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Getting your due refund

THE ACCC makes sure sellers meet their warranty and refund obligations under the Trade Practices Act.

These obligations include statutory warranties, a set of promises that, according to the Act, sellers make to consumers in every sale.

Statutory warranties give customers a basic, guaranteed level of protection concerning the goods and services they buy that cost less than $40,000, or that are ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use.

Statutory warranties include that goods will have the basic quality and performance one could reasonably expect, and that there are no defects.

Consumers may have a variety of remedies if one of the statutory warranties is breached. These may include repair or replacement of the goods, or re-supply of the services, or payment for these things to be done.

Another remedy that may apply is return of the goods and a refund of the purchase price.

The consumer also has the right to compensation for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of the breach of a statutory warranty.

Where statutory warranties are involved, the right to refund is an important one and cannot be improperly limited or excluded by sellers.

Unqualified statements like “no refunds” or “no claims without warranty cards” will usually be false, and making them will mean that you have breached the Act and be liable for fines of up to $200,000 for companies and up to $40 000 for individuals.

* Professor Allan Fels is chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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