ACCC consumer rights campaign comes with a warning for retailers

By Claire Reilly

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced the launch of a new ‘Use Your Rights’ campaign targeted at keeping consumers informed of their rights regarding faulty product purchases.

The campaign “is also aimed at increasing businesses’ awareness of their obligations to be able to appropriately assist consumers when they have a problem with a product or service," according to the ACCC.

Running under the tagline, “If it’s not right, use your rights: Repair, replace, refund,” the media campaign was developed as a response to research conducted by the ACCC, indicating only 10 per cent of consumers know their rights in relation to faulty products or bad service.

“From Dandenong to Darwin the ACCC is letting people know when it’s not right, use your rights. If it’s not right, consumers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund,” said ACCC chairman, Rod Sims.

“We now have a single national law so that no matter where you shop in Australia you have the same rights to a repair, replacement or refund for a faulty product or unsatisfactory service.

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“If products don’t work as promised or don’t work at all you have rights as a consumer regardless of whether you bought it online, in a shop, full-price or on sale.

“Whether you are buying a watch or a washing machine, brand new or pre-loved, at full price or bagging a bargain, consumers can put their faith in the products they purchase, or expect the retailer or manufacturer to fix the problem.”

The rights, which are known as Consumer Guarantees within Australian Consumer Law, also have implications for retailers, which Sims was keen to spell out.

“Retailers cannot have signs or policies that state ‘no refunds’ as they imply it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstance when this is not the case,” he said. “Retailers also cannot refer you to the manufacturer; they must help resolve the problem.

“These Consumer Guarantees are rock solid and apply regardless of any manufacturers or extended warranty.”

The new campaign will be supported by radio and online advertisements to reiterate the message to consumers.

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