The right to inspect goods before final payment

Hi there,

I ordered a product back in October and paid a 50% deposit (about $5,000), with the contract stating that the balance would be payable once the product was delivered. I went into the store today to collect the product and pay the balance but requested to the receptionist that I’d like to inspect the product first. At that moment the store manager stormed out of his office saying that I had no right to do that and that I had to pay the balance (as per the contact) or leave the premises and he’d send the product back. I remarked that, although I’m not a lawyer, I’m sure I have the right to inspect the product and, if it’s not what was agreed to, then I shouldn’t pay, regardless of what the contract says. His response was that “well, I know the law”. I said I’m sure he doesn’t know the law that well, and asked if he could please give me his manager’s details so I can follow it up with him. He then slinked away and disappeared.

As it turned out, once the manager had disappeared, the receptionist showed me the product and it was what was agreed to, so I paid the balance.

Can someone please point me towards the relevant regulations or consumer department to get the right advice (I’m in WA)?

I intend to take this up with the company but need some supporting information first.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


1 Like

The following provides advice and phone contact details for complaints, Commerce WA.

Consumer complaint checklist | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The T&C’s of the contract provided with the original order and deposit should provide further details on what has been agreed. Worth reading for any relevant content.

The ACL provides rights to a full refund if the product does not meet the description, as well as other consumer guarantees.

It’s common for larger goods to be delivered or available for pickup in a nearby warehouse. In both instances payment is usually in full in advance. Although if your purchase is unwrapped and in store, most staff would assist in an inspection where possible.


I have addressed a similar issue here:

While it isn’t a legal requirement under the Australian Consumer Law to allow consumers to inspect goods prior to purchase:

A consumer should also have the right to inspect goods at the time of purchase so that they can refuse receipt of the goods are not of acceptable quality.

The business not allowing customers to inspect contents of the bucket before purchase means that the business would be subject to product being returned for a refund/replacement soon after purchase has been made.

If was a legal requirement that consumers have a right to inspect goods before purchase, it might result in the end of online shopping or shopping where products purchases are made sight unseen.


Thanks @mark_m


Thanks @phb


If you seek advice from Commerce WA, it may be useful to share their advice assuming it can add to the discussion.


In addition to earlier post…

There are also practicalities of inspecting some goods before purchase, such a goods which are boxed to ensure they aren’t damaged through shipping/transport (e.g. a large boxed appliance such as a fridge). Opening some product’s packaging might impact on the customer’s ability to get the product home (e.g. mattress in a box).

Some products have anti-tamper seals/packaging to ensure the product is ‘new’ or unopened prior to purchase (e.g. some electronic goods).

While there isn’t a legal requirement in Australia to allow goods to be inspected, a reputable business should allow a customer to inspect a product prior to purchase where it is practicable to do so and the opening won’t prejudice the ability to sell the product to another customer in the future. This would most likely be apply to products which are unpacked/have no packaging or have packaging which can be readily opened with causing damage to the packaging.

The Australian Consumer Law has protections which apply and are relevant when goods can’t be inspected. These include the ‘consumer guarantees’ and those relating to misleading representation or advertising of a product (products being different to those advertised).