Did you get a dud Christmas present? Not just one you don’t like, but a present that’s broken or faulty… well you’re not alone. New data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) shows that more people than ever before are complaining about faulty products and services.
There has been a 17 per cent jump in 2018 in the number of people contacting the ACCC about consumer guarantee related issues, compared to 2017. A majority of the 34,000 complaints were to do with faulty cars, electronics, whitegoods and clothing.
ACCC Acting Chair Roger Featherston said it’s important that people remember they have rights if they’ve received a Christmas present that doesn’t work or have bought something in the Boxing Day sales that’s since failed. “These consumer guarantee rights mean you’re entitled to a remedy, either a repair, replacement or refund. If the problem is minor, the retailer who sold the item can choose the remedy. If the problem is major, you get to choose your remedy.”
According to the ACCC a minor failure is where a problem with a product can be fixed in a reasonable time. Whereas a major problem is where the fault is more serious. For example, this includes if the product doesn’t work anymore and can’t be fixed, if it’s significantly different from its description, if it doesn’t do what you asked for, or if it’s unsafe.
One of the keys to returning a faulty product is to know your rights as a consumer. “Use the words ‘Australian Consumer Law’ when returning a faulty product so the retailer knows you’re aware of your rights” Mr Featherson said.
Australians spent an estimated $2.5 billion dollars in the Boxing Day Sales according to the Australian Retailers Association. What you may not know is that these items are still covered by your consumer rights if they break or are faulty, it makes no difference.
The same laws apply if you bought or were given a product that was purchased online from overseas. Overseas businesses are bound by Australian Consumer Law still and must help you.