Shoes, boxes and warranties

I’ve been promising myself for months to ask this question, but as usual life gets in the way.

When buying new shoes from various stores I’ve always refused to take the box - I have no user them and I would need to dispose of it anyway, soI let the store put it in recycling. However, when I say that I don’t wish to take the box, they insist that if I wish to return the shoes then they cannot/will not accept them as the manufacturers insist that any ‘faulty shoe’ be returned in the box.

What are my warranty rights when faced with these comments


There is no legal requirement to return defective or unfit for purpose goods in any packaging, and any such stated requirement is a breach of the ACL.

“You do not have to return products in the original packaging in order to get a refund.”

However, a “change of mind” return is a different story.


Thank you Fred.

I actually thought this, but now I have it in writing, because the
‘shoe shop (s) staff claim that’ that’s the instructions from the manufacturers’. I always make sure that I’m completely happy with my purchase of shoes, and because they are not a cheap item I often take several visits before I actually spend money. I have never had a ‘change of mind over shoes’ and I do understand that requirement.



I also agree with the answer from @fred123.

While not shoe boxes, if one has bought say an expensive and fragile product, one may consider keeping the packaging should the item need to be sent back to the retailer/manufacturer for a repair or refund under the ACL. The reason for this is that many consumer buy online products which are posted/couriered to their collection point. It is also likely that these same online stores may require the item to be posted/couriered back to them in the case of a warranty claim. If one reuses the original packaging, there there can’t be any disputes in relation to who may be responsible for any transit damage should it occur in return to the manufacturer. Using the original packaging demonstrates that the item was packaged acceptably as it is the same as that used by the manufacturer/retailer.

Sometimes it may also not be practicable to keep all packaging in ones residence in anticipation of a warranty claim. If the packaging has been discarded, it is also good to obtain advise from the retailer/manufacturer on how to package the item for its return. This may involve the retailer/manufacturer providing replacement packaging if risks are too high.


Isn’t the return of a product to the repairer or manufacturer a responsibility of the retailer and manufacturer?

As you suggest for online delivered goods, returning the same needs the original or an acceptable level of packaging.

For goods a customer returns to the retailer, why should the customer be responsible for any subsequent handling of the goods?

It’s interesting that for many tech items the retailers and manufacturers try to put arrangements that appear to differ from the ACL in place. IE Do not return the goods to the retailer!

Some products come with a warranty instruction that requests you keep the original packaging in case of a need to return for repair. They provide a manufacturers warranty contact. Others offer a service to send out packaging for postal/courier returns for repair.

It would seem that in both these instances the manufacturers Australian agent is offering a service by bypassing the retailer.

Is it safe to assume that if retailers and manufacturers can establish a pattern of some customers dealing with the manufacturers more directly:
There will be a push by retailers and manufacturers to cancel the ACL provision for retailers to be responsible for warranty? :thinking:

The ACCC website under ‘Returning the Product’ outlines responsibilities. While the retailer/manufacturer is responsible for the costs of the returned product, and for big heavy products potentially its collection, it is silent on packaging requirements smaller lighter items such as those often purchased online and posted/couriered.

If a consumer sends a product back and fails to adequately protect it from damage through transport back to the retailer/manufacturer, the retailer/manufacturer can’t be responsible for the inadequate actions of a customer which results in transport damage.

Sorry, I thought I said that.

If it was not an online or couriered purchase, and you physically return the goods to the place of purchase?

Surely that is the end of your obligations under the ACL re handling and safe transport of the goods.

I’ve yet to turn up at The Goodguys store front with a failed fridge in the Ute, but I guess that is all I need to do within the warranty period. Standard removal styled wrapping and protection removed on unloading. Their problem at store entrance?

Yes, in reality The Goodguys and others offer a better service direct to home. Unless you live a little more remotely. It then becomes a game of trying to get an authorised repairer to turn up from 250km or so away. Simpler to load the fridge up, properly secured and protected and return to place of purchase on the next trip to town. It’s that or green meat for a month!

As a practical matter if it is rigidly mandated that the warranty is always done by the retailer, every warranty issue would be customer->retailer but many would then be customer->retailer->manufacturer adding costs as well as overheads and time the consumer is without product.

It could be a careful what you wish for scenario when one is sus about motives re dealing with the manufacturer.

I consider what my warranty issue is and which company (retailer or manufacturer) is going to be my best shot, and go with it. If I go to the manufacturer and they knock me back I go to the retailer. That has worked well for me.

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A choice for the path of least resistance.
There is no argument with that strategy.

Except when the ‘Path of Least Resistance’ translates to the ‘Path of Greater Inconvenience’.

IE Retailers arguing the ACL and a manufacturer/importer being far far away in both space and time, sorry distance and phone queued service support.

No longer a discussion re packaging of goods for return?

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Indirectly related to the issue of keeping packaging to return to [X]. If one deals with the manufacturer the packing would make for convenience should it need to be sent; if dealing with the retailer down the street, not so much.

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The ACL as per the ACCC site just says " You do not have to return products in the original packaging in order to get a refund" in regards to packaging requirements.

The cost of properly packaging and posting the item back are also claimable as long as the costs are reasonable for the type of item and it is confirmed the item was faulty “You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem, so keep your receipts”.

When the item is large the business is responsible for transporting the item but a consumer needs to keep in mind that the business can recover the costs if the item is not faulty but they should provide you an estimate before the goods are collected by them “If the product is found not to have a problem, you may be required to pay the transport or inspection costs. An estimate of these costs should be provided to you before the product is collected, and the costs must not be inflated in an attempt to deter you from pursuing your claims”.

If buying direct from the manufacturer the ACCC has this to say:

"Goods bought directly from the manufacturer

Manufacturers and importers act as suppliers when they sell goods directly to consumers and have the same responsibilities under the consumer guarantees.

What if the manufacturer fails to honour an express warranty?

If the manufacturer refuses to honour an express warranty or fails to do so within a reasonable time, the consumer can take legal action to enforce the warranty in a tribunal or court.
The consumer can also:
• assert their rights under the consumer guarantees
• ask for compensation for consequential loss due to the manufacturer’s failure to meet the warranty

What if there is no express warranty?

If there is no express warranty and the manufacturer has not met a consumer guarantee, the consumer can assert their rights under the consumer guarantees."

That is the manufacturer is treated exactly the same as a retailer in these cases.


As was mentioned by many of us many times, that is the rub. The government does not care excepting in the most egregious or widespread circumstances and it is up to each individual to fund the legal costs and or attend XCATs, hoping to recoup it all.

Celebrating the ACL is good so long as the consumer is aware of that fairly significant deficiency. A good company will honour the ACL in fact as well as spirit; some dodgy companies still thumb their noses beyond the obvious and trivial cases (and sometimes all cases) and effectively ‘walk away’ with comparative impunity, suffering some bad press or scathing reviews that do not always translate into lost profits.


We rarely take the box, and have never been told that by any shoe store.


I recently had a small ‘under warranty’ problem on one of my Fisher & Pykel Dish Drawers. I rang the retailer who advised me that F&P would rather I ‘ring them direct’. I replied that I wanted to put this through the retailer as described under the ACL. They had no problem taking my details, and just reiterated that this was really quite ok with them, but that this was a direct request from F&P to the retailer. The problem was fixed within 1 week of me phoning the retailer. Perhaps the manufacturer is trying to’get around legislation’ by having the customer call them direct?


If the problem is timely resolved, is it important who did it? It is only when one is fobbed off that the retailer has to be given the onus to make it right.

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Not always the case under ACL that using the manufacturer is the best option as the ACCC state “You can approach the manufacturer or importer directly, however, you will only be entitled to recover costs from them, which include an amount for reduction in the product’s value and in some cases compensation for damages or loss. You cannot demand a repair, replacement or refund from the manufacturer”. So no right to demand repair, replacement or refund if you go to the manufacturer. You are entitled to only the cost in reduction in value and perhaps compensation. However if the Manufacturer acts as a retailer by selling direct to a customer then they will be treated the same as a retailer.


Thank you for your latest comment. Certainly worth remembering.


After reading the reply from grahroll, I now understand why the ‘correct procedures’ are in place.


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