CHOICE membership

Refusal To Refund In Cash

A neighbour who does up cars told me today about an incident he had with the local GM dealer this week.

He ordered a spare part, asked for it to be air freighted, and paid for it in cash.

When the part had not arrived and he determined that it was not in stock at the supplier, he asked for a refund.

The employee asked him for his credit card, to which he replied that he had paid in cash and wanted a cash refund.

The employee claimed that they had no system to do so and they could only refund to a credit card.

What sort of a business accepts cash but then refuses to refund in cash, in contravention of the ACL?

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I had a quick look, but couldn’t find anything in the ACL which related to refunding like for like (cash for cash, or, credit for credit).

Could you please help me locate what you found?

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"

In the case of faulty items, you’re most certainly entitled to a remedy. If a business decides the best remedy is a refund then the business is required to issue a refund based on the original form of payment. Here is an excerpt from the ACCC:

“Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.”

This means that if you paid by Mastercard, the retailer will need to process the refund on your Mastercard. If you paid using cash, you should get cash back. But if you paid for your item using a gift card or credit note, then the store will provide your return in the form of a credit note."

" Replacements and refunds

You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.

Replaced products must be of an identical type to the product originally supplied. Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment."

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Excellent. Clearly I missed that. Now I know.

Thank you

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This possibly won’t fall under the ACL, but would potentially a breach of contract or sales T&Cs. One would need to also look at terms and conditions of the sale to see what it says in relation to failure or delays to delivery. In such case, refund requirements under the ACL wouldn’t apply.

The refunds under the ACL relate to those circumstances where the ACL applies and not any refund a business may provide. For example, a change in mind would not fall under the ACL. The cancellation of the supply of the part from Holden could also fit into a change in mind (due to the anticipated delivery time being unacceptable to the buyer).

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‘Possibly’ yet the ACL page was quoted including Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.

Isn’t it true that corporate T&C’s cannot abrogate one’s rights under the ACL, so what about the statement quoted from the ACL pages about refunds?

While @Fred123’s story is anecdotal, he being a third person,

which reasonably suggests a problem in the supply chain. What is unanswered is how the business responded to the part not being available from their supplier. If I were the customer I would possibly get ‘in their face’ if they tried to call it a change of mind because they could not timely, or possibly at all, supply.

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All T&Cs don’t come under the ACL. While T&Cs can remove obligations under the ACL, this only applies for those matters covered by the ACL. As outlined above, a potential change of mind or cancelling a purchase don’t come under the ACL.

The refund obligations above relate to remedies under the ACL, such as a product having a major fault.

It depends what transpired during the purchase. If the retailer had said that they had it in stock, then this could be misleading under the ACL…but if they said that the part is available and they can get the part in, then this means that there will be some time between the purchase and the stock being available to the retailer to onward forward to the customer. Seeing a local GM dealer and then having the part air freighted indicates that it is the later…and would not sit under the ACL as outlined in the first part of this post. If one cancelled the service knowing that it could take some time, then this falls outside the ACL and would be considered a change in mind. A change of mind as the time for delivery of the item does not suit the consumer.

Maybe @fred123 should ask his neighbour and GM dealer for the full circumstances about the part as asking one, one will only get the views of that particular party.

Can I then assume being held hostage to the whims of a business is OK?

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No, but similar experience occur in the travel industry (think of ACCC response to insurance and cancellation T&Cs for airlines), insurance industry etc.

There are what are also called unfair conditions, which are a catch all for those which fall outside the ACL. As the ACCC indicates, whether something is unfair can only be determined by a court or tribunal (and if potentially one has big pockets)

Edit: I should have also said that for those items fall within the application of the ACL, any terms and conditions which are seen as inconsistent with the ACL, the ACL would apply.

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I will double check with our neighbour for accuracy and post, but what he told me yesterday was hilarious.

A classic cop-out case which he was not going to stand for.

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I wonder if not covered under the actual Goods part of the ACL that it could be deemed a failure of a service, ie to provide a service to sell someone some goods, then this could be considered a failure of a service and would still be a matter under the ACL.

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The neighbour advised that when he went to collect his order, the employee claimed that the flights had been delayed.

He replied to the employee that the employee had just gone out the back to check the incoming freight so there bviously had been freight deliveries.

He further said that the part was obviously out of stock in Melbourne, and that he had not seen anything in the news about any planes having gone missing between Melbourne and Cairns.

The employee had no answers to that.

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Agree.

The ACL has a broad definition as to who is a “consumer”, and what is covered ref and it includes anyone who acquires:

  • goods or services that are priced at less than $40,000, or
  • goods or services of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption (even if priced greater than $40,000), or
  • a vehicle or trailer for use principally in the transport of goods on public roads.

I’m no lawyer. It’s very simple.
There are also other provisions that prevent contracting out and what constitutes unconscionable conduct.

That the supplier of the part is prepared to provide a refund suggests there is agreement they are unable to deliver on their promise.

P.S.
Personal experience with some suppliers is that the promise to supply by a date is conditional on stock being available at the time they place their order, or on ‘best endeavours’ for delivery. Cancellation of the order where provided usually includes a restocking fee. The fine print on the back of the signed sales order usually clarifies these points. The trap for the seller is the need to make the customer aware of any such conditions as part of their offer to supply up front. For the customer impatience and listening carefully are also important.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: COVID-19 Prepaid Airline, Accomodation & Tour Refunds, Rebookings