ACCC: Only 10% Of Consumers Know Their Rights

Unless you've had need to trawl through the ACCC's website to figure out the best way to acquire a refund or replacement, it's unlikely you know the specific ins and outs of our legal system when it comes to dealing with these situations. According to the ACCC, 90 per cent of us fall into this group and, as such, the organisation has launched a new campaign to raise awareness.

Image: David.

As of now, you should start seeing advertisements, online and via radio, pushing the ACCC's "Consumer Guarantees" -- a set of legal guides that specific how far your rights extend when chasing a replacement, refund or repair. It's in response to a study that revealed only 10 per cent of consumers were aware of their entitlements.

The campaign will be Australia-wide; according to ACCC head Rod Sims, the country has a "single national law" so enforcement is consistent regardless of which state you live in.

"If products don’t work as promised or don’t work at all you have rights as a consumer regardless of whether you bought it online, in a shop, full-price or on sale," said Sims in the accompanying press release.

Sims points out that "No refund" signs are misleading at best and that you cannot be directed to the manufacturer when seeking help -- the retailer must do what it can to aid you.

Sorting out a refund or replacement can be as simple as remembering to keep the receipt, but, it can also be downright frustrating. If you have any personal tales regarding your adventures with our country's consumer laws, feel free to share in the comments.

ACCC to launch Consumer 'use your rights' campaign [ACCC, via Current]


Comments

    So whats a cracked iPhone screen got to do with all this? i thought this would not be a warranty claim? as its mistreatment of the product? or do our rigts allow us to get replacement iPhone screens?

      its just a picture for article!! dofus..

      It's just a picture. I'm guessing If you need context - as Titsnass mentioned, if your iPhone was delivered like that, you'd be in a good position to get it replaced.

      Hi Matt,
      No a cracked screen would not be covered under Consumer Guarantees unless it was like that when you unpacked it.
      Consumer Guarantees cover - As described, Fit for Purpose, Acceptable Quality and finish, Matching Sample Shown etc. Any breach of the above is a "Major Failure" and would mean that the customer gets to choose the remedy of refund, replacement or repair.

    I personally regularly buy stuff online, because it's cheaper and more readily available, however I baulk at sending items back for a warranty claim. Firstly the return postage can be quite prohibitive and secondly there's the chance that once the vendor receives it they can just dick you around until you give up, I've been there a few times! The item has to be quite expensive before I'll chance a refund.

      is an interesting point as regards online purchases. If the seller is based overseas but ships to Australia, are they bound by our consumer laws? I recently purchased a Razer onza and it died after about 3 months. As I purchased it from the Razer website, returning it wasn't an option. After a few emails back and forth they agreed to send me a replacement if I sent them a photo of my broken unit with the cable cut. OTOH I recently purchased a Yamaha amp from harvey Norman. The ir receiver for the remote was basically cactus from day one. HN wouldn't come to the party and insisted I mail it back to Yamaha for repairs. Got sick of arguing with them and just bought a wireless remote extender from DSE.

        Which is the reason why Harvey Norman is losing business, not because of online retailers. People are sick of arguing with teenagers about warranty issues.

          Sorry to burst your bubble, but Harvey Norman posted record profits last financial year. Gerry is just a winger because he feels he is missing out on more profits from online sales, he is not struggling.... To many mum & dads who have no idea still spend big there.

        I have had similar issues with Gerry, however instead of taking it back I first took it to the local authorised repairer, if they can't fix it Gerry has to replace it. It's the law... :)

          our 'local' authorized repairer was 50km away. One good thing WA gatting the remote extender from DSE. I can now control my stereo from the Bali hut outside where I have satellite speakers installed.

        No they have to abide by the laws of the country they're operating in. Not where their customers are based.

    Interesting.
    When I bought my phone, (Samsung Galaxy Gio) it had atrocious GPS Signal.
    Dick smith told me to send it to Samsung. I was about to, but then I put Cyanogenmod 7 on it. Something to remember.

    The problem isn't just retailers though, it's manufacturers as well.

    I worked for DSE for about 3 years (this is 5 years ago or so), and there were quite a number of manufacturers who would refuse to let us deal with them for warranty repairs/replacements, instead we were told to direct the customer to them first. If we tried to send the product anyway, they'd just ship it back untouched.

    Apple were one of the worst for this, as well as a few of the phone manufacturers.

    I've had a terrible experience with JB Hi-Fi and Skullcandy Headphones. (I know I'm the one stupid enough to buy them in the first place) The first pair I bought started failing after a month, returned with receipt and they only offered an exchange for the exact same item. Second pair, same problem, they refused to do anything but exchange again despite requesting a refund or a store credit for another item. I'm on to my fourth pair now because all they do is keep exchanging. To think I have $120 in an endless loop of exchanges no matter how many times I request my money back.

      According to the ACCC page, you should be able to choose whether you get a refund or replacement:
      http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1023610
      "For a major problem with a product, you have the right to choose whether a business will give you a replacement or refund. "

    Basic rules of journalism - before using an acronym you need to tell the reader what the acronym stands for. Shoddy writing.

      I think ACCC falls into the same basket as ATM, NAB, WTF, ANZ, EFTPOS, FAQ and many others.

        You know and I know it, but many readers won't. I agree - acronyms need to be explained, at least at first mention in the article.

    I don't think it's necessarily a problem with people not knowing their rights, but more that people keep getting conflicting stories from Retails, and Retailers generally making it difficult to return faulty goods. Perhaps if the law was such that it was illegal to give out this incorrect information (and it was actually enforced) we'd be in a better position to take on any further education campaigns.

    Also, if you are on a phone contract and your phone packs up (and you aren't the cause, eg its a manufacturing fault) the provider should give you a new phone, as the phone you are buying should last the duration of your contract legally

      Dylan: I assume you're thinking about this: http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/909293
      That is, according to Graeme Samuel (Charmain of the ACCC at the time):

      "At minimum, they need to ensure consumers have access to a reasonable remedy for the entire period of their service contract.

      "It is simply not good enough that a customer is tied into a service contact for two years when the retailer is only promising to fix a faulty mobile phone for the first 12 months."

      The initial decision (linked above) related to Vodafone.
      Also see: Telstra (http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/950648) and Optus (http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/966482)

        Something like that.

        Best off, if your phone screws up and its not your fault, you should expect some sort of replacement, in my and my relatives personal experience.

    I would love to see how MSY will react with this news. They're all about no refund and contact the manufacturer directly!!

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