by visiting www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/sales or by contacting Consumer Protection by email: consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
08 Jun 2015

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