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How To Return Or Get A Refund On Unwanted Christmas Gifts

As Christmas comes and goes, so too does the smile on your face as you unwrapped that ill-conceived gift from your well-intentioned relative.

We've all been there.

The good news is there is something you can do with -- some of -- those unwanted Christmas presents.

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson is reminding Aussies the Australian Consumer Law provides a range of protections against products that are faulty, poor quality or falsely advertised -- and Christmas time is no different.

"Essentially, if a product or service does not meet the consumer guarantees, you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund," Anderson said.

"I love it!" ... Image: Getty

But this may not extend to your mother-in-law's questionable soaps.

What Are The Rules?

Under Australian Consumer Law, you can return a product that is faulty or doesn't match the advertised description and ask for a remedy such as a repair, replacement or refund.

"Products must be of acceptable quality, match descriptions made by the salesperson, on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising," Anderson said.

As consumer advocacy group Choice explains, the consumer guarantee applies whether or not the product was bought on sale.

But whether a refund is on the cards depends on the extent of the fault.

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Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and the bottle shop - we've got you covered this silly season.

While some stores may be so inclined, they have no obligation to take back an item simply because you don't like it or have changed your mind.

"So ... ". Image: YouTube

"Although many businesses offer goodwill returns to their customers at this time of year, some do not offer this service," Anderson said.

"Make sure you are clear about the returns policy for gifts so there are no surprises."

Anderson also urged shoppers to keep their proof of purchase to protect their rights to a repair, replacement or refund.

He said this could be a cash register print out or handwritten receipt, a credit card or debit card statement, a lay-by agreement, or even a photograph of the original receipt.

Sometimes, the smile might begin to fade. Image: Getty

Choice also pointed out that shops are often staffed by casuals over Christmas and the New Year who "may not have a thorough grasp" of the rules.

"If you're having trouble getting a refund for a faulty product, ask to speak to someone more senior," it said.

"If you're not getting anywhere, it's time to complain."