When this man’s online purchase didn’t arrive all he wanted was his money back. But the overseas dealer didn’t make it easy for himself. And it’s a problem that many others face.
Welcome to Sisters In Law, news.com.au’s weekly column that solves all of your legal problems. This week our resident attorneys and sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett at Maurice Blackburn are giving advice on what to do if you don’t receive an online order and want a refund.
I ordered $ 500 clothing for delivery and they never arrived, but I cannot get my money back.
The sellers are based in the US and keep sending me links showing the package is in a private courier depot in Australia, but it has been over eight weeks and nothing has arrived.
I just want my money back, but they don’t answer me when I ask for it.
I paid with a debit card (not a credit card) and I don’t know who to contact for a refund – the seller, the courier, or my bank. What should I do? – Dion, Queensland
If you ordered the clothing from an Australian online retailer, all your usual replacement, repair or refund rights apply when shopping online.
However, since you bought from a foreign retailer, enforcing your rights is not that easy and you have to contact the consumer protection agency in the country where the retailer is located.
If you bought the clothes from an online auction site (like eBay), most of them offer a dispute settlement mechanism for buyers and sellers. This should be your first step in resolving the dispute.
However, if you’ve bought direct from a supplier, the U.S. has a Bureau of Consumer Protection as part of its Federal Trade Commission that conducts investigations and sues companies and individuals who break the law.
1. Contact the private courier depot where the seller listed your goods and ask if the goods are actually there. In this case, make arrangements for the delivery of the goods.
2. Make a report to the Federal Trade Commission. These reports are used to investigate fraud (where the company may cheat people for money and not do what they’ve agreed to do, such as providing you with the clothes).
3. Apply to your bank for a chargeback. Even if you used a debit card (instead of a credit card), your bank will investigate and handle the dispute for you.
So that you don’t end up in the same situation again, here are some tips for online shopping:
1. Make online purchases from Australian retailers.
2. Read reviews online to make sure it is a reputable and legitimate company with an easy refund or dispute resolution process.
3. Read the terms of sale, including refund and exchange policy, customer service, and delivery details.
4. Don’t make any payments unless you can make a secure payment and are on a secure website (usually there is a picture of a closed padlock on the page).
5. Make sure the company has a physical address and landline number. This will ensure that you actually receive a refund or repair.
6. Try using a debit card, credit card, or PayPal to purchase. In the event of a dispute, your bank or PayPal will usually investigate and track the refund for you.
7. Keep a copy of the purchase confirmation and check it against your credit card or PayPal statement.
This legal information is general in nature and should not be viewed as specific legal advice or on which to rely. Individuals in need of specific legal advice should consult an attorney.
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