Slip covers for sofas

I ordered two lounge slip covers online. The colour was advertised as ‘Pistachio’, and that was apt for the pale green item pictured. What arrived was a mid-dark grey, with no hint of green in it. [The quality was also far inferior to what I’d imagined, but that’s a separate issue.] For six weeks now, I’ve been trying to obtain a refund or replacement – even offering to pay for return. They refuse, saying that return would be too expensive because they are ‘abroad’ and offering a discount (which has moved from 10% to 20% to 30%) adding that I can: ‘give it to someone as a gift, resell, or keep it for future use’. When I – belatedly – decided to look for reviews of the company online, I found one site ( with 37 reviews none giving more than the single star necessary to actually leave a review, and all with similar stories to mine. The company’s web address has a ‘’ ending and the envelope shows the sender’s address as a PO Box in Alexandria NSW. However, the goods seem to have been manufactured in China or Hong Kong and it’s anybody’s guess what sort of presence the company actually has in Australia, so I don’t know what chance there is of action by any Australian consumer protection / fair-trading body. However, I really dislike the thought that a company can continue to get away with this sort of approach, so I’d appreciate any advice as to how it might be possible to do something about them (whether or not my issue can be solved).


Welcome to the Community @Iloren

Doing something about them may be impossible but assuming you paid by credit card, and the time from the charge is within your issuers limit to do so, typically 60 or 90 days, lodge a chargeback dispute through your credit card (or paypal if you used that) for misrepresented merchandise (wrong colour) and see how that goes.

The card issuer will give you a temporary credit and ask the company to ‘please explain’. The card issuer may accept their claim and reinstitute the charge but if you have solid evidence you should prevail and the charge would be voided.


Ui @Iloren, welcome to the community.

You face one if the major challenges buying online, determining what the colour or quality of an item from photos taken.

Colour matching, especially, is challenging as it can be influenced by equipment used to take images and the display settings/quality at the consumers end. One has to rely on product information provided by the seller.

The use of the term pistachio as a colour descriptor may not necessarily mean light green. These sort of descriptors are devised by advertising/marketing personal to make a colour seem more attractive, special/unique and exclusive. An example being saying a shirt is ‘light grey’ or ‘pale green’ compared to ‘pistachio’ is why they use such terms.

This also creates a problem for you. Pistachio colour is not what you think the colour may be (pale green) but what the seller wants to call it. This is shown by…

and the ranges of colours which are called pistachio. They range from light to medium greys to pale to medium greens.

It could be argued the colour they sent you is ‘pistachio’. If they sent a black lip cover when you ordered white, it would be clear a mistake has been made. Sending a slip cover which could be perceived as ‘pistachio’ in colour is very different.

Usually buying online and on receipt finding you don’t like the colour, this falls into what is called a change in mind. Change of mind falls outside the Australian Consumer Law. This is one of the risks of buying online compared to viewing in person. Change of mind is strengthened when product details include marketing names for colour rather than a colour per say.

The chances of taking it further and getting a chargeback or refund in other ways is unlikely to be successful for the reasons outlined above - as it will be considered a change in mind.

While you may not wish to hear this, you might have to put the purchase down as a lesson of the risks when buying online (sight unseen).


As it was pictured and the colour was describing that colour on the picture, it could be argued that what was received was not as displayed and therefore a major or possibly a minor failure. As it was displayed online and the buyer had no other option to determine the colour, the seller had an obligation to provide an accurate colour match to what was seen.

  • goods match any description given to them, either verbally or on packaging or labelling (ACL section 56)
  • goods match any sample or demonstration model (ACL section 57)”

Matches description

Any description of a product by a business must be accurate, whether written or spoken.


A consumer orders a set of pink towels online based on the colour chart supplied by the business. The towels delivered are red.

The consumer can claim that the towels don’t match the description by the business.”


What would be the chance of winning that argument with an overseas vendor who really doesn’t care for Oz law?


Does the OP also describe a challenge finding reliable suppliers in what is a globalised online market place?

I’ve twice had products ordered from as far as I could ascertain Aussie based suppliers arrive in the mail shipped direct from SE Asian locations. No surprise given they were tech not made or available off the shelf in Australia.

Would a reasonable person expect “pistachio” to be any colour other than some shade of pale green?
It even has accepted dictionary definitions.

For the scientifically minded it is possible to measure the spectral response of a surface under natural or artificial light sources and compare the measurements scientifically. Hopefully predominantly in the range (495-590nm)?

We’ve noticed some of our household treasures change hue dramatically depending on which lights are turned on, and are different again under filtered natural daylight. EG soft - bright - muddied light blue in one instance. All LED sources. The old incandescent bulbs seemed to have less of an influence.

I would disagree. At the consumer end the setup in a monitor/screen, firmware/software and the quality of a screen can significantly affect how the colour looks online in a displayed image. Greens, greys and blues in particular can look a different colour on different devices. The angle of viewing can also significantly impact on colour - straight on the colour will be more intense - at an angle the colour washed out. Likewise, the device used to take the photograph as well as the lighting can affect the colour as well. The seller can correct these to some point, but can’t correct the colour which is shown on the buyer’s end or whether this colour is an accurate representation of the product’s colour.

As shades are grey, blue and greens, as shown in the screenshot above, can be called ‘pistachio’, the colour of the product which was delivered can be called ‘pistachio’. If the description has said pale green pistachio, which it was believed would be the case from ones perception of their own colour of pistachio, then there may be some wriggle room for the advertising not matching the description of the product. The information provided indicates that the product would be ‘pistachio’ and would meet the description of the product viewed online. A seller can’t be blamed for a different colour or shade as this can’t reasonably be controlled by the seller - but can be influenced by the buyer.

Yes, pistachio can be greys through to light pinks to green (and in the past pistachios were also dyed red and many thought this was the colour of pistachos). The information indicates that the product was sold as ‘Pistachio’ and didn’t indicate it was green. If it was sold as ‘Pistachio green’, then one would then possibly have an issue with the product which was delivered as it wasn’t green but other colours which Pistachio could also be.

If one has every selected paints for the home, they will realise the marketing terms used for colour … and that using the marketing descriptor may have no relationship to one’s perception of what the colour may be. The same applies to the fashion and textile industry. For fabrics, these are some examples of how products marketed as being the colour pistachio vary:


They are rather orange in hue compared to fluorescent or LED, you may miss it as our eyes adapt and we tend to ignore it. It will be very obvious if you take non-flash photos under incandescent and in daylight of the same subject. Faces will seem quite sun burnt.

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Point noted, but not consistent as previously indicated per the dictionary.

Perhaps the fine print in the T&C’s of the product order might offer the supplier some scope, to better understand whether the supplier has failed to adequately describe the product in the online marketing. It’s not currently available as a point of reference. Hence speculation the supplier has supplied as ordered.

Is it possible the supplier has made an error in their system and used a different coloured fabric?

Doubtless we can all find past variances and exceptions to any argued position. Reasonable these days is the earth is shaped like a round ball. A street poll might be the best way to test common understanding of pistachio as a colour.

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The dictionary is for the definition of ‘pistachio green’ and not ‘pistachio’, which was the colour quoted for the slip cover. One would perceive ‘pistachio green’ as being some sort of shade of green. ‘Pistachio’ could be any colour a marketer dream of, just like paint colours.

Irrespective of this, the colour ‘pistachio’ is a marketing term to make a dull colour sound more appealing.

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When an item is described as ‘cherry red’ we might get variations but we would expect a basically ‘red’ colour. Pistachio takes that name from the popular nut, we know what it looks like from the split on the beige shell and the exposed nut: it is basically a pale yellowish green. Granted that photos, for many and varied reasons, cannot give a true idea of the colour, but @Iloren has seen the actual colour of the lounge slip and pistachio is definitely not mid-dark grey!!
I would call that misrepresentation and take it further. We should not be hesitant to stand up for our rights even if we feel that there’s not much chance of success, it is our duty as consumers for ourselves and for others.


That is correct, but the description of the colour wasn’t ‘pistachio green’. Thinking ‘pistachio’ is green is one’s own perception. It is worth doing an internet search of say pistachio icecream to see that green is only one potential colour, and there are whites through to cream to green to mustards and yellow. Likewise with pistachio nuts, their epidermis or shell.

I will use an example why perception shouldn’t be used for marketing descriptors of colours. There is a marketing descriptor for a paint colour which is called white cabbage. Is it white or a variation of white since there is white in the descriptor? It is green which like the outside leaves of a Dutch White cabbage, or cream like the internal leaves? It is a blue/green colour like some older outer leaves? It is yellowish which can also be a blanched form of Dutch white cabbage? It is none of these…Dulux White Cabbage Colour…and not a colour I would associate with ‘white cabbage’.

This is why one should never think they know what the colour is when a marketing descriptor is used. There is a high chance they will be wrong.

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I’m sorry, I just can’t accept that when ordering online and choosing the colour of the item we are purchasing we could be sent an item of a totally different colour (or non colour like grey, beige, taupe, etc) on the basis that the colour we though we were choosing is just a marketing descriptor of what that colour looks like. I can understand nuances of a colour varying somewhat, but the basic description should be there, when we see the term cherry red, or sky blue, or hazelnut, we have a fair general idea of the colour and when we see pistachio we expect a pale greenish shade, no matter how many tones and shades of the nut exist in the real colour world of pistachios.
We certainly wouldn’t expect a tonality of Grey to show up.
Even if it is a ‘marketing descriptor’ being used I do still believe it is deceptive representation.


Much of the fashion, fabric, painting, furniture, car etc etc use marketing descriptors instead of understandable or easily recognisable colours (such as dark green, blue green, pink etc). They romanticise the names to make them more attractive. It is deceptive, but has become a ‘convention’ to allow manufacturers/retailers to try and differentiate their products from their competitors. If one knows it is deceptive (or possibly better described as puffery) and not to be relied upon, then the risk or being caught out is reduced. Descriptive names assist with the selling of a product…which is why they are common and used widely.

It would be marketing puffery as no one would know exactly what the colour is and unlikely to be taken seriously (like the white cabbage example).


Nor I nor,

Perhaps @Iloren could ask the supplier one more thing. What is the hex colour code of the product supplied?

The only strong argument I can see for leaving the discussion is that the supplier is always right. In which instance we have no further need of consumer law or regulation. I’d hoped we’ve helped in some way @Iloren to look more carefully at what was offered for any indication the product was any colour other than a shade of green. There after it may be no more than having to accept the discount offered. If it had been an Australian business, it would be an option to approach the appropriate state consumer organisation for a remedy.

I can understand @phb suggestion that some colour descriptions are no more than inspiration, and inadequate on their own. Imagine “moon glow” or “brilliant dream” or “sea tempest”, and the average consumer would know they are made up names of colours that could be anything. Although if so they usually come with a colour chart to illustrate precisely the outcome. Pistachio is as much an accepted colour based on the natural hue from the kernel as is orange of it’s most come fruit. That at one time some of the nuts were treated with various coloured dyes in pinks and reds, had not changed what colour pistachio describes.

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One has to remember that pistachio is a tree nut and not a defined colour. ‘Pistachio green’ has been somewhat defined in the graphic arts world (but is a broad colour palette and isn’t a prescribed colour) and is also used as a marketing descriptor - ‘Pistachio green’ is different to ‘pistachio’ as the former gives an impression of being green. ‘Pistachio’ is a marketing descriptor where it can be used to describe in effect any colour.

Perception of what something may look like, is very different to reality. See the white cabbage example to why this is the case.

A seller is not every always right. When it comes to marketing and perceiving what would be call ‘puffery’, one needs to be careful and not make assumptions.

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It would be interesting to know how any consumer might come to know this is common language and use. I don’t know this and I’ve been buying stuff including multiple cans of paint for 6 decades. I expect it will remain unresolved between us without a legal ruling as to which interpretation the average consumer may be held to if seeking redress through the ACL. I’m not a lawyer, hence I’ll leave it as is. Any use of pistachio in reference to the colour of a product is ……. :wink:

Note: none of us has seen the original offer, website, or supplier’s T&Cs hence it’s impossible for any of us to provide a definitive answer on whether the colour offered was any shade other than a yellow green.

And from the OP

@Iloren is yet to offer a reply or feedback on progress, a 30% discount being one offer to remediate.

What the discussion has shown in that when a seller uses descriptors other than a known colour (colours of the rainbow + white and black) for a product’s colour, the colour could be anything. One should not believe that a non-colour word is a particular colour, as it is possible the colour will be different to that which one may perceive (see White Cabbage example and also applies to pistachio).

Pistachio is not a colour word. It is the fruit of an evergreen tree which produces the pistachio, with small brownish-green flowers and oval reddish fruit. It has many colours, one which is green. One shouldn’t assume that pistachio is always ‘green’ as it may not be the case (see palette in an earlier post of different colours also called ‘pistachio’). If one is purchasing a product based on a non-colour descriptor, then possibly they should confirm with the seller the colour of the item in common colour terms. Not doing so may mean the colour could be very different to what one may perceive or believe the colour to be.

The only real way to know definitely what the colour is, is to obtain a standardised colour breakdown such as CMYK colour values which can be used to determine independently a colour and whether it is acceptable. Whether such is possible for most products using non-colour descriptors is unknown or possibly unreliable where different batches can be slightly different shade to the past.

Relying on screen colour is also challenging as the colour on a screen is also not a reliable indication of the colour. Type of screens, firmware and software used, screen settings and how the screen is viewed can all affect the perceived colour - and could even change the colour appearance significantly in some circumstances.

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Many thanks, everyone, for your responses. I take the point many have made about variability in what can acceptably be termed ‘Pistachio’. I also appreciate that lighting and monitor can make a significant difference. So it comes down to how much difference is acceptable. The following screenshot is the closest I can come to enabling you to see what I saw on the supplier’s website (assuming the image I’ve inserted here actually comes through in my post).

It’s debateable whether Pistachio is an appropriate description of the colour. However, what I saw was clearly a pale green. Moreover, I imagine most people would take the choice of colour name as being intended to convey the impression of a pale green.

In presenting my case for a replacement or refund, I sent that photo to the supplier, along with two others of the item received – one of it in its plastic bag and another with the bag removed. [I tried to post those photos too but, as a newcomer, I was only able to upload one file.] The latter photos were taken at different points in my communication with the supplier, under different lighting conditions, and neither was truly representative of the colour I actually see. [Undistorted by screen shots, mobile phones or monitors, and irrespective of incandescent, fluorescent or natural light, there isn’t the slightest trace of green in the fabric; it’s not greenish-grey, or greyish-green (as some shades in the Pistachio colour-chart kindly posted by phb could be termed), it’s just grey.] Nevertheless, even they showed a sufficient difference in colour compared with the above photo that I find it hard to believe anyone could seriously insist that what I had received was Pistachio – or any shade of green for that matter.

In rejecting my claim, the company sent (inter alia) the following extract from their Terms and Conditions:

“We have made every effort to display as accurately as possible the colors and images of our products that appear at the store. We cannot guarantee that your computer monitor’s display of any color will be accurate. … All descriptions of products or product pricing are subject to change at any time without notice, at our sole discretion of us. We reserve the right to discontinue any product at any time. Any offer for any product or service made on this site is void where prohibited.

We do not warrant that the quality of any products, services, information, or other material purchased or obtained by you will meet your expectations, or that any errors in the Service will be corrected."

Unfortunately, I doubt I have a snowball’s chance of obtaining a Hex Code from these suppliers. However, I have taken up PhilT’s suggestion and lodged a dispute with my Bank. I don’t hold out much hope there either, and the matter will take some time to run its course, but it was worth trying and I’ll post again when the bank has made its decision. The pity is that many more consumers will doubtless fall into the same trap I did, unless they do as I should have done, and search for reviews of the company … before they purchase.

PS: As I’m about to post this, I see that mark_m has located my supplier!

… has located my supplier and posted the very image responsible for my purchase (one of a sofa with a pale green cover and a zebra skin on the floor before it). That will be especially useful if the photo I posted doesn’t come through.

And regarding the 30% discount: I wasn’t prepared to let them get away with that and have taken an ‘all or nothing’ approach.