Returns and refunds
Bought something and want to take it back? We explain your consumer rights.
If a product you buy is faulty or not of acceptable quality, you don’t have to put up with it.
Consumer members can contact our Consumer Advice Line for help. Our advisers will talk you through your rights.
When products are faulty
When a product isn’t up to scratch, the Consumer Guarantees Act gives you powerful after-sales rights.
The Act says products must be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and match their description.
If a product has a minor fault, the retailer can choose to repair the item, replace it, or refund your money.
But if the fault is major, it’s your choice whether you opt for a replacement or refund. A major fault means a reasonable consumer wouldn't have bought the product if they'd known about the problem.
The retailer can't palm you off to the manufacturer – you have the right to take the item back to the shop and have it fix the problem.
A sign in the store that says “no refunds” is illegal.
Just changed your mind?
You don't have the right to return goods simply because you've changed your mind or your circumstances have changed.
Say you bought a smartphone. What if:
- Your partner bought you one as a surprise on the same day. Can you take one of them back?
- You really wanted a pink one. Can you swap?
- The same phone is $100 cheaper in the shop next door. Can you get a refund?
The answer to all these questions is no. The retailer is under no legal obligation to give you your money back or exchange the product. However, some retailers will do so in the interests of good customer service, so it's worth asking.
Some stores have a no-questions-asked exchange policy for customers who change their mind. This usually means you can swap for another item or a credit note. Occasionally, a store returns policy lets you get a refund but it’s up to the store.
If you’re not sure about a purchase, ask the retailer when you buy if it offers exchange cards.
Exceptions to the rule
If you buy on credit or from a door-to-door seller, you’ve got a cooling-off period when you’re entitled to cancel the deal.
You also have five working days to cancel a door-to-door sale. You can cancel for any reason. The trader must give you a full refund if you cancel.
Need our help?
The Consumer Advice Line is available to all our members for support on any consumer-related issue. Our expert advisers can explain your rights and help you resolve problems. Become a member now from just $12 and we'll help you get a resolution.