Returns and proof of purchase

You can return goods which:

  • are faulty
  • does not do what it is supposed to
  • are unacceptable in appearance or finish
  • are unsafe
  • break down before it is reasonably expected to.

Returning products for repair

It is your responsibility (as the consumer) to return goods to the supplier. You don't have to return products in their original packaging.

If you are not able to take the products to the supplier in person, and the supplier does not have a complimentary pick up or return policy, you may have to return them by post or another delivery service. Postage costs may be recovered if the returned products are found to have a fault.

When products with a major fault are too large, heavy or difficult to remove, the supplier must collect the goods or arrange shipping:

  • at their own expense and
  • in a reasonable time frame.

When you don't have the right to return a product

You cannot return goods if you:

  • change your mind
  • order the wrong product
  • found a cheaper or better product elsewhere
  • misuse or damage the product (not using the product as directed by the manufacturer or supplier)
  • were aware of a fault or defect before buying the goods (the retailer/supplier informed the consumer or displayed a sign specifying the defects)
  • the consumer examined the product before buying it and did not find any defects which would reasonably have been noticed
  • the consumer has no proof of purchase (receipts, tax invoice, bank statement).

In some of these situations, the store or seller may still choose to give a refund, exchange or credit note.

A store may have their own refund policy offering more than what is required by law. For example a consumer may be able to return a product within a set time. The store or seller must comply with the terms of their in-store policies.

Compensation for damages or loss

Consumers can seek compensation for damages and loss suffered due to a problem with a product or service, if the supplier could have reasonably foreseen the problem.

This is in addition to the consumer guarantees for repair, replacement or refund.

Compensation may include the cost caused by a problem with products or services. This is usually a financial cost, but can include other costs such as lost time or productivity.

Proof of purchase and receipts

It’s a good idea to keep receipts as it may be difficult to return a product without proof of purchase.  In some of cases, the business may still choose to give a refund, exchange or credit note without proof of purchase.

Proof of purchase may include:

  • receipts
  • tax invoices
  • bank statement.

Businesses may also have their own refund policy that offers more than what is required by law. The store or seller must comply with the terms of their in-store policies.

Electronic copies of receipts

Electronic copies and digital photographs are a valid proof of purchase, however they must:

  • be clear
  • show the purchase details.

The supplier or manufacturer does not have to accept the claim if a consumer cannot show where the product or service was purchased.

Gifts and receipts

People who receive products as a gift still have the same rights to a refund or return as a person who buys a product directly, however they must still supply proof of the purchase. Often businesses will provide a regular receipt as well as a gift receipt . This type of receipt proves the item was purchased but doesn't show the value of the goods. The purchaser can include the gift receipt with the gift and the receiver of the gift can use the gift receipt if there is a problem with the item purchased.

Related information

Updated: 01 Aug 2022

This page has been produced and published by the Consumer Building and Occupational Services Division of the Department of Justice. Although every care has been taken in production, no responsibility is accepted for the accuracy, completeness, or relevance to the user's purpose of the information. Those using it for whatever purpose are advised to verify it with the relevant government department, local government body or other source and to obtain any appropriate professional advice. The Crown, its officers, employees and agents do not accept liability however arising, including liability for negligence, for any loss resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information and/or reliance on its availability at any time.