Twenty-one Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) clubs have made changes to their returns and refunds policies in relation to merchandise sales following an investigation by the ACCC.
“The changes made by the AFL and NRL clubs in question follow a review of returns and refunds policies of various professional sporting clubs nationwide to check they were compliant with the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
From at least April 2018, 21 AFL and NRL clubs made claims in their returns and refunds policies which the ACCC considered were misleading, including that items must be unworn, purchased at full price and returned within a specified timeframe to qualify for a remedy.
However, under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), rights to a remedy are not limited to a specific time period, nor are discounted items or used products excluded from the consumer law guarantees.
Some of the AFL and NRL clubs also told consumers they had to provide the original proof of purchase when seeking a remedy. In fact, the ACL does not mandate an original receipt be presented by consumers when exercising their rights.
“We found that each club’s statements claimed consumers were only entitled to a remedy in very specific circumstances, when in fact consumers may be entitled to a remedy in many more situations under the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Sims said.
“Consumers have rights under the Australian Consumer Law guarantees which cannot be excluded, restricted or modified.”
“If football fans buy a piece of merchandise that has a major failure, they are entitled to a choice of a refund or replacement,” Mr Sims said.
“Retailers must ensure their refunds and returns policies do not breach the ACL or they risk ACCC action.”
The ACCC identified nine AFL clubs with misleading policies:
- Carlton Football Club
- Collingwood Football Club
- Essendon Football Club
- Fremantle Football Club
- Geelong Football Club
- Hawthorn Football Club
- Melbourne Football Club
- Richmond Football Club
- Sydney Swans Football Club
The ACCC also identified twelve NRL clubs with misleading policies:
- Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Football Club
- Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby League Football Club
- Cronulla Sutherland District Rugby League Football Club
- Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club
- Manly Warringah Rugby League Football Club
- Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club
- Newcastle Rugby League Football Club
- Parramatta Eels Rugby League Football Club
- South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club
- St George Illawarra Rugby League Football Club
- Titans Rugby League Football Club
- Wests Tigers Rugby League Football Club
Advice to consumers:
- Retailers cannot refuse to give you a refund, repair or replacement for a faulty item because you bought the item on sale or at a clearance store unless they brought the fault to your attention before you bought the item.
- Signs stating ‘No Refunds’ or ‘No refunds or exchanges on sale items’ are misleading and unlawful, and do not alter your rights under the ACL for faulty products or prevent them from applying.
- Retailers cannot restrict the period in which you can get a remedy for faulty products. You have a right to a remedy for a reasonable amount of time after buying the item. This period can last longer than any express warranty period given to you when you purchased the item.
- Retailers do not have to give you a refund or exchange or any other remedy if you simply changed your mind.
More information about consumer guarantees rights is available here.