It’s that time of the year again. Christmas carols are in full swing, extended shopping hours provide the opportunity to grab those last-minute presents and sales are booming. For retailers, the festive season sees profits soar as consumers get into the gift-giving spirit. But there are areas businesses should watch out for to ensure they’re doing the right thing by their customers. From advertising products, selling on the front line or dealing with refunds, here are some top tips to remain legally compliant:
Advertising and marketing teams
While it’s common practice to use some fine print, there are rules which protect consumers against advertising that may be deceptive or misleading. If there are unfair exclusions to a promotion, or statements that contradict the main message of marketing materials, you may be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law. For example, it would be prohibited to make a representation of a ‘gift with every purchase’ when the fine print says ‘gift is at the additional cost of $10’.
Sales staff who are a retailer’s main point of contact with consumers should be well-informed of their basic legal obligations. There may be temptations to stretch the truth when closing a deal, particularly on those big-ticket items like electronics or sporting equipment. But if the salesperson tells a customer that electric scooter with “intuitive braking and a battery that lasts for a full day” will meet all those needs and it fails, the customer will be entitled to a refund.
Refunds and returns
It’s important to make sure that a store’s returns policy is clear and in line with the Australian Consumer Law. While retailers don’t have to refund for a ‘change of mind’, they are obligated to provide a remedy if a product is faulty or not fit for purpose. Signage at a store level is a key issue to consider – for example, a sign which says “no refunds on sale items” would be considered illegal because it undermines a consumer’s inherent statutory rights.
GRC Solutions creates award-winning training programs on a range of legal compliance areas. For more information on our Competition and Consumer Protection course, contact us today.