Retailers need to get their return policies in order after new consumers rights have been introduced and enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

As part of a national media campaign, the ACCC is urging consumers to be aware of their rights when they buy a product that is faulty or does not perform as described.

The campaign is in response to research that shows only 10 per cent of consumers understand their rights when it comes to a faulty product or a substandard service.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said if a product is not right, consumers are entitled for it to be repaired, replaced or refunded.

“We now have a single national law so that no matter where you shop in Australia you have the same rights to a repair, replacement or refund for a faulty product or unsatisfactory service” he said.

“If products don’t work as promised or don’t work at all you have rights as a consumer regardless of whether you bought it online, in a shop, full-price or on sale.”

The ACCC has introduced these rights called Consumer Guarantees and are within the Australian Consumer Law.

Consumer Guarantees apply to new products, second hand goods and sale items sold through retail and hire outlets or online. The guarantees also cover the supply of services.

“Whether you are buying a watch or a washing machine, brand new or pre-loved, at full price or bagging a bargain, consumers can put their faith in the products they purchase, or expect the retailer or manufacturer to fix the problem,” Sims said.

“Retailers cannot have signs or policies that state ‘no refunds’ as they imply it is not possible to get a refund under any circumstance when this is not the case.

“Retailers also cannot refer you to the manufacturer; they must help resolve the problem.

“These Consumer Guarantees are rock solid and apply regardless of any manufacturers or extended warranty.”