Shoppers urged to be wary

WITH the Christmas retail rush reaching fever pitch this week, shoppers are being urged to understand their rights as consumers.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims said whether consumers bought products or services online or in-store, there were minimum standards retailers had to meet.

"Whether you bought it in Dandenong or Darwin, retailers must provide a minimum guarantee that the product is fit for purpose," Mr Sims said.

"If it doesn't do what it says on the box, or what the salesperson told you it would do, the law allows you to have it repaired, replaced or refunded." 

Mr Sims said two areas that often caused confusion to consumers were their rights when shopping online and in regards to warranties.

He said by law, products much also match their advertised description - this also applied to online products and services.

"Particularly online, where you can't touch or examine the product you are buying, it is important to know that retailers must match their advertised descriptions," Mr Sims said. 

He said extended warranties were also often a minefield for unwary consumers with many manufacturers and retailers offering an extended warranty service on their products for an additional cost.

However, he said by law, consumers often had a right to have a product repaired or replaced beyond the time period of the manufacturer's warranty if it was faulty.

For more information about your rights as a consumer this Christmas, visit http://www.accc.gov.au/refunds&warranties



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