The Australian Consumer Law came into effect on 1 January 2011. It harmonises consumer protection and fair trading legislation nationally, and introduces new national unfair contract terms protections as well as a statutory consumer guarantee regime.
Through our casework, we’re testing aspects of the new law and looking closely to make sure its implementation effectively protects Australian consumers.
—Media release—8 December 2011: National unfair contract terms and consumer guarantees to be under the spotlight
—Media release—4 November 2011: Is eBay selling consumers short?
This report examines the returns policies of twelve leading online businesses in December 2011 to find out if online retailers understood their obligations under the consumer guarantees of the Australian Consumer Law. 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.