“Consumers have a right to ask the business they have purchased a faulty product from for a repair, replacement or even a refund, depending on the seriousness of the fault,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said of both cases.
The ACCC says staff at the retailers told customers they were not eligible for returns due to the complaints being made two weeks to one month after purchase.
A retailer cannot simply send a consumer to the manufacturer and wash their hands of any responsibility.
ACCC commissioner Sarah Court
“A retailer cannot simply send a consumer to the manufacturer and wash their hands of any responsibility,” Ms Court said.
“Consumer guarantee rights cannot be excluded or modified by businesses and retailers cannot set an arbitrary time limit on their obligations under the consumer guarantees.”
Both merchants have entered into court-enforceable undertakings with the regulator that will require them to post notices on their websites notifying customers to contact them if they have purchased the faulty products.
Big W will also be required to create an “Australian Consumer Law” webpage with easy-to-read information about consumer rights.
In a statement, a Big W spokesperson said it treated its consumer law obligations seriously and it regretted that it may have misled customers in the past.
“We have co-operated with the ACCC and are committed to implementing a number of additional compliance measures, as set out in the undertaking, to ensure that we’re taking a customer-first approach to handling faulty product returns,” the spokesperson said.