Consumer Watch with Candice Evans: Know your rights when parcels fail to arrive

Candice EvansGeraldton Guardian
What happens when your online purchase does not arrive?
Camera IconWhat happens when your online purchase does not arrive? Credit: Domino Postiglione DPP/Fairfax

Online shopping has revolutionised the way many of us buy goods, but it has also meant navigating additional challenges not faced by traditional in-store shoppers.

Given online purchasers have to pay for their items upfront before waiting to receive them, a common complaint we hear about is goods taking a long time to arrive or never arriving at all.

We recently raised the alarm about national online retailer Kingdom Warehouse after 22 WA consumers had been left waiting up to 450 days for their items to arrive. Our counterparts in Victoria, where the retailer is located, issued an earlier warning after receiving 284 similar complaints.

As we urge consumers to avoid ordering from Kingdom Warehouse while investigations continue, it’s a timely reminder for consumers to do their homework when shopping online.

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Do some internet research before using an online retailer to see what reviews or blog posts come up when you type in the name of the site into your search engine.

Better yet, try to use reputable, well-known retail websites. For smaller or lesser-known online sellers, look for a phone number and physical address and call them if you feel unsure.

When placing an order, confirm the timeframe for delivery or if possible a set date. Keep a record of your transaction by printing or taking a screenshot of your order confirmation, invoice or receipt. Be sure to check the seller’s policy on returns, refunds, shipping, insurance, warranties etc, especially if they are based overseas.

Use a secure payment system such as a credit card or PayPal as they offer a dispute resolution service with a refund option if your goods don’t arrive.

Should the goods fail to arrive in a reasonable amount of time, your Australian Consumer Law (ACL) rights mean you can ask for a refund or other remedy such as a credit note. If you have paid by credit card and do not receive your purchase, you should seek a chargeback from your financial institution.

WA customers of Kingdom Warehouse who have not received their goods after a reasonable time are urged to lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website if they haven’t already.

Candice Evans is senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Mid West and Murchison

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