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Consumer & Business Advice
23 December 2016

Boxing Day sales create quite a buzz for shoppers both online and in-store, however, consumers are reminded to shop smart to avoid disappointment with the sales this festive season.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, George Kamencak, said retailers will be keen to get your business so it’s important to look past the slick marketing and check the real value of deals on offer.

“Many South Australian consumers look forward to this time of year for a bit of shopping. However we often hear from consumers in January about purchasing decisions they wish they had not made, such as issues with faulty products and sometimes just the realisation that the deal was not that good after all,” Mr Kamencak said.

“With the surge in online sales, consumers are reminded to buy from legitimate retailers and to check independent reviews of the retailer, product or service.

“While the sale price may look good, an online retailer may have a string of unhappy customers and the product or service may be getting poor reviews - so it pays to check before you buy.

“We advise shoppers to check that any webpage is secure before entering payment details online so that credit card and personal information is not accessed by fraudsters.

“Another tip is to check that the website address starts with ‘https’ - with an ‘s’ for secure, and that there is a closed padlock image in the internet browser.”

Officers from Consumer and Business Services conducted inspections over the Christmas period of more than 40 traders in the metropolitan and regional areas ensuring receipts, refunds signs and lay-buys were all complying with the requirements in accordance with the Australian Consumer Law.

Consumers are urged to take extra care when dealing with overseas sellers or websites, as it can be more difficult to contact the retailer if a problem arises.

When returning items, consumers have the same rights regardless of whether they were bought on sale, bought in-store or online, or received as a gift. If a consumer guarantee has not been met consumers are entitled to a remedy.

Mr Kamencak said if the product is not of acceptable quality, doesn’t match the description or isn’t fit for purpose, then consumers are entitled to approach the retailer to request a refund, repair or replacement item.

“There are many retailers with generous refund policies that will offer to refund or exchange if you change your mind, but consumers need to remember that this is a gesture of goodwill and not your legal right,” he said.

“If a retailer promotes a generous refund policy, they must honour it. But stores are within their rights to limit such policies by excluding sale items or certain brands and products.

“Stores are also reminded of their responsibility to provide a remedy when a consumer guarantee has not been met, and not to mislead consumers about their refund rights.

“If you do your research, spend wisely and stick to your budget you’re much more likely to have an enjoyable experience when you dive in to the post-Christmas sales.”

For more information about shopping rights visit the CBS website.