Telling consumers about their rights
When it comes to consumer guarantees, you must be very careful about what you say to consumers about their rights, and the wording of any signs, advertisements or any other documents.
What you cannot tell a consumer
You must not tell a consumer that a consumer guarantee:
- does not exist;
- may be excluded; or
- may not have a particular effect.
You also must not tell a consumer that they are required to pay for any rights equivalent to a consumer guarantee. This means that, when selling an extended warranty, a supplier or manufacturer should be very clear exactly what it offers over and above the consumer guarantees. For more information see the warranties and consumer guarantees page.
Consumers cannot surrender their rights by agreeing that the consumer guarantees do not apply.
The maximum civil penalty for providing false or misleading information is:
- $10 million for a body corporate; and
- $500,000 for an individual. Criminal penalties for the same amounts may also be imposed.
‘No refund’ and other signs
Signs that state ‘no refunds’ are unlawful, because they imply it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstance – even when there is a major problem with the goods or service.
For the same reason, the following signs are also unlawful:
- ‘No refund on sale items’; and
- ‘Exchange or credit note only for return of sale items’.
Signs that state ‘No refunds will be given if you have simply changed your mind’ are acceptable.
Signs to tell consumers about the guarantees
You can display a sign, at the point of sale, alerting consumers to their rights under the consumer guarantees – even if your business is online.
Consumer protection agencies have developed a standard sign but you may create your own.
It is not compulsory to display a sign but the Commonwealth Minister responsible for administering the Australian Consumer Law can make it mandatory. The Minister can specify the content, size, form and position of the sign, to ensure consumers notice it.
Responsibility for consequential loss
You cannot write a term into your sales contract that says you will not be responsible for any extra loss suffered by the consumer because something went wrong with the goods or services.
If you do, you could be misleading consumers about their legal right to compensation for consequential loss. For more information about consequential loss, see our damages and compensation page.
Recreational service providers
Recreational service providers may be able to tell consumers their rights are limited. For more information, see our damages and compensation page.
Refunds and returns sign
We have produced a downloadable "Refunds and returns" sign for you to print and display.
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