One in five NSW businesses visited during a recent blitz on illegal “no refund” signs was found to be breaking the law, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean revealed today.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, retailers are not permitted to post “no refund” signs in their shops or print similar messages on receipts or invoices. This is because they imply a refund is not possible even when a product is defective.
“Consumers aren’t always entitled to refund – for example, if they have just changed their mind. However, they certainly do have the right to a refund if there is a problem with a product, and to suggest otherwise is illegal,” Mr Kean said.
To improve compliance with the law, NSW Fair Trading conducted Operation Refund on February 20 and 21, 2017. Twelve consumer protection officers visited 561 retailers at 52 locations across metropolitan and regional NSW.
One hundred and twenty businesses – or about one in five – had illegal messaging about refunds on signs, invoices or receipts. The area with the highest rate of non-compliance was Fairfield, where all 15 traders visited had illegal information about refunds. Other locations with a high number of offenders were Orange, Liverpool, Hurstville, Merrylands and Sutherland.
Clothing shops were the worst offenders, with non-compliance detected in 68 – or more than half – the premises visited, followed by discount variety shops (13) and pharmacies (six).
At each business, Fair Trading personnel educated the traders about the law, removed unlawful signs, and provided alternate signs with legal wording.
“Most of the offending retailers visited during Operation Refund claimed to be unaware of the law, or the fact that they could be penalised up to $11,000 if prosecuted,” Mr Kean said.
“Ignorance is no excuse and these businesses will be inspected again to ensure they are complying. If necessary, further action will be taken to protect the rights of their customers.”