The Meeting Place

Popular furniture company fined over refund policy

Freedom Furniture has been forced to pay $25,200 in fines after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued it with two infringement notices for alleged false or misleading representations to customers about their rights to refunds.

Infringement notices were issued after Freedom Furniture last year published a statement on its website that proclaimed: “Furniture items cannot be returned or exchanged, except at Freedom’s absolute discretion”.

The ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe Freedom Furniture contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by making this alleged false or misleading representation. 

The ACCC was concerned that the representation was likely to have given the impression that consumers could not return or exchange faulty furniture items unless Freedom Furniture allowed them to do so, when that is not the case under the ACL consumer guarantees.

“Retailers must not misrepresent consumer guarantee rights to their customers,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Under the Australian Consumer Law consumers have the right to ask for their choice of a repair, replacement or refund when they have purchased a product that has a fault which amounts to a major failure.”

Are you aware of your rights when seeking a refund?

2 comments

I bought a TV last year from a well known web based company. The TV was advertised as a Smart TV, 'with Netflix'. After buying it, we could not get Netflix. Contacted the store, and they said there had been a fault in the software, and I needed to download a very complicated update procedure.

2 months later, a message popped up on the TV saying it leeded an update. Did the update - and the TV completely died. Totally black - could not even turn on. We had followed all instructions, and it was clear the TV faulty, so I wanted a refund. The company would NOT listen to me. Said I needed to return the (65" TV) from Brisbane to Melbourne at my cost, they would decide if it was faulty: if it was, they would replace it. If it wasn't they would charge me a 20% restocking fee, and give me a credit to be used within 3 months. 

This was NOT the advertised top of the line TV I had bought. And I had no confidence in returning the TV and them saying it was OK when it was clearly faulty. So I hired an independant TV technician to do a check, who told me it was riddled with software problems, and, what he believed, was a reconditioned unit. Certainly not what I originally paid allot of money for. I wanted a refund, but the company refused to budge. I lodged a complaint with Consumer Affairs who confirmed I could either get the unit replaced, get a refund, or get a credit. Funny how the wheels then turned quickly. Within 24 hours, the TV was picked up, and I received a full refund, plus the TV check cost.

Many company's KNOW the consumer rules, they just try to push the boundaries to have it their way.  

Yes I got the run around with a dishwasher as it died three monthis after the finish of the warranty.  When I reminded them of the change in consumer laws 2011 the old machine was picked and a new one delivered almost immediately.

2 comments