Electronics top the charts for Australian consumer complaints

Angus Kidman 3 January 2017

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20,000 shoppers complain over guarantee rights, ACCC data reveals.

Electronics and whitegoods cause the biggest headaches when Australian shoppers are trying to exercise their rights to a refund, new data from regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reveals.

Of the 20,000+ complaints relating to difficulties in scoring a refund under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in 2016, more than a quarter fell into the electronics category.

"We are concerned that businesses continue to misrepresent the rights of consumers when they try to return a faulty product," ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said in a statement.

"We want more people to know about the Australian Consumer Law, and use it as the three 'magic words' to let retailers know you know your rights. For example, if you buy a phone that comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty, that express warranty is in addition to your rights under consumer law. "Under the Australian Consumer Law, you are guaranteed that the phone is safe, lasting, free of faults, is of acceptable quality and functions as a phone. If the phone, or any other consumer electronics or whitegoods, doesn't meet these guarantees, you are entitled to a remedy."

One trick to watch out for? Retailers suggesting you'll need to buy an extended warranty to have any coverage after a given period. The ACL doesn't specify a fixed period after which extended warranties are needed.

The ACCC has previously warned shoppers to remember their rights when shopping for fashion and says that scams related to the sharing economy.

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