Goods coming in from overseas are taking longer than usual to arrive due to Covid-19. So if you need an item by a specific date, check with the retailer whether the product is in the country and will be delivered on time.
If you’ve already placed your order?
If you’ve paid for the item, and the store turns around and says it’s not in stock and you have to wait for delivery, you can cancel and get your money back.
Retailers can’t advertise goods they don’t have unless they make it clear the product isn’t currently in stock. They should give you this information before you pay so you can decide whether you want to go ahead with the purchase.
They also need to ensure goods are delivered within the time agreed, or within a reasonable period if a delivery date hasn’t been stated.
That means if the retailer accepted your order and agreed to deliver the item but failed to meet the deadline, you’re entitled to cancel and get a refund.
Your refund should be a cash refund, not store credit. The only exception is if you used store credit to pay for the purchase.
What if you decide to wait?
You could choose to wait for the item. However, if the retailer can’t give a date when your goods will arrive, you could face a long delay.
You should also be aware that if the retailer gets into financial difficulty and stops trading, you may not get your money back or the goods you ordered.
If the shop goes under, you’ll become an unsecured creditor, which means you’ll be at the back of the queue after secured creditors, such as the taxman and the banks. When companies fail, there’s rarely any money left to pay back unsecured creditors.
Watch out for bait advertising
Bait advertising is the practice of advertising products the retailer never intends to supply. It’s illegal under the Fair Trading Act and any trader found guilty could face a fine of up to $600,000.
Retailers also risk breaching the act if they bury important information in the fine print, such as the fact there’s limited stock available or there’s a three-month delivery delay.