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Consumer rights you need to be aware of this festive period

Keep your receipts and know your consumer rights this Christmas.

Keep your receipts and know your consumer rights this Christmas.

Sometimes gifting doesn’t go as planned over Christmas.

You might get something you really don’t want or something isn’t working as it should, which is why it is important to know your consumer rights and what you can do about it.

“We all know Christmas is a busy time for shopping, with many people exchanging gifts with loved ones or hoping to nab a bargain in the Boxing Day sales,” Choice director of campaigns and communications Rosie Thomas said.

“If something isn’t quite right with a product you’ve purchased or received, it’s important to know how to exercise your consumer rights.”

Thomas said being familiar with your rights will give you confidence to access them if something goes wrong.

If you have purchased something over Christmas and it is faulty, then under the Australian Consumer Law, you are entitled to either a refund, replacement or repair.

‘“The exact remedy will depend on if the failure is major or minor,” Thomas said.

“If there’s a major failure with a product, you can ask for your choice of a repair, replacement or a refund. If the failure is minor, like a few loose threads on a piece of clothing, the retailer can decide whether to offer a repair, refund or replacement.”

Always keep the receipt

If something turns out to be a dud, or something with a product or service is wrong, contact the company you purchased it from as soon as possible.

This is why it is so important to keep hold of your receipts, as you need a record of your purchase in situations like these.

However, if you do misplace or throw out your receipt, then don’t stress. The ACCC says proof of purchase can include:

  • A credit or debit card statement
  • A lay-by agreement
  • A serial or production number linked with the purchase on the supplier’s or manufacturer’s database.

If a company you purchased from is not willing to help you out, then you can escalate the complaint with the ACCC or the relevant fair trading agency, Thomas said.

Unwrapped christmas present revealing woollen jumper and other presents

Sometimes Christmas presents just aren’t what you want.

What to do if you hate your gift

Some people just aren’t that great at giving gifts, or perhaps you get double-ups of the same item.

Change of mind purchases, or simply not liking a gift does not fall under Australian Consumer Law.

However, there is still a chance you can return something simply because you don’t like it.

Most stores and businesses have return policies and many have extended hours around Christmas to allow for returns and exchanges.

“If you’ve received a present that you’re not particularly fond of, or have changed your mind about a purchase, we recommend reaching out to the store and seeing what they can do,” Thomas said. 

You might also think it is worth getting an extended warranty with a purchase, but Thomas advises against that, saying they are usually “poor value and not worth your money”.

In fact you’re already protected under law, so you need to really question why an extended warranty is worth it.

The Australian Consumer Law already provides you with consumer guarantees if something goes wrong with your product,” she said.

“If you feel pressure to purchase an extended warranty, ask the salesperson, ‘What protection does this give me beyond the consumer law?’.”

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