Is Bunnings's plant refund fair dinkum?

A few days ago I bought an “advanced tree” which was basically a 2 meter tall plant. It cost $150. I live not too far from Bunnings but could not transport this large plant in my car.
Bunnings has outsourced deliveries to a third party who offer transportation by ute, van or large (enclosed) truck.

Vans are too small for this tree. I considered a ute but one saleswoman warned me that delivery by a ute almost guarantees “it would be damaged” by not only the poor driving of the delivery crew but also by the elements.

The only option left was delivery by closed truck. This short trip for the delivery guy cost me $90

After thanking the woman, another staff member told me that “if the plant dies or does not thrive within a year of purchase, with your receipt we’ll replace it or refund you”.

I said “that sounds good, a dead tree in under a year and with my receipt you’ll refund $240. That’s a good deal”.

“No, no, no” the staff member began, “you misread me. Your outlay on the plant is refundable, but not the $90 delivery you paid”.

“So, let me see if I get this correct” I began, “the tree dies, I bring it back with the receipt seeking a replacement and while I get a refund or a free replacement, I have to shell out another $90 for delivery? And that assumes delivery doesn’t climb from $90”?

My question is: given Bunnings’ policy of refunds, should I not be refunded everything I paid ie the delivery fee too? After all, a customer who buys say a $15 plant and carries it home will be fully compensated if his tree dies inasmuch as he’ll get back all he spent, the entire $15 or a replacement plant.

It seems to me that Bunnings’ policy discriminates amongst customers and if so, that’s not allowed, is it?


Not quite. Bunnings doesn’t compensate for wear and tear, or fuel use of the customer’s car…or the customers time taken to drive to and from their stores. If they did, then it would be reasonable to expect they would reimburse the freight cost for those customers which can’t the plant home themselves.

Edit: Bunnings also provides information on ‘outsourced deliveries to a third party’ to allow customers to engage a delivery contractor to take their purchases home, should it be needed (such as an oversized plant). The customer in effect will be engaging the services of the delivery contractor and one can’t expect Bunnings to be responsible for any costs associated with that of the contractor. If the third party delivery contractor say had an accident and cause damage to your purchases, as they are a third party, they would be responsible for making good any damage. One can’t expect Bunnings to be responsible for the damage of a third party contractor that the customer engaged.


It is their guarantee not their obligation to replace or refund the plant, nor replace it in situ in your garden. They can cast it any way they wish to since it is not covered in any legislation. If a plant died in a year it could be more likely the lack of proper care (taken in a broad sense) by the consumer as buying an unhealthy plant.

As for discrimination, customers are responsible for getting their goods home by whatever method they choose whether or not for fees. Those with trucks, vans, cars, motorcycles, pushbikes and nil transportation are treated similarly because the product is essentially sold FOB origin.

FWIW we had one die in a year and they replaced it without drama so they uphold their guarantee.


This warranty is offered by Bunnings on top of your rights under consumer law so they are entitled to set the limits and conditions. They are giving an extra warranty on the trees only, accessory costs (transport, water, fertiliser etc) are not relevant if they say they are not.

If you want to pursue them for the delivery cost (two ways if you have to return the corpse) you would have to do it under consumer law.


yes, what if I chose to use my private jet to pick up a plant & fly it to my country property (this is fantasy BTW) - would you expect reimbursement for the jet fuel and pilot’s wages?


I don’t quite understand your point. I paid Bunnings for the plant and for the delivery. It was not clear to me at the time of payment - nor do I think it matters - that a third party will deliver the item.

Also, it was not like I had any other option but to use the delivery service I was offered. I don’t know many caRs that can transport a plant >2 metres in height and I was told by Bunnings staff that they only recommend transport by an enclosed truck. Surely nobody would expect me to hire such a truck? Hence used the delivery service I was offered.

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@syncretic point taken
@killerheel your jet is above and beyond what is needed to get the item to your garden, my point is that there was no cheaper way to get the plant to my garden.
@PhilT points taken.

FWIW I was educated by Bunnings staff that their policy of price match is limited to those vendors that consider themselves retailers and excludes those vendors that sell to Joe Public but consider themselves wholesalers or if Bunnings considers them as anything but straight out retailers.

I found a nursery selling the same plant for $108. I mentioned this to Bunnings staff. The nursery has “wholesale” in its name but will sell to Joe Public on two conditions:

  • Online purchase only (that is, no browsing allowed at the nursery followed by buying the plant at the nursery) AND

  • Once the online purchase is ready for dispatch it can either be collected by the customer, at a designated point at the nursery, or it can be sent by courier.

Really? Are you sure? For example could you have hired your own transport for the plant?

I suspect even had you ordered online you would have had to pay delivery too and the same refund conditions would have applied.

It may not seen fair but Bunnings are not the only organisation that does not refund postage/delivery and you have to pay to return the goods as well.

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Thanks for the feedback.
To your point on transport, I could not hire an enclosed truck, similar to what was used to transport the tree to me, for under the fee I paid of $90.
As mentioned, staff made clear to me not to transport the plant in an open top vehicle as it will be exposed to the elements. Also to be mindful that delivery drivers are not gentle drivers and are keen to deliver what they have picked up at the warehouse as quickly as they can so they can get home asap. It was staff who made clear that only a closed truck - where the plant is protected from the elements and is carried upright - is the mode I should arrange.

I understand from the replies that Bunnings need not reimburse me the delivery fee in case of a refund for the plant alone. I suppose few customers would take Bunnings up on this offer in the case of a dead plant, because who knows if the replacement plant will last the distance and in any case, the customer will have to pay again for the delivery.
In my case, if the plant dies I will not ask for a replacement. I will ask for a refund, if that is available.

I have a slightly different version of poor adherence by Bunnings to reimbursement for a plant that died. In November last year, I visited Bunnings to buy an electric mower and quite a few garden supplies. I purchased a reddish coloured Begonia plant for $12.95 as part of the $450 value of the purchase. I also bought a pot to replant the Begonia and potting mix. Having repotted the plant it slowly died about 2 weeks later. Since we live 2hours’ drive from Bunnings, I rang Bunnings and asked if I could send a photo of the plant when I bought it and what it looked like after 2 weeks. I was queried about what potting mix I had used and what pot that I had used which were all on the Bunnings receipt. The lady said to send in the email & phots with copy of the receipt for refund; I did that but never heard anything from Bunnings. 5 months later, my husband visited Bunnings for some more products, so I gave him the copy of my email, photos included and copy of receipt as part of the email. However when he presented this evidence to the cashier, she said that she could not refund the $12.95 as the bottom part of the receipt did not show the required details. We should have taken the plant back personally with the original receipt. My husband pointed out the size of the total purchase and that we lived 2 hours’ drive away. Eventually the cashier gave a refund that was off set against the products purchased on the second trip. I doubt that I would have ever got any refund unless I came in person and bought more products to offset the refund. Not a good look for Bunnings with all their promises of refunds on their plants (except seedlings). Also if I had repotted the plant with my own soil in my own pot, that would have cancelled their refund policy. It is not the $12.95 that is important but the genuine approach needed by Bunnings to keep their guarantees is required.

It is a stated requirement to have the receipt for a refund.

Bunnings and an increasing number of other businesses will send a digital receipt via SMS and retrieval for the customer to avoid losing or having an illegible faded receipt, and without one of those I always scan the full receipt in case of a warranty claim. Many are too long for the flat bed scanner so I have to do incremental scans to get the header, items and bar code.

It appears the cashier processed your refund as a non-receipted one. I am just guessing, but without the bar code at the bottom of the receipt for their system to match the transaction, anyone with basic skills, a computer and some common software could make a bogus ‘receipt’ looking image; not suggesting you did but a bad actor could, hence they may want the bar code as verification.

I am not sure how far back Bunnings can/will do this but a few years ago (at least) given the date, approximate time, amount, and some other details their systems can retrieve old sales. Not easy and takes some time so not necessarily a task they might take on with a smile. It could be you encountered an unfriendly or lazy cashier rather than the Bunnings policy itself. It is equally possible they no longer do look-ups for customers who no longer have original receipts.

In your case it worked out but in you position if I were not buying more to cover the refund I would have had a chat with the manager.

Thanks for adding your experience as it might help others understand they need to keep that bar code on receipts to ease returns, and if they think they are being hard done by from front line staff to seek a manager to see how that goes.


I think Bunnings offer is a fair one,you are expections a bit much I think.


Isn’t the tree going to be exposed to the elements once you plant it? I don’t see how it is different if it is in a trailer or a ute. I see plants being transported in utes all the time.

IN any case, there are two transactions here:

  1. Buying the plant (good).
  2. Delivery (service)
    Once the plant is at your house, then #2 is completed, there is no need for a refund as it is fit for purpose. #1 is the subject of their additional offer.
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I think they are referring to the wind effect. The air going by as you drive at 60-100 kph will cause the tree to thrash about and quite possibly damage the leaves or worse. On a long trip the plant will also be dehydrated.

@syncretic Your infer correctly. This is what I was told

Sorry, but this is where I may have been unclear. There was one transaction, one invoice and two items on the invoice. At no time before or during the transaction was it made clear to me that it is not Bunning’s who is delivering the item, but a 3rd party.

It would seem self evident. The tree is a single item distinct from delivery. Bunnings commitment to supply a replacement tree or refund is for that single item. How one arranges for delivery is at the discretion of the customer. Bunnings seperate delivery service is not the only option available, although it may have been convenient. Unless the delivery service was deficient in some way it was completed as ordered.

The generosity of Bunnings plant guarantee is surprising.


Yes I agree. And in any case it’s not worth dying in a ditch over. Bunnings is offering more than they are required to as plants may die just from being transplanted expertly or inexpertly so I rather doubt that a plant dying well after purchase would be deemed unfit for purpose!

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I get that most folk are of the opinion that Bunnings’ guranatee for the plant and not delivery is a good gesture.
But I wonder how useful it is, even for the plant alone. A reading of their website reveals:

## Perfect plant promise

All our plants are guaranteed for 12 months*, so if you’re not 100% happy, return your plant (with receipt) and we’ll refund it.

*excludes seedlings, which include flower and vegetable seedlings as well as potted colour (bloomers), are short-lived plants that are not expected to live for more than 3-5 months in the garden. As such the Perfect Plant Promise would not apply to these plants.

If my very heavy, 2 meter tall plant contracts a disease and begins to die, am I really going to spend $90 on the same delivery people to haul it back to Bunnings?
Or spend a little less hiring a car ot ute (say $70) to deliver it myself?

This guarantee in my case reminds me of airlines that offer compensation vouchers that can only be used to purchase tickets via the airline at “published” prices ie they cannot be used to buy discounted airfares.

One has to remember that the Bunnings’ Perfect Plant Promise is in addition to rights under the ACL, which Choice has covered in the past…

Bunnings could use misuse provisions under the ACL to refuse a refund, such as plants not watered, accidentally sprayed with herbicide or planted in the wrong location (contrary to label recommendations) which cause diseases/mortality.

A reasonable person possibly wouldn’t return a plant under the Bunnings’ Perfect Plant Promise if they caused the plant to die, and wouldn’t expect Bunnings to pay for transportation of any plants (like that which can occur under the ACL for faulty products).

If say you got the plant home and found it was a rootless branch pushed into a pot, the ACL would apply. If some sort of gardening factor or misuse lead to a problem with the plant, then this sits outside the ACL and Bunnings can reasonably specify conditions it will honour, such as not paying for transportation.

If one isn’t happy with the Bunnings’ Perfect Plant Promise, they have the choice to shop elsewhere, where plants are potentially cheaper and propagated/ongrown by experienced horticulturalists (like at a quality local nursery).

Agree with you it sux. Not everyone has a truck or ute or van. Hopefully none of this will eventuate and the tree will thrive. Thanks for sharing.