Consumer rights when shopping online


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Consumer rights when shopping online

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What's coming up

Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), when you buy products and services they come with automatic guarantees that they will work and do what you asked for. If you buy something that isn't right, you have consumer rights.

This activity will help you learn about how to return products you bought online, and how companies may use your personal information.

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Right of return

Simon bought a gaming console online, but now that he's received it he has noticed it doesn't switch on. Can he return it if he bought it online?

Yes, if you buy online, you have the right to return goods if it doesn't do what you'd reasonably expect it to do.

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All retailers, either online or in shops, must replace faulty goods.

No. You can only return goods if you bought them at a high street shop.

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No, that is not correct.

All retailers, either online or in shops, must replace faulty goods.

Returning goods – your rights

When you buy products online, you're covered by Australian Consumer Law. You can find out more about this at

If a product or service you buy fails to meet a consumer guarantee, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund under the Australian Consumer Law. The remedy you're entitled to will depend on whether the issue is major or minor.

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Repairing goods

If you have a minor problem with a product or service, the business can choose to give you a free repair instead of a replacement or refund. When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for your choice of a replacement or refund.

Repairs must be made within a reasonable time. Mobile phones and fridges, for instance, must be given high priority, or you can demand a replacement.

Returning faulty goods

You are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem. You are generally responsible for returning the product if it can be posted or easily returned. You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem, so keep your receipts.

When a product is too large, too heavy or too difficult to remove e.g. a bed or wide-screen TV, the business is responsible for paying the shipping costs or collecting the product within a reasonable time of being notified of the problem.

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Non-delivery of goods

When a business accepts your payment for products or services they must supply them to you within the time frame they have indicated, or if no time was specified, within a reasonable time.

If you do not receive the products or services you have paid for, your first step should be to contact the business to try and resolve the problem.

If you are still having difficulty resolving the problem, contact your local state and territory consumer protection agency. They may be able to assist you in your dispute with the business.

Who pays for returning goods?

Don't forget to read the retailer's terms and conditions carefully. They should say who pays for returning goods. If they don't, they have to pay.

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Personal data

All reputable online sellers should provide information on how they take care of the personal information you give them. They must use it only for its intended purpose.

When you register with a website, you will often find some checkboxes which you select if you want to receive extra information.

If these are already checked but you don't want the marketing emails, select inside the boxes to uncheck them.

Never provide personal information such as passwords to anyone.


Well done, you've come to the end of the Consumer rights when shopping online activity.

You've learnt how the Australian Consumer Law can help you, as well as about returning faulty goods and how sellers can use your information.

If you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish this course. If you're not registered, you are now at the end of the course.

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