With Christmas shopping in full swing, Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave has suggested ways to help avoid post Christmas problems.
“Choosing gifts carefully is important because traders are not required to give refunds simply because people do not want a present or change their minds,” Mr Shave said.
“Unfortunately, the days after Christmas are some of the busiest for the Ministry of Fair Trading as it is flooded by complaints about unwanted goods.
“Every year the Ministry’s telephone advice lines are swamped by callers wanting to know their rights about refunds and exchanges.”
Consumers have rights to refunds in certain circumstances but it is far better to choose carefully rather than try to return goods just because they are unwanted. It is important to compare the refund and return policies of retailers before buying.
“Some larger discount stores have a ‘satisfaction always’ approach to refunds and exchanges to keep customer goodwill but this is not the law,” Mr Shave said.
The law provides for 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.
“Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it is also important,” Mr Shave said.
“It’s easy to over spend at this time of the year and to book too much on credit.
“However, starting the New Year deep in debt is no fun and the best way to avoid this is to budget and plan before you buy.”
The Minister urged parents to take particular care in buying toys for children.
“Check that toys are suitable and don’t pose any danger,” he said.
“If in doubt, ask to see a display sample and look for toys that can easily topple over or have sharp edges or parts that might be easy to break off and swallowed.”
Media contact: John Clune 9213 6500