Don’t get your heart broken this Valentine’s Day, says Consumer Affairs Victoria

Published on : Thursday, February 14, 2013

Romantics looking for last-minute gifts are being warned to make sure they get what they pay for while looking online this Valentine’s Day.

Parliament of Victoria, Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O’Brien has warned shoppers tempted by the easy option of buying last-minute gifts online to be aware of their rights. Consumer Affairs Victoria receives hundreds of complaints about online shopping every year.

“The most common problems experienced by online shoppers are delays in delivery or goods not being delivered at all,” Mr O’Brien said.

“One complaint was from a man who purchased a $300 bouquet of roses only to find that when they arrived they looked old and discoloured, and there were only 23 roses instead of the promised 24.”

The Australian Consumer Law requires businesses to guarantee that their description of products is accurate, and that it matches any sample or demonstration model.

Consumers can choose a refund or exchange if an item does not match its description in a major way and may also be entitled to compensation if they suffer other loss as a result of the business’s failure to meet their obligations.

“While flowers, chocolates and jewellery can make good last-minute gifts, your valentine could end up disappointed – and you exposed – if the wrong gift arrives, or worse, doesn’t show up at all,” Mr O’Brien said.

It is unlawful for a business to make false or misleading representations about products or services when supplying, offering to supply, or promoting those products or services. The Australian Consumer Law also prohibits advertising
goods at a specified price if there are reasonable grounds for believing the business will not be able to deliver.

Mr O’Brien says there are simple steps consumers can take when ordering gifts online.

“Be sure you know exactly what you are buying, the total cost in Australian dollars, be clear on when the goods will be delivered, and check for a returns policy,” Mr O’Brien said.

Businesses are required to provide consumers with a single price that they need to pay for goods or services. This price must also be stated as prominently as the advertised component price.

Source:– Consumer Affairs Victoria

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