Under Australian law businesses are required to accept returns for goods purchased and provide Australian consumers with a repair, replacement or refund if the goods:
- Are faulty, or become faulty within a reasonable period of time after purchase
- Are not fit for any purpose you stated or that the buyer made known to you (i.e. they don’t know what you said they would do)
- Don’t match your description or sample
- Are of unacceptable quality, or
- Fail to meet other mandatory consumer guarantees under Australian Consumer Law (http://www.consumerlaw.gov.au/content/Content.aspx?doc=the_acl/legislation.htm).
Where goods fall into one of the above categories, and the buyer has not caused or contributed to the failure (for example, by damaging or misusing the goods), a business must provide the buyer with:
- A replacement or refund for a major failure, and compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage; or
- A replacement or repair if the goods otherwise fail to be of acceptable quality.
You can ask a buyer for proof of purchase and may require that they return the faulty goods to you. You may be required to cover the costs of return postage.
Rights to return faulty goods under the Australian Consumer Law extend for a reasonable period of time after purchase, and there is no set time limit within which a buyer can return faulty goods.
Any time limit included in a returns policy will not override a buyer’s rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
Time limits are only enforceable where you are offering the buyer a right that is in addition to their rights under the Australian Consumer Law. For example, you are not required to offer a refund if the buyer simply changes their mind or makes an incorrect choice, and if you do accept returns in these situations, you can specify that a time limit applies.