The Meeting Place

Big W in hot water over returns policy

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Big W after it admitted it may have breached the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations when dealing with customers who purchased faulty Dyson appliances.

The ACCC was concerned that between at least 30 December 2016 and 30 April 2018, Big W’s customer service staff told consumers who complained about faulty Dyson appliances that they would need to deal directly with the manufacturer to obtain a remedy if the complaint was made more than 14 days from the date of purchase.

“Big W has acknowledged that its conduct may have misled consumers about their rights to a repair, replacement or a refund for faulty products,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Consumers have a right to ask the business they have purchased a faulty product from for a repair, replacement or even a refund, depending on the seriousness of the fault,” Ms Court said.

“Retailers cannot shift their responsibility to manufacturers or set an arbitrary time limit on their obligations under the consumer guarantees.”

As part of the undertaking, Big W will publish a notice on its website, inviting consumers to contact Big W if they believe they have purchased a faulty Dyson appliance.

Big W will review all consumer queries about faulty products in line with its obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. This includes Dyson appliances previously purchased from Big W.

Big W has also undertaken to review and improve its Australian Consumer Law compliance program for Big W retail staff.

Have you purchased a faulty Dyson product from Big W? Did you receive an appropriate remedy?




No, but I did purchase a Dyson poduct that has perfomed magnificently. This aticle may interpreted to infer that Dyson products are inferior when they are definastely not. As an engineer I believe that Dyson products are in the higher echelon of quality. That does not mean that none may fail prematurely, that is the nature of modern mass production.

The discussion should be on many rertail outlets mistaken belief that after a short period (ie 14 days) they have no responsibility to remedy a failure. I had a similar situation with an Electrolux product which I bought as a gift for my daughter. When it failed on first use the retailer (not BigW) refused to replace the item as I had bought it more than 14 days previously. I contacted Electrolux, they were apologetic and contacted the retailer to organise a replacement to be sent to us the same day.

When you purchase an item from a shop your contract is with them, not the manufacturer. Under the Goods and Services acts in each state if you buy something it has to be fit for the purpose for which it was bought. You have the right to return the item to the shop within a reasonable time and demand either a replacemnet of the same value or a refund. The shop may try to offer you a credit to spend there however this is a breach of the Act. They may claim they have to send it back to the manufacturer but they have a contract with the manufacturer, not you.

Say if you returned an item after some length of time the shop could be right to refuse to replace the item as a late return could be considered fair wear and tear, not a fault with the item. A shop that makes out that goods returned after 2 weeks is incorrect. I recently bought an alarim clock for $60 however I could not open the back to insert the battery. I took it back to ths hop and every clock in that price range was hard to open. I settled for a clock that cost $20 and worked. The shop offered me a credit to spend there but I reminded them of the coditions for sale under the Act. I received my refund.

Many shops rely on peoples' ignorance about these matters. In my case i studied consumer law as part of a degree at university and knew my entitlements. Anyone with a faulty item should google the Act in your state and acquaint yorself with the conditions of sale. Many staff in shops are unaware of these conditions and just follow the shop's policy but it could be wrong.

"Say if you returned an item after some length of time the shop could be right to refuse to replace the item as a late return could be considered fair wear and tear, not a fault with the item."

Well not quite. Because the article must also 'last' for an amount of time considered 'reasonable'. So when you buy say a TV, you expect it to last longer than a year (regardless of the warranty/guarrantee). If it fails after the 12 month warranty has expired, you may still be able to claim under consumer law if it failed in an unreasonable timeframe..

I had a Dyson vaccuum cleaner motor blow up about 12 months after I bought it. It was still under warranty so I contacted the store where I bought it (not BigW) and was told to contact the manufacturer. Was then told by the Dyson company to send it interstate, cost free, to have the motor replaced. That was a hastle, finding big enough box and packaging it up with bubble wrap etc. I did think at the time that since it was still under warranty the problem should have been rectified via the store where I purchased it.

Its all very well having laws about faulty purchases but I have had two retailers refuse to abide by these laws.

1. I purchased a replacement gas-lift for my office chair from Mile End Office Furniture at (I learnt later) a much inflated price. The gas-lift failed within a week and the retailer promptly referred me back to the interstate wholesaler who replaced and installed the unit saying it wasn’t their job to do so. The retailer maintains to this day they were correct

2, I purchased a Dyson Big Ball vacuum cleaner from the Good Guys at Noarlunga. Soon after I had vacuumed the very first room the cleaner gave off a hot plastic-type of smell and was hot to the touch. The arrogant young sales girl at Good Guys refused to accept it was faulty and the smell was simply ‘a new smell’ after assembling the machine (which she had no idea of how to do) and running it for a few minutes. Had I not contacted Dyson customer assistance direct I would have been stuck with this expensive lemon. Dyson to their credit organised a replacement, much to the Good Guys disgust, as were my rights within 14 days which the Good Guys had trampled.

Had the Office of Fair Trading any spine and prosecuted these errant retailers it would have saved me a lot of worry


Returned product to Kogan within 3 days of purchase.  Not a problem.  Then email sent saying a credit note was in my account with 3 months to use it.  Immediately emailed back.  Said did not want the credit wanted a refund.  Straight away same day email back saying the money would be refunded to Paypal.  They were just "trying it on".  Lo and behold 3 months later out come the Shonky Awards and guess who featured for this exact problem.  As others have said you do NOT have to take a credit note you are entitled to a full refund if product has been returned and they have accepted it back.  Kog are not above consumer law so stand on your digs and tell them you know your rights.