When this guy didn’t shop online, he just wanted his money back. But the overseas retailer hasn’t made it easy. And this is a problem that many others have to face.
Welcome to the weekly column of Sisters in Law, news.com.au, which solves all your legal problems. This week, our resident attorney and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett from Maurice Blackburn give advice on what to do if you don’t receive an online order and want a refund.
I ordered $500 worth of clothes for delivery and they never came but I am not getting my money back.
The seller is based in the US and they keep sending me links showing that the parcel is at a private courier depot in Australia but it’s been over eight weeks and nothing has arrived.
I just want my money back but they don’t give me any answer when I ask about it.
I paid by bank card (not credit card) and I don’t know who to follow to get refund – seller, courier or my bank. What should I do? – Dion, Queensland
If you ordered clothing from an Australian online retailer, all of your general rights to replacement, repair or refund apply to online purchases.
However, as you have purchased from a foreign retailer, your rights are not as easy to enforce, and you will need to contact a consumer protection agency in the country where the retailer is located.
If you purchased clothing from an online auction site (such as eBay), most offer a dispute resolution process for buyers and sellers. This should be your first step in resolving the dispute.
If, however, you purchased directly from a supplier, the US has a Consumer Protection Bureau as part of their Federal Trade Commission, through which they investigate, and prosecute companies and people who violate the law. Huh.
you should do:
1. Contact the private courier depot where the seller said your consignment is and ask them if the goods are actually there. If yes, arrange the delivery of the goods.
2. Report to the Federal Trade Commission. These reports are used to investigate fraud (where businesses may be cheating people out of money and not doing what they agreed to, such as providing you with clothes).
3. File a ‘chargeback’ request with your bank. Even if you used a debit card (instead of a credit card), your bank will investigate and settle the dispute for you.
To avoid being in the same situation again, here are some tips when shopping online:
1. Shop online with Australian retailers.
2. Read reviews online to check that this is a reputable and legitimate business with an easy refund or dispute process.
3. Read the Terms and Conditions of Sale including return and exchange policy, including after-sales support and delivery details.
4. Do not make a payment unless you can make a secure payment and are on a secure website (usually the page will have a picture of a locked lock)
5. Make sure the company has a real street address and a landline phone number. This will help ensure that you can actually get a refund or repair.
6. Try using a debit card, credit card or PayPal for purchases. If a dispute occurs, your bank or PayPal will usually investigate and pursue a refund for you.
7. Keep a copy of the purchase confirmation and check your credit card or PayPal statement.
This legal information is general in nature and should not be construed as specific legal advice or relied upon. Individuals in need of specialized legal advice should consult an attorney.
If you have a legal question you’d like Alison & Jillian to answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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