Consumer rights for youth

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When you are ready to start buying things for yourself, or ready to move out of the family home, you should know your rights and where to go to get help if things go wrong. 

Consumer Protection can help you with information about 

Below is a list of some of the top consumer tips and links to other helpful pages or websites. 

Be a smart shopper!

The Australian Consumer Law sets out the national shopping laws. It states anything you buy must match the description given and be of good enough quality to be used for its described purpose. 

It covers your refunds/returns and warranty rights. Any problems with something you buy must be dealt with by the seller. Sometimes shops will tell customers to speak to the manufacturer (whoever made the item). They are wrong to say that though. The buisness which took the money for the product should fix the problem. Arguments between buyers and sellers about warranties are thought to be costing Australians $12 billion a year! The problems mostly involve electrical goods and mobile phones.

Be careful though as sometimes your rights change if you buy online

No Returns / Refunds signs

Signs which say “No refunds” are illegal. Putting them up in shops, or displaying the message on receipts, is breaking the Australian Consumer Law. A shop cannot take away your rights.

Signs which make you think you cannot bring something back, or that there is a time-limit on when you can return it, are misleading.

You can get a repair, replacement or refund if there is a problem with your purchase, like it doesn’t work or it is not as described on the packaging.

If you see signs with the words below displayed in a WA shop, or on a retailer’s website, contact Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054.

Illegal 'No' signs

  • "No refunds on sale items"
  • "No exchanges"
  • "No warranties - for repairs deal directly with the manufacturer"
  • "7-day returns policy"

There are times when you do not have the right to a return such as you simply changed your mind 

The signs below are OK and do not break the law:

  • “Please choose carefully. No refunds for wrong choice/change of mind”
  • “Please keep your receipt. No refunds without proof of purchase”

Return check-list

  1. Take the item back to the seller, with the receipt or proof of purchase, as soon as possible.
  2. Explain what is wrong and that you would like it fixed or an exchange or your money back.
  3. If they tell you to go to the people who made the item (manufacturer) explain that they are wrong and you know your rights.
  4. Under the Australian Consumer Law they must give you a repair, replacement or refund.
  5. If they still won’t help you can call Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054.
  6. You can also send us an email
  7. Want more info on warranties and refunds?

Need help?

Check out the comsumer complaint checklist to help you with a step by step process in dealing with a issue.  There are also some sample letters for some of our main complaint types. 

Top tip: always keep your receipts!

Receipts prove where and when you bought something. If you’re buying online make sure you print out your receipt and keep a copy.


Check out these videos to help protect yourself from scams especially on your smartphone. 

For more information on scams affecting and how to protect yourself Western Australians visit WA ScamNet

Get Money Smart

Starting work? Money Smart want to help you make good choices financially. Get free, independent and unbiased advice and tools. There are 26 calculators and tools to choose from, including some for use on mobile phones.

Consumer Protection social networking

We use social networking sites to connect with young consumers. To follow Consumer Protection on Twitter it’s: @ConsumerWA and you can find Consumer Protection on Facebook .

ACCC Shopper app

Want to know your consumer rights when you're on the go? Do you lose the receipts of those important purchases? Download the ACCC Shopper app to keep up to date about your rights and store photos of receipts.

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