There are many ways you can shop, from in-store to online, auction, mailed catalogue, phone or television infomercial.
This page includes information on:
Buying from an Australian business
When you buy products and/or services from an Australian business you are protected by Australian Consumer Law. It doesn’t matter whether you shopped in-store, online, via a mailed catalogue or television infomercial.
The law provides you with automatic consumer guarantees that the product/service you purchased will work and do what you asked for.
These guarantees mean you have the right to expect acceptable quality, proof of purchase and any product documentation, truthful advertising, and a remedy if things go wrong.
Businesses must provide these automatic guarantees regardless of any other warranties they give or sell you.
This is not usually the case when buying from a private seller, sharing economy platform, online auction or group buying.
Buying from an overseas business
If you buy online from an overseas business, they must comply with the consumer protection laws in their own country however the Australian Consumer Law also applies to anyone conducting business within Australia, including overseas businesses.
Overseas businesses may also have their own refunds and returns policy with additional rights, so it is best practice to check their policy before making a purchase. You also need to be aware that if a business is overseas, you may experience practical difficulties benefitting from a warranty or getting a refund, replacement or repair if the goods/services you receive are defective.
Before purchasing from overseas you should make sure you can get any repairs done in Australia.
Buying from a private seller in Australia or abroad
Australian Consumer Law does not apply when you buy from a private seller (eg buying a second-hand item from an individual on eBay) because they are not acting in trade or commerce like a normal retailer.
When you buy from a private seller, it is called a consumer-to consumer transaction and contract law applies. However, you still have the right to expect the title on the goods (full ownership) after purchase and that it is free from any security or charge on it, unless told otherwise before the sale.