Policy report: A scan of the return policies of online retailers in Australia

In January 2011, the Australian Government introduced legal protections for consumers buying goods or services called ‘consumer guarantees’. Consumer Guarantees ensure that you can get a refund, replacement or another remedy if goods or services you buy are faulty, unsafe, or don’t do what you reasonably expect them to do.

Consumer Action looked at the returns policies of twelve leading online businesses in December 2011 to find out if online retailers understood their obligations under the Consumer Guarantees and whether they reflect that understanding in the information they provide to consumers. What we found was pretty disappointing. In our assessment, only two of the twelve retailers we looked at had returns policies that were both compliant with the Consumer Guarantees and demonstrate good practice. Eight businesses, including some big names like Apple, Coles Online and Officeworks, had policies with many serious deficiencies.

Note: Since reviewing the policies in December 2011, some of these companies have said that they will review or change their policies. Be aware that the problems we identify in this document may have already been addressed.

To read the report please click: Return of Online Goods

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