Your rights: what happens if a product is faulty?


A lot of people will ask about a store's return policy before making a purchase and are probably used to the fact that many retailers might not offer you a refund for a product if you change your mind.

But what happens if a product is faulty?

Generally you can return it to be repaired or for a refund.

extended warranty

The problem is that many salespeople don't understand customers' basic rights to a refund for faulty products so it's worth arming yourself with a few facts, says Tom Godfrey, the head of media at the consumer organisation Choice.

He says a few key points to be aware of are:

  • If a product isn't of acceptable quality, the retailer can't charge you to fix it.
  • Retailers can't just refer you to the manufacturer.
  • If the fault is "major", you can ask for a refund or replacement rather than a repair.
  • Retailers should pay the transportation cost for a bulky item.
  • You don't have to return a faulty product in its original packaging.
  • If you've lost a receipt, you can still show proof of purchase with a credit card statement, confirmation or receipt number from an internet or phone transaction.


Maria Bekiaris is editorial campaigns manager for Canstar and former deputy editor of Money. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.
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