What to do about refusal to refund?

I bought a pair of shoes online, after they had been heavily promoted on Facebook, with advertising including the fact that they do “easy returns within Australia”, and supposedly half price for a limited time (which I suspect is ongoing). I bought them via the website, where at the top it still says “50% off January sale until today * Free shipping and easy returns in Australia”.

I have taken screenshots of their return policy, which includes a section “Refund policy” which mentions nothing about exclusions, beyond the fact that returns need to be instigated within 14 days. (I can supply the URLs, but don’t know whether I should be naming the company here.)

When the shoes arrived, over 3 weeks later, I found that the strap over the top of the foot does not overlap the Velcro fastener enough to stay on - it is just too short (despite my having ordered half a size above my usual size, based on their photos). While I do have a reasonably high instep, it is nothing deformed nor highly unusual.

Their refund process turns out to be not so quick and easy, requiring emailing them first to obtain details of the process. After emailing them the first time, they said that they would send me another pair and I only need pay only the postage. I replied saying that I didn’t think there was much point because the length of the strap is the issue and going up half a size is not going to fix that problem.

Their next email said that they had just checked, and as I bought the shoes on sale, “and we have posted on our website that items that are on sale can’t be returned”, also implying that it was a “preferences” issue rather than a problem with their product. Of course I followed up, pointing out what their website said, and that it was not my preference, but the fact that the item was not fit for use.

Next email says, sorry, only following company policy, with a link to a “terms and conditions page”, completely separate from the Returns and refund policy page, where buried among other text it says “Please take note that we don’t accept returns/exchanges for products bought on sale.”

To me this is misleading and dishonest, as any reasonable person would take their Returns page to be the authoritative source of how to get their returns processed, plus they push the “easy returns” policy as part of their advertising.

It’s not a huge amount of money - $44 - but this does not seem right or fair, so does anyone have any suggestions about what can be done next, if anything?


Please post it so we can ascertain if you shopped at a domestic or off-shore ecommerce site and so others can at least be aware of how they operate.

There are periodic posts about ecommerce businesses that are difficult to deal with when an item of apparel does not fit. Some think that is unconscionable and others think a consumer needs to read the T&C. Here is a related topic that may be instructive.

That is contrary to Australian Consumer Law. From p14 (hot linked)

… signs that state ‘no refunds’ or ‘no refund on sale items’, could lead consumers to believe they have no right to a refund under any circumstances, which is untrue because if a statutory condition has been breached, the consumer may be entitled to a refund. Policies that set a time limit, such as ‘no refunds after 30 days’, can be misleading because statutory rights have no time limits, other than what is ‘reasonable’.

The crux of the matter is whether you had a change of mind or there are other issues.

If it is a domestic ecommerce site you could write a formal Letter of Complaint citing that, and noting their ‘no refunds of sale items’ is against the ACL. If they are offshore they probably will not be impressed.

A bottom line oft repeated is prior to purchasing anything online, and especially clothing, it is imperative to look at their change of mind policy because if it goes poorly that will often be the litmus test regarding consumer rights - unless there are other issues in play.


Thanks for all of that, Phil T. I rarely buy clothes online, apart from a couple of local stores that I know well and have good returns policies, and I must say was very hesitant to undertake this transaction, hence had a good look at their returns policy before making the purchase. I would not have returned it for change of mind, but my point here is that their shoe does not fit an ordinary foot of that size. In fact their sizing was on the small side, but after looking at photos decided to go up half a size on my usual - the footbed is fine, but the top strap does not attach because it is not long enough.

They are Amelias Australia, and posted in Australia, although I noticed that the credit card transaction implied that it has connections to Hong Kong. https://ameliasaustralia.com/


They have a number of seriously red flags that they are off shore.

  1. no contact information beyond their online web form or the email listed in the ToU or any location information.
  2. These Terms of Service and any separate agreements whereby we provide you Services shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Europe.
  3. There are no references I could find to the ACL or to an ABN

I agree with you on the misleading nature of the refunds page as presented however anything related to a ‘change of mind’ is at most implied. The style of the statements are ‘not Australia’ - likely their home jurisdiction.

An ecommerce site to be avoided in my opinion.

You could try lodging a charge back on your credit card citing their refund policy and/or just offering to return the shoes. 50-50 how either could turn out.

This older topic might be helpful in future.

Please keep your topic updated as to how you decide to proceed and how it goes.


Thanks again, and for the hint about identifying offshore sites. I won’t be getting my fingers burnt again!

I have offered to return the shoes, but they have not supplied an address to ship them to.

How do I go about lodging a credit card charge back?

I have also considered bombing their FB site with negative comments, as they have posted only positive feedback of course (although I did notice that a couple had mentioned the white Velcro showing - a result of the straps not being long enough, obviously! - only their feet were apparently flatter than mine). What do you think about this idea?


Contact your card issuer, usually called ‘a dispute’. From Westpac

Mostly likely it will wind you up, and they will remove it.


Okay, thanks. I have to go out now, but will follow up and keep you posted.


Oh, one more question. Should I keep contacting them by email telling them what I’m doing and/or what I have ascertained, or keep mum until I have got an answer back about the charge-back?


I would not. The charge back process is that if your claim is timely, your issuer will give you a pending credit for the amount. The issuer will then (through MC or Visa or Amex etc) process the charge back claim that includes getting the vendor’s side of the dispute.

If the vendor ignores it or the process upholds your claim the credit becomes permanent. If they take the vendor’s side the credit is reverted back to a valid charge. One can still dispute that if it goes the wrong way and you have evidence it was an incorrect determination because [fill in your facts].

As part of the dispute be sure to indicate you tried to return the goods but they refuse/decline to provide an address, etc, etc. as well as a copy of their refunds page (not just a link as web pages can be altered on the fly and routinely are). Perhaps there is also something about that on your shipping/invoice docs that would be helpful.


I agree, it is highly unlikely that you will be successful dealing with a foreign company (more on that below). The ACCC highlights some of the risks of shopping internationally on their website:

Unfortunately, it is near impossible to force your Australian Consumer Guarantees on a foreign business (which Amelia Australia is). For the future, be very wary of buying anything through Facebook, Googe etc advertising, and there are a lot of scammers or foreign businesses which don’t care about customer service or upholding their own business policies. They are more about getting sales by offering unreal prices (which means the same applies to their products) or succeeding in their scams.

While there are genuine foreign businesses, one needs to have a high level of confidence that any interaction is with a genuine and trustworthy business.

The Amelia Australia website has some tell-tale signs of a business one should not deal with. The contact page lacks any contact information (only contact is by webform). Doing internet searches there is a lack of online information (zero) about the business. This indicates that it has been around for a short time and may be a popup front for scam type businesses.

It also appears that credit card companies/secure credit card payment platforms may have blocked transactions with them as the only form of payment available at checkout is Paypal (even though their website on other pages might indicate otherwise). The only other payment option is to provide your contact details so that they can contact you to make payment. If they contacted you for your credit card details (which allows them to process against the credit card manually), notify your bank immediately as it is possible they have retained your credit card details and will use it again unlawfully in the future.

If the website allowed you to enter your credit card details at the time of purchase, it is important to keep an eye on your credit card statement to ensure there are no future fraudulent transactions. It is possible that the website wasn’t through a secure payment platform, meaning they harvest credit card details for future unauthorised transactions. Also contact your bank/card issuer if this was the case.

Edit: I should have also said that many shonky online businesses know to string out the refund process - past the standard dispute period offered by financial institutions for a chargeback - as this gives them the certainty of retaining the acquired funds. This is why you must instigate the process ASAP and cease dealing with them..


Seems to me that if they clearly state in their returns policy that there are no returns for items bought on sale, and if pretty much everything they sell is on sale, then that means there is a no returns policy.

An online store operating outside Australia probably couldn’t care less about what the ACL says.

You should go straight to a credit card reversal, but their policy, clearly stated, could well be a valid reason for the reversal to not be accepted by the vendor’s merchant bank side. But try it anyway.

It may be just something to put down to experience.


But they don’t state it in their returns policy (Return Policy – AMELIAS AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺) - only buried in the Terms of use (Terms of use – AMELIAS AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺), which I suspect they may have only recently updated, because their Terms of service (Terms of service – AMELIAS AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺) does not have the line about sale items. Note that both say “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.”!!


Thanks for this too, and for everyone’s contributions. I have now submitted a dispute to Amex, so will await the outcome of that and follow up here once I have received an answer.


While you are waiting, a slightly old but germane topic.


This is in their refunds policy on the home page. Down the bottom. Note the last sentence.

Exceptions / non-returnable items
Certain types of items cannot be returned, like perishable goods (such as food, flowers, or plants), custom products (such as special orders or personalized items), and personal care goods (such as beauty products). We also do not accept returns for hazardous materials, flammable liquids, or gases. Please get in touch if you have questions or concerns about your specific item.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept returns on sale items or gift cards.

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Which home page? Not on this one posted above (https://ameliasaustralia.com/).


Sorry for confusion. It is in their refund policy section. But catch22 is that to be eligible for a refund, you need to return the goods if you are not satisfied, but you can’t return if they were were not eligible for a refund.


You lost your money.
Just don’t buy from companies you never heard of, no matter how many GOOOOD??? stars the receive.
DONT DO IT, save your money, DONT DO IT!!!

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I had two issues involving dodgy vendors, neither of which were on line transactions. One involved a retail outlet with a paragraph on their invoice denying refunds if the packaging was opened and then, only for 7 days. This is clearly against ACL, and I wrote to both Consumer Affairs and the ACCC. The responses I got made no reference about how to deal with rejection. The assumption is that because the law says I am entitled to a refund, therefore I will get a refund. Otherwise to take the matter up with VCAT.
I don’t think Consumer Affairs actively takes my side and prosecutes on my behalf. So in the case of small value items, ACL is of no help if the vendor ignores you


That is a concise and accurate synopsis. Businesses that want to abide by the ACL will and do, those that do not will not and the only real leverage a consumer has is their state tribunal. The dodgy ones know that for low value items the odds a consumer would take the trouble are very low.

The ACL can work a treat but overall it is little more than pretty window dressing as far as some companies are concerned. The ACCC/consumer affairs agencies only become active beyond lip service when there is a pervasive, egregious action affecting many, such as the HN franchisees giving false information to customers regarding their rights.

So far my experience with the ACL has been quite good with products valued in the $100’s and up although not always quick or easy, and zero on a few in the $10’s from a few online sellers, but has generally worked for me even for the small value product problems with big name merchants.