You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox


Christmas shopping! Do you brave the crowds or head online?

In recent years, a growing number of us have chosen to to browse the internet instead of the aisles for Christmas presents, but many shoppers are unsure of their consumer rights and protections from products bought on the internet.

Australia does not have any specific laws covering internet shopping, but the good news is that consumers are still protected under existing consumer laws.

Australia’s consumer laws apply whether a purchase is made in a big department store, a small retail shop or over the internet.

Under existing consumer laws, online customers have the right to a repair, replacement or refund when making a purchase using their smartphone or tablet just as they would when shopping in a traditional store.

Australian vendors are obliged to repair or replace a product that is defective or does not live up to expectations. But changing your mind about a purchase doesn’t automatically entitle you to a refund.

Online shoppers who use a credit card can sometimes get their money back from a bank if a purchased item is not delivered and should report the transaction as a disputed transaction to their bank or credit card company for further action.

It’s important for online shoppers to take the time to investigate a site’s refund and returns policy and be aware that returning a product usually mean paying for the postage.

However, problems can arise when buying from an overseas-based online store.

Australia’s consumer laws apply to overseas traders who do business in Australia but it is difficult to apply those laws in Australia. A complaint can be lodged with econsumer.gov, an international agency that gathers and shares cross-border e-commerce complaints.

Buyers who purchase products through online auctions like eBay can seek redress through the complaints services provided on the site.

Consumer regulators here and overseas, have recently shut down a number of bogus internet shopping sites and have taken action against those found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

Shoppers should always buy from reputable online stores that offer secure payment facilities and a clear refund and returns policy.

If the site looks suspicious and the deal looks too good to be true then it’s best to avoid it.

Happy shopping!

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Consumer and the Law
Liar loans: how mortgage brokers are putting clients at risk

The term ‘liar loans’ has been coined on the back of the Banking Royal Commission. This is because studies have shown almost 40 per cent of loan applications completed through mortgage brokers contained at least one factually incorrect statement. Whether mortgage brokers are providing lenders with incorrect information, or information that is out-of-date, they are putting themselves – and their clients – at risk. A recent study conducted by the Consumer Credit Legal Centre in New South Wales identified some mortgage brokers were breaking the law when filling out loan applications for their clients. Common examples included brokers suggesting their clients provide a different answer...

Planning desk close up documentresize
Consumer and the Law
How to lodge a complaint with Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) acts as the middleperson between financial firms and consumers or small businesses, offering free and independent dispute resolution services. It deals with complaints about financial advice, insurance, banking and superannuation products and services. While the time limit to lodge a complaint to AFCA is usually between two and six years, the Australian Government recently created the opportunity for those with complaints up to 10 years old to come forward. This means consumers and small businesses have until 30 June 2020 to lodge complaints dating back to 1 January 2008. To lodge a complaint, you must follow AFCA’s process. It is...

How to lodge a complaint with Australian Financial Complaints Authority
Business Law
Proposed Changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct

Franchising is big business in Australia, with approximately 1,120 franchise systems and 79,000 franchise units operating nationally1. As franchising is a diverse sector with characteristics that are unique from other business models, franchises are governed by a mandatory Franchising Code of Conduct (Franchising Code).2 The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services recently completed an inquiry into the operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code and has released the Fairness in Franchising Report (Report).3 Some of the key findings and recommendations of the report are discussed below. The Committee recommends that the Australian Government establish an...

Waitress In Black Apron Upload

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.