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'No refund' and other signs
Generally, these signs are against the law:
- 'No refund'
- 'No refund on sale items'
- 'No refunds after seven days'
- 'Refunds on unworn items only'
- 'We will only exchange, repair or give credit notes'
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.
Generally, consumers have a right to a refund when there is a major problem with something they bought. Stores cannot take away this right by claiming they have a ‘no refund’ policy or displaying a ‘no refund’ sign. This also applies to an online store's refunds and returns policy.
Signs that state 'No refunds will be given if you have simply changed your mind' are acceptable.
Signs to tell consumers about guarantees
Stores can display a sign, at the point of sale, alerting consumers to their rights under the consumer guarantees – even if the store’s business is online.
Consumer protection agencies have developed a standard sign: Refund policy point-of-sale poster (PDF, 226 KB)
Businesses may also create their 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.
What businesses cannot tell consumers
Businesses must not tell a consumer that a consumer guarantee:
- does not exist
- may be excluded or
- may not have a particular effect.
Businesses 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 supplier or manufacturer should be very clear exactly what it offers over and above the consumer guarantees that apply automatically.
Consumers cannot agree to give up their rights to any consumer guarantees.
Penalties for providing false or misleading information
The maximum civil pecuniary and criminal penalties for a body corporate are the greater of:
- $10 million, or
- three times the value of the benefit obtained from the offence, or act or omission, by the body corporate and any related bodies corporate if the benefit obtained can be determined by the court, or
- if the court cannot determine the value of the benefit, 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the body corporate.
The maximum penalty for a person is $500,000.
Responsibility for consequential loss
Businesses cannot write a term into a sales contract that says the business will not be responsible for any extra loss suffered by the consumer because something went wrong with the products or services.
If businesses do this, they could be misleading consumers about their legal right to compensation for consequential loss. For more information about consequential loss, view Damages and compensation.
Recreational service providers
In some circumstances, recreational service providers can tell consumers that their rights are limited. For more information, view Recreational businesses – wording to limit liability for death or personal injury.