I am clearly a bit slow in answering this, especially when compared to that teacher's pet @grahroll.
To briefly change the subject, @BrendanMays, did you get the apple I sent? Royal Gala are your fave, right? No problem, it just happened to be around the place and I thought "I reckon Brendan likes apples". Let me know if you prefer oranges. (I do hope it gets to you; I addressed it to Brendan in Sydney, so the postal guys should know where to take it.)
On a more serious note, are the signs illegal, or is the policy illegal? I have seen plenty of places with signs saying 'no refunds', but what you say and what you do are not necessarily the same. Do the Shop Police barge in, point to the sign and say "'allo 'allo, wha's all dis then?", or do they wait until you have bought something, found it defective and been unable to return it for a replacement or refund?
Are 'no refund' signs lawful at a bake sale, after you have found half a worm in your toffee apple?
I did read something on the ACCC website that Australian Consumer Law applies to anyone seeking to sell products in Australia, and so pushed that line with a Chinese Ebay seller whose electronics were not working. From this experience, I found that:
- English comprehension skills can diminish considerably in a matter of days; and
- Sometimes, it is worthwhile to follow the instructions.
So from my perspective, Australian Consumer Law worked fine internationally. (In fact, the seller was extremely kind and helpful, and provided me with the guidance I needed as well as reassurance that they would 'sort it out'.)