Understanding Returns Policies

Important information for buyers: your legal right to return goods

As an Australian consumer, you have a legal right to return goods purchased from a business and to obtain a repair, replacement or refund if, the goods:

  • Are faulty or develop a fault within a reasonable period of time after purchase

  • Are not fit for their purpose any purpose you stated or that the buyer made known to you (i.e. they don't do what the seller said they would do)

  • Don’t match the seller's description or sample

  • Are of unacceptable quality, or

  • Fail to meet other mandatory consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law.

Buyers’ rights

Where goods fall into one of the above categories the buyer is entitled to:

  • A replacement or refund for a major failure, and compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage or

  • A replacement or repair if the goods otherwise fail to be of acceptable quality.

To exercise these rights, the buyer should contact the Seller and may be required to return the goods and to provide proof of purchase.

Please note: The buyer must not have caused or contributed to the failure of the goods, for example, by damaging or misusing the goods. 

More information is available by contacting the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or on the ACCC site.

Knowing the seller's return policy makes shopping easier

Sellers may state their returns policies for the items they offer for sale on eBay. Returns policies may provide buyers with other rights to return goods, for example, if you make an incorrect choice or change your mind.

However, sellers are not required by law to accept returns for incorrect choice or change of mind, so it’s important to examine the seller's returns policy carefully before you bid on or buy the item. This will help ensure that you have a satisfying buying experience.

Remember, your rights to a return, replacement or refund for faulty or non-compliant goods are in addition to any other rights under the seller’s returns policy or any warranty that comes with the goods. 

What to look for in a Returns Policy

Does the seller accept returns for incorrect choice or change of mind?  If so: 

  • Under what circumstances can you return the item? For example, does the item need to be in the unopened box it was posted in or can you return an opened box with all of the original materials?

  • Do you have to return the item to the seller within a certain time period (for example, within 14 days after the item is delivered to you)?

  • What kind of refund does the seller provide (money back, item exchange, etc.)?

  • Who pays for return postage and packing, you or the seller?

  • Does the seller charge a restocking fee?

What to look for in a warranty

Sellers and manufacturers often offer warranties on their goods.  It’s important to find out what kind of warranty is offered and, in particular:

  • How you go about returning goods under the warranty

  • Where you will need to send the goods

  • Who will bear the return postage costs. This is especially important for international purchases.

This information should be included in the warranty documents, otherwise you can ask the seller.

Also, remember that if the seller or manufacturer do not offer a warranty or if a warranty has expired, this does not limit your rights under the Australian Consumer Law relating to defective and non-complying goods. 

Where to look

  • Returns and warranty information may appear on the item listing, check in the item description section

  • If it’s not there, check the "Postage, payment details and return policy" section

  • If you need more information, you can contact the seller by clicking the Ask seller a question link near the top of the item page.