Repair, replace, refund, cancel

Posted by Mike Bamya on

Under Australian Consumer Law, most products and services bought in Australia (from 1 January 2011) come with an 'automatic consumer guarantee' that the product or service you purchased will work and do what it says it will.

When am I not entitled to a repair, replacement or refund?
Rights to a repair, replacement, refund, cancellation or compensation do not apply to items:

purely for business use worth more than $100,000 (such as machinery or farming equipment)
bought at auction where the auctioneer acted as an agent for the owner (but you do have rights to full title, undisturbed possession and no unknown debts or extra charges).
A business can refuse to give you a free repair, replacement or refund if:

  • you simply changed your mind
  • you misused the product or service in a way that contributed to the problem
  • you asked for a service to be done in a certain way against the advice of the business, or were unclear about what you wanted
  • a problem with a service was completely outside of the business’ control.


If you have a minor problem with a product or service, the business can choose to give you a free repair instead of a replacement or refund. You must accept this free repair if the business offers it to you.

Replacements and refunds
When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for a replacement or refund.

For a major problem with services, you can cancel the contract and get a refund or compensation for the drop in value of the services provided compared to the price paid.

Replaced products must be similar to the original product.

Refunds should be the same amount you paid and given to you in the same form as your original payment.

When processing a replacement or refund, the business can take into account how much time has passed since you bought the product, and consider the following factors:

  • the type of product
  • how a consumer is likely to use the product
  • the length of time for which it is reasonable for the product to be used
  • the amount of use it could reasonably be expected to tolerate before the failure becomes noticeable.

The right to return a product
Consumers have the right to return a product if they think there’s a problem.

The product does not have to be in its original packaging, but a business is entitled to ask consumers to provide some form of proof of purchase, such as a receipt.

Responsibility for returning products
Consumers are responsible for returning products that can be posted or easily returned.

Businesses are responsible for paying for the shipping costs or collecting faulty products that are large, heavy or hard to remove, such as:

  • widescreen televisions
  • beds
  • installed appliances, like stoves or dishwashers
  • extension ladders stuck in an extended position.
  • This must be done within a reasonable time.

Return costs
If the business confirms that the product does have a problem, it must reimburse the consumer for any reasonable return costs they have already paid.

Consumers should keep receipts for postage or transport costs so that they can be repaid by the business.

If the business finds that the product does not have a problem, it can make the consumer pay the collection and inspection costs. To do this, the business must give the consumer a reasonable estimate of these costs before collecting the product.


Source and more details available at:,-replacements-and-refunds#not,be%20repaid%20by%20the%20business.

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