Faulty fashion – Use your rights

31 October 2016

This Spring Racing Carnival, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding shoppers to use their consumer guarantee rights if they need to return faulty clothing or accessories.

There has been a significant increase in contacts from shoppers this year reporting consumer guarantee issues in the clothing and accessories industry. So far, the ACCC has received over 1,000 contacts about consumer issues in this industry, compared to about 600 in the same period in 2015.

“Consumers are reporting to the ACCC that some clothing retailers are displaying ‘No Refunds’ signs or selling sale and clearance items on terms that purport to exclude Australian Consumer Law rights,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Consumer guarantees apply to all purchases and cannot be removed or reduced by a business’s terms and conditions. If clothing or accessories are faulty –for example, your fascinator falls apart or the zip on your dress is broken - take them back and use your rights under the consumer guarantees.”

In particular, consumers should be aware that:

  • Retailers can’t refuse to provide you with a remedy because the goods which are faulty or defective were bought on sale or at a clearance store. Your consumer guarantee rights apply equally to sale and clearance items.
  • Signs stating ‘No Refunds’ or ‘No refunds or exchanges on sale items’ are unlawful – they are misleading because they imply that it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstances, including for faulty items. In fact your consumer guarantee rights still apply, including the right to your choice of a refund, repair or replacement where there is a major failure of a product you have purchased
  • Retailers can’t seek to restrict the period in which you’re entitled to a remedy under the consumer guarantees, for example, ‘No refunds after 14 days’. Your consumer guarantee rights don’t have a specific expiry date and can apply even after any express warranty period has expired.
  • Consumer guarantees do not apply unless goods are faulty or are not fit for purpose. Retailers aren’t obliged to offer refunds or exchanges if you got what you asked for but simply changed your mind.

“The ACCC is urging all retailers, particularly clothing retailers, to review their refund and returns policies to ensure that they do not contravene the ACL,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

Further information about consumer guarantees can be found at: Consumer rights & guarantees


Release number: 
MR 197/16
ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

Media enquiries: 
Media Team - 1300 138 917, media@accc.gov.au