Gift shopping tips

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Shopping to find the perfect gift can be stressful, especially at busy times like Christmas.  

Expired gift cards, faulty appliances and a piece of jewellery you thought was on sale but was the original price are just a few examples of what can go wrong while shopping for a gift.  

Here are some tips to highlight your and your gift recipient's consumer rights and hopefully take some of the stress out of purchasing the perfect present. 

We also have information on your rights when it comes to gift cards, pricing and making returns.

Gift cards and vouchers

Gift cards are wonderful, but it is important to remember they usually come with terms and conditions  limiting how and when they can be spent.

Gift cards should be treated and protected as if they were cash, because if they are lost, they usually can’t be redeemed or replaced. Make sure you check the expiry date and any limits on value or number of transactions and pass this information on to your gift recipient.

The gift card should be used as soon as possible as there is a risk that they may not be honoured if a business is sold or goes into receivership. 


Another tip for savvy shoppers is to be aware of was/now pricing, especially with jewellery and appliances. Was/now pricing happens when a business displays a previous higher price, along with the current lower price, to demonstrate a discount.

Businesses offering was/now pricing must make sure consumers are not misled about the promoted savings. 

Saying a product ‘was $100, now $50’ can be misleading for consumers if the product had not been sold at $100 for a reasonable period immediately before the sale commenced. 

Penalties apply to corporations or individuals who give false and misleading information.

Before buying a gift you should shop around for the best price. The trick is not to fall for glossy price promotions. Do your homework, shop around and compare prices at multiple retailers. Search online, look in catalogues, talk to store attendants and discuss your purchase with friends and family. 

The advertising and promotions page contains links to advice on other pricing and selling tricks. 

General shopping tips

There is plenty of advice about general shopping tips on our website including dealing with sales, returns and refunds, receipts, guarantees and warranties.  You can also download the ACCC Shopper app to keep handy shopping tips at your fingertips. 

Consumers have protections under the Australian Consumer Law when they buy goods and services. These laws are known as consumer guarantees. You can seek a remedy if a business sells you goods or services that don’t meet these guarantees.  

When something goes wrong

If something goes wrong, please read the pages about your rights including consumer guarantees and returns. If you feel you need to make a complaint about a product or service you have purchased, please follow our consumer complaint checklist.  There are also sample letters or emails you can use to help you get started. 

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