Buying from an overseas seller online

If a consumer bought a product from an overseas business such as; buying watches on eBay from a business in Hong Kong, or buying books or DVDs from London then you should be aware of the following steps:

Step 1: Know your rights

The business must comply with the laws of their own country. They may also have their own refunds and returns policy with additional rights.  The Australian Consumer Law applies to anyone conducting business within Australia - this includes overseas businesses. However, if a business is overseas, you may experience difficulties in obtaining a refund, repair or replacement for your product.

Find out more about consumer protection in other countries by visiting Worldwide competition and consumer protection authorities

Step 2 - Contact the business

Contact the business to try and resolve the issue.  This may include putting your concerns in writing to the seller.

Step 3 - Taker your complaint further

If the business does not resolve your issue, then you may wish to take the complaint further.  What you do next will depend on how you paid for the item.

Payment methodWhat to do
You bought through an online auction house, such as eBayIf the consumer bought products or services from an online auction site, such as eBay or Gumtree, they should first refer to the complaint options available on the website.
You paid via PayPalConsumers may be covered by PayPal’s Buyer Protection. You can lodge your complaint through PayPal's Resolution Centre within 180 days of paying for the item.
You paid via credit cardContact your bank or financial institution to organise a chargeback.  This reverses the credit card charge, similar to a refund.
You paid via online cash transferIf consumers used cash transfer or direct deposit into the seller's bank account, it can be difficult to track the money. In this case, consumers should contact the police.
Updated: 16 Aug 2022

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