With Christmas and Boxing Day behind us, many people may be wondering what their rights are when it comes to returning a faulty product or an unwanted gift.

“We all know Christmas is a busy time for shopping, with many people exchanging gifts with loved ones or hoping to nab a bargain in the Boxing Day Sales. If something isn’t quite right with a product you’ve purchased or received, it’s important to know how to exercise your consumer rights.”

CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications, Rosie Thomas. 

Here are CHOICE’s top tips on how to exercise your consumer rights this Christmas:

1. Know your rights

Getting familiar with your rights will give you the confidence to access them if something goes wrong. If a product you receive or purchase is faulty, you are entitled to either a refund, replacement or repair under the Australian Consumer Law. The exact remedy will depend on if the failure is major or minor.

If there’s a major failure with a product, you can ask for your choice of a repair, replacement or a refund. If the failure is minor, like a few loose threads on a piece of clothing, the retailer can decide whether to offer a repair, refund or replacement.

2. What to do if something goes wrong

If you purchased a dud product or service, contact the company you purchased it from as soon as possible. If the company is reluctant to help, you can escalate your complaint by reporting it to the ACCC or your state’s fair trading agency.

Keeping a record of your purchase is important for situations like these, but if you’ve lost the receipt, don’t panic! The ACCC says proof of purchase can include a credit or debit card statement, a lay-by agreement, and even a serial or production number linked with the purchase on the supplier’s or manufacturer’s database.

3. Be wary of extended warranties 

You might be offered an extended warranty when purchasing a product this Christmas, but in most cases, extended warranties are poor value and not worth your money. The Australian Consumer Law already provides you with consumer guarantees if something goes wrong with your product. If you feel pressure to purchase an extended warranty, ask the salesperson, ‘What protection does this give me beyond the consumer law?

4. What to do if you receive a gift you don’t love

Change of mind purchases aren’t covered under the Australian Consumer Law. However, many retailers have generous and extended return policies around Christmas. If you’ve received a present that you’re not particularly fond of, or have changed your mind about a purchase, we recommend reaching out to the store and seeing what they can do.

Read more about using your consumer rights here: https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/consumer-rights-and-advice/your-rights