ACCC warns Spring Racing shoppers as consumer complaints roll in

Mia Steiber 3 November 2016

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Is your brand new Spring Racing Dress faulty? Don't worry, you definitely can return it.

The Spring Racing season is one of the best times to go shopping for new wardrobe additions. Spring and summer collections are hitting the shelves in a wash of bright colours and exciting prints.

But this year, it appears that a number of shoppers have been stung, given the number of consumer guarantee issues that have been reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which enforces shopper rights.

The peak retail season is only just gearing up and it appears that the number of retail complaints is already at a seasonal high. In the current retail period, there has been a 67% increase in consumer issues lodged with the ACCC compared with last year.

As a result, the ACCC is warning consumers to be aware of their rights when it comes to making fashion purchases. Shoppers need to use their consumer guarantee rights if they need to return faulty items.

“Consumers are reporting to the ACCC that some clothing retailers are displaying ‘No Refunds’ signs or selling sale and clearance items on terms that purport to exclude Australian Consumer Law rights,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Consumer guarantees apply to all purchases and cannot be removed or reduced by a business’s terms and conditions. If clothing or accessories are faulty – for example, your fascinator falls apart or the zip on your dress is broken - take them back and use your rights under the consumer guarantees.”

Under Australian Consumer Law you can "claim a remedy" is the item you've purchased isn't of "acceptable quality". And "acceptable quality" is defined as:

  • safe, lasting, with no faults
  • look acceptable
  • do all the things someone would normally expect them to do

If you've purchased something with tears, pulls, sewing faults or maybe something that shrunk after you carefully followed the washing instructions, you are entitled to a refund. Yep, even if it was in the clearance section or the store has a sign saying "No Refunds".

Unfortunately, your rights to a refund only extend to faulty items. That means you're not entitled to return something simply because you've changed your mind. So choose carefully, but know that you'll always be protected if something doesn't meet its quality standards.

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