What traders cannot tell a consumer
Traders must not tell a consumer that a consumer guarantee:
- does not exist
- may be excluded or
- may not have a particular effect.
Traders also must not tell a consumer that they are required to pay for any rights equivalent to a consumer guarantee. This means that, when selling an extended warranty, a trader or manufacturer should be very clear exactly what it offers over and above the consumer guarantees.
Consumers cannot agree to give up their rights to any consumer guarantees.
The maximum civil penalty for providing false or misleading information is:
- $1.1 million for a body corporate
- $220,000 for an individual.
Criminal penalties for the same amounts may also be imposed.
'No refund' and other signs
Signs that state 'no refunds' are unlawful, because they imply it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstance - even when there is a problem with the goods or service, like a defect or lack of due care and skill.
For the same reason, the following signs are also unlawful:
- 'No refund on sale items'
- 'Exchange or credit note only for return of sale items'.
Signs that state 'No refunds will be given if you have simply changed your mind' are acceptable.
Signs to tell consumers about the guarantees
Traders can display a sign, at the point of sale, alerting consumers to their rights under the consumer guarantees – even if the trader’s business is online.
Consumer protection agencies have developed a standard sign: Refund policy point-of-sale poster (PDF, 226KB)
You may also create your own sign.
It is not compulsory to display a sign but the Commonwealth Minister responsible for administering the Australian Consumer Law can make it mandatory and can specify the content, size, form and position of the sign.
Responsibility for consequential loss
Traders cannot write a term into a sales contract that says the trader will not be responsible for any extra loss suffered by the consumer because something went wrong with the goods or services.
If traders do this, they could be misleading consumers about their legal right to compensation for consequential loss. For more information about consequential loss, view our Damages and compensation page.
Recreational service providers
In some circumstances, recreational service providers can tell consumers that their rights are limited. For more information, view our Services covered by guarantees page.
Last updated: 30/04/2013