Advice on how to avoid Christmas credit problems [Audio]

5/12/1999 7:00 AM

Choose carefully when shopping for your Christmas presents.

Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave has made this suggestion as Christmas shopping moves into top gear.

“The return of unwanted Christmas gifts to shops generates a wave of complaints to Fair Trading every New Year,” Mr Shave said.

“Fair Trading’s telephone advice lines are swamped by callers wanting to know their refund rights.

“People do have a right to refunds in certain circumstances, but it’s far better to select gifts carefully rather than expect to be able to get a refund or swap presents just because they’re not what people wanted.”

The Minister said people should always check and compare refund policies before buying gifts, if they thought they might need to be returned.

“Some larger discount stores have a ‘no questions asked’ refund policy because they want to generate customer goodwill,” he said.

“However, this should be weighed against other factors such as the quality of sales advice and the after-sales service which may provided by smaller businesses.”

Customers are entitled to refund, repair or replacement when goods are:
  • faulty;
  • not fit for the purpose for which they were bought;
  • wrongly described; or -
  • different from a sample shown.

Mr Shave also said that setting firm budget limits before starting Christmas shopping could help avoid a credit card hangover in the New Year.

“Every year a lot of people get caught up in the Christmas rush and over-extend on credit,” he said.

“The saying ‘It’s the thought that counts’ is worth remembering. Combining it with a budget and shopping plan can help avoid paying exorbitant interest rates on credit cards for months into next year.”

Media contact: John Clune 9213 6500

“It’s worth taking time to choose presents; while some stores have a no questions policy on refunds and exchanges, they aren’t legally obliged to do so just because a present isn’t what someone wanted.” (253kb/12secs)

“Credit can be a great servant, but a terrible master. Work out what you can afford in repayments, make a budget and stick to it and you should avoid a credit card hangover when the Christmas accounts come in.” (254kb/12secs)

    “Every year Fair Trading is swamped by phone calls for advice on refunds. If you think you may want to obtain a refund, always check the store’s policy before you buy.” (213kb/10secs)