Online shopping offers so many conveniences that are not available in a physical store. Looking beyond being able to shop from the comfort of your computer, online shopping also offers savings opportunities and the ability to compare prices in a much more efficient way. And of course, online shopping can be done anywhere and at any time.
With all of these conveniences, it can be hard to overlook the bricks and mortar store that will be there if things go awry with your purchase. So when you make the plunge and decide to trust a brand with an online sale, what do you do if things aren’t as you expected? Let’s take a look at your online shopping rights according to Australian law, including Australian consumer law.
What are my online shopping rights?
When purchasing from an online retailer, the transaction must:
- Meet Australian safety regulations.
- Not include hidden costs or other details.
- Offer fair prices according to competition law.
- Provide automatic guarantees for the right to repair, replace, refund, cancel, or compensate.
- Be conducted by a seller with the right to sell that product (e.g, that it’s not stolen).
How can I protect my online shopping rights?
It can be difficult to enforce your rights if the seller is not based in Australia. If you use PayPal, then it offers some options for mediation in the case that you get stung, but this is a limited service. Here are some tips to protect yourself when shopping online:
- Only buy from a seller with a good reputation, whether they are in Australia or overseas.
- Make sure that you can easily find the following information on their website: business details, address, complaints resolution process, phone number or email, and the details about the security systems they have for protecting your identity and financial details.
- Check terms and conditions of the sale thoroughly so you can be sure there are no hidden costs or details.
- Make sure that you are buying from a secure connection and that your anti-virus protection is updated.
- Shop around and make sure that you know what you are getting. Don’t ignore measurements and sizing. Get out a ruler if you’re not sure.
- Keep copies of your documentation just in case there are any issues later.
How can I confirm that the seller is secure?
- Check that their website is secure (usually a website that starts with https:// is secure when you’re on a payment page, and usually has a padlock symbol).
- Never give your pin or password to anyone. If someone asks, report them to the ACCC.
If something is not right, you can exercise your consumer rights. Call your bank to reverse a transaction if you never received the goods, and if payment was made by Paypal or through a site like eBay, make sure that you leave appropriate feedback.
Try to resolve the problem first by ensuring that you send an email outlining what has gone wrong and how you expect the seller to resolve the issue.