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Australian Consumer Rights and Protections

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Australian consumer groups claim these rights:

12 Principles of E-Commerce

  1. Consumers using e-commerce are entitled to at least the same levels of protection provided by the laws and practices that apply to existing forms of commerce.
  2. Consumers should be able to establish the identity and location of businesses with which they deal.
  3. Consumers should have this information readily available before and after any purchase of goods and/or services.
  4. Sellers must state contract terms in clear, simple language.
  5. Sellers should ensure that they receive confirmed, meaningful consent from consumers for a purchase of goods and/or services.
  6. Consumers are entitled to receive clear information about the types of payment that will be accepted by the merchant or the payment provider.
  7. Consumers are entitled to have their complaints and inquiries dealt with fairly and effectively.
  8. Sellers should provide information to consumers about affordable and effective dispute resolution arrangements (in cases where they are available).
  9. Sellers must respect customer privacy.
  10. Industry code administration bodies must closely monitor the application and effectiveness of their codes and be able to correct any deficiencies that are identified.
  11. Each code-operating body should strive to maintain and promote consumer confidence in the global marketplace.
  12. Governments should actively develop their consumer protection responsibilities.

Consumer Liability for Misuses of Payment Card

  • For transactions involving a card and a personal identification number (PIN): The consumer is liable for the first $50 (Australian) of any unauthorized transaction, unless the misuse stems from the consumer's negligence, in which case the consumer is liable for the total amount.
  • For transactions involving a card and no PIN but requiring a signature: The consumer is not liable for any unauthorized transactions.
  • For transactions involving a card and no PIN that don't require a signature: Some card issuers hold the merchant liable for unauthorized transactions; however, this is a gray area that should be clarified with the Electronic Funds Transfer code.

Right to Return Goods Purchased over the Internet

Consumers can return goods and choose a refund, repair, or replacement if at least one of these statements is true:

  • The goods are not of merchantable quality.
  • The goods are defective.
  • The goods do not fit their purpose.
  • The goods do not fit the description.

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Last updated: Dec 17, 1999




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