Need a refund for that Fathers’ day gift?

By Genevieve Waldie

Hopefully, you picked well and Dad loved the socks, jocks and chocs you bought him for Fathers’ Day.

But what if he didn’t love them, or he did, but they don’t suit or don’t fit? Can you get a refund?

Knowing your rights as a consumer is particularly important after the big retail celebrations like Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days as well as Christmas.

While Dads can be difficult to buy for, does the store have to refund your money just because you (or your dear old Papa) doesn’t like it? What about if it was on sale? Does that change the rules?

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath suggest consumers brush up on their refund rights before making a purchase.

“If you are hoping to get your money back or exchange a Father’s Day gift, it starts with having proof of purchase, so keep your receipt or have a copy of your bank statement that shows where and when you purchased the gift,” she says.

Ask about the trader’s returns policy when buying an item. It’s important consumers know retailers aren’t required to offer a refund if they purchase the wrong size, colour or type of shirt, for example.

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading has comprehensive resources online to help customers understand their rights, and responsibilities as well as the obligation of retailers regarding guarantees, warranties and refunds.

Often it comes down to whether the item could be deemed “not fit for purpose.” Under Australian Consumer Law products deemed “not fit for purpose”, means they don’t do what a reasonable person would expect.

“Some stores try to generate goodwill and return business by offering a refund or exchange if a gift is not suitable, however, they are not legally obliged to do so,” explains Ms D’Ath.

If a product is faulty, damaged, different from how it was described or dangerous, you may be entitled to a remedy such as a refund, replacement or repair.

You also can return an item if it doesn’t do what you’d reasonably expect it to or if it isn’t of acceptable quality.

In this case, you don’t need to have the original packaging and the store can’t charge you for fixing it. Retailers also can’t direct you to the manufacturer if you have a problem with an item – they are required to resolve your issue.

Interestingly,  and contrary to what many people believe, signs saying ‘No refunds on sale items’ are illegal – consumers have the same rights whether an item is on sale or not.

If you believe you are entitled to a refund or remedy, the Office of Fair Trading recommends approaching the retailer to resolve the issue.

Customer can also lodge a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading at fairtrading.qld.gov.au or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).