Australia Markets closed

'Sales trick': Shoppers warned 'don't waste your money' on common product

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Australian money in a cash register
Beware of this sales trick. Image: Getty

Christmas shoppers have been warned to steer clear of a “sales trick” masquerading as a policy that offers little more than Aussies’ existing legal rights.

In a reminder to shoppers, consumer advocate CHOICE said Australians should be suspicious of extended warranties.

“Many extended warranties largely replicate or underplay your existing rights under the Australian Consumer Law,” CHOICE consumer rights expert Julia Steward said.

“They’re a sales trick to squeeze more money out of you that ignore your existing rights under the law. If someone tries to push an extended warranty on you, ask them: ‘what does this give me beyond the Australian Consumer Law?’”

A CHOICE survey found nearly one in five Australians continue to buy extended warranties, even though they offer poor value and little protection.

“Your rights aren’t one-size-fits-all. Under the law, the products you buy should be eligible for refund, replacement or repair depending on the expected lifespan of the product. Not what the company says the warranty is,” said Steward.

“Don’t waste your money.”

Rather than paying for an extended warranty, most shoppers will receive what they need by following these steps:

  • Contact the retailer with proof of purchase

You’ll need your receipt, and be polite when asking for your replacement, repair or refund.

  • Use the Australian Consumer Law

If you’re unhappy with the response, use the law. “Articulate how you believe the law has been breached, put it in writing and escalate to someone higher,” Steward said.

  • Escalate the problem

Take the dispute to your local Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading body.

“Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading in your state or territory are a good next step if you’re unhappy with the retailer’s response. It’s important to tell these bodies so they can act if there’s a broader issue at play.”

  • Consider a chargeback

In some cases, you may ask for a debit or credit card chargeback through your bank or payment service.

“It’s important that you’ve kept records and tried to resolve things with the retailer first, as typically your bank will expect you’ve done this first.”

Want to get better with money and investing in 2021? Sign up here to our free newsletter and get the latest tips and news straight to your inbox.