10/12/2021 - 13:28

Booktopia in court over refund policies

10/12/2021 - 13:28

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Online retailer Booktopia is being taken to court after refusing to offer refunds to consumers who received faulty or incorrect items.

Booktopia in court over refund policies
Booktopia sells books, audiobooks, DVDs and ebooks online. Photo: Tom Hermans

Online retailer Booktopia is being taken to court after refusing to offer refunds to consumers who received faulty or incorrect items.

The consumer watchdog alleged Booktopia, which sells books, audiobooks, DVDs and ebooks, had misrepresented refund policies on its website between January 2020 and November this year.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Booktopia’s website stated consumers had two days from receiving their deliveries to notify the company of a faulty, damaged, or incorrect item in exchange for a refund or other remedy, excluding certain products like ebooks.

The ACCC said it had received complaints from Booktopia customers, including from 19 consumers who were refused a refund because they'd notified the retailer outside of the two-day period.

However, the ACCC said the right to a refund extends to digital goods and does not have a two-day expiration date under Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Commission chair Rod Sims said online consumers had the same rights as those shopping in stores.

“Australian consumers have a right to refund, repair or replacement for goods that do not meet their consumer guarantee rights which apply for a reasonable period, and no business can exclude, limit or modify those rights,” he said.

The ACCC alleged Booktopia misled consumers about their rights to refunds and, as such, has instituted Federal Court proceedings against the retailer.

In response to the allegations, parent company Booktopia Group said the retailer’s policies were not intended to exclude or limit its obligations under the ACL.

“We always encourage customers to contact us so that we can resolve their concerns,” Booktopia told the market this afternoon.

“As an Australian company, Booktopia takes its obligations under the Australian Consumer Law and its commitment to customer service very seriously and has provided all cooperation to the ACCC in a timely manner.”

Booktopia’s shares were up 1.7 per cent at 3:47pm AEDT to trade at $1.78.

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