It's always exciting to grab a bargain at a sale, but it is a good idea to follow some simple rules so you don't end up wasting your money.
Budget and spend sensibly
Impulse buying can leave you out of pocket and stuck with unwanted goods. Stop and consider if you really need it.
As a consumer you should research and comparison shop for the best deal. You don’t want to buy something then change your mind when you get home and not be able to return it. By always reading the terms and conditions (T&Cs) you will understand the business' return and refund policy.
All items, no matter how big or small, and no matter what the sales price, or the warranty, all come with consumer guarantees. These guarantees determine whether the product or service you’ve purchased is:
- fit for its purpose
- of acceptable quality
- able to do all the things you would expect it to do
- plus more.
More information is available from the your consumer rights under the ACL page.
The ABC's The Checkout produced a fantastic resource to help consumers and traders understand Consumer guarantees.
Don’t let the sales cost you more by ignoring your basic consumer rights. An extended warranty is usually offered at an extra fee. An extended warranty doesn’t replace your rights under consumer guarantees. More information is available on the extended warranties page.
Read the paperwork (and keep it)
Understand the terms and conditions which will include expiry dates, returns policies and delivery information.
Gift cards or vouchers
It is essential to read and understand the terms and conditions to avoid disappointment. More information is available on the gift cards page.
Proof of purchase
Take care of your receipts – it will help reduce any stress if you have to return your purchase. Businesses are obliged to provide receipts as proof of transaction for sales over $75, although most do for all sales. More information is available on the original packaging and receipts page.
Returns and repairs
The retailer's terms and conditions will determine whether you can return an unwanted gift for an exchange or refund. But remember, unless they undertake to do so a retailer is not obliged to do anything because the return is considered a change-of-mind purchase. More information is on the returns, refunds, repairs and replacements page.
Always use a secure website by looking for a padlock symbol outside the page and making sure the webpage begins with "https://". If you used a credit card or PayPal to buy goods online that never arrived, there are a few things you can do to try and get your money back. More information is available in the buying online section.
Advertising and pricing
When you’re bombarded by advertisements and sales tactics, it can be hard to say ‘No!’ Knowing what to look for will save you money, time and effort.
An honest business will always:
- advertise all aspects of the product accurately
- state the products full price
- make sure, if having a sale or special, the goods or services are available in reasonable quantities for a reasonable period, or specify supplies are limited
- sell an item for the lowest price or withdraw the item from sale until the price is corrected if there are two prices displayed for it.
More information is available in the store policies and sales practices section.
Information for retailers
Consumers have rights, but so do businesses. Read more about retailers' rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law including advertising and pricing rules, consumer guarantees and when a consumer does not have a right to a return. More information is available from the sales campaigns for retailers page.
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