WORLD CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY
The Commemoration of WCRD falls on the 15 March every year, it is an annual event to commemorate a historic declaration of basic consumer rights including:
- RIGHT TO SATISFACTION OF BASIC NEEDS(Aia tatau mo le faamalieina o Manaoga Masani)
- RIGHT TO SAFETY (Aia tatau mo le saogalemu)
- RIGHT TO INFORMATION (Aia tatau mo Faamatalaga)
- RIGHT TO CHOOSE (Aia tatau mo lau Filifiliga)
- RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION (Aia tatau mo le aafiaga faa-le-tulafono)
- RIGHT TO REDRESS (Aia tatau mo le totogi o oloa ma auaunaga ua le talafeagai)
- RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT (Aia tatau mo se Siosiomaga Mama)
- RIGHT TO CONSUMER EDUCATION (Aia tatau mo Aoaoga Faapitoa mo tagata faatau)
ADVICE THE PUBLIC ON THE CURRENT REFUND POLICIES
When Can Customers Return Goods?
Understanding the rights of customers when they return goods can help you determine whether a complaint is valid. It may also help to avoid unnecessary legal battles. A customer can return goods for a refund, repair or replacement if:
- The item has a fault that would not normally be detected at the time of purchase.
- The item is not the same as described by the salesperson, or on a label or sign, or in an advertisement, or does not match the sample shown.
- The item is not suitable for the customer’s intended use as described to the salesperson before the purchase.
Manufacturers Are Also Responsible
When a customer has a valid claim, you have the primary responsibility for providing the requested refund, repair or replacement. If is it unclear whether there is a manufacturing fault in the goods, you may first seek the opinion of the manufacturer or importer to check the validity of the complaint.
After compensating a customer, you may be able to claim against the manufacturer or importer. However, this is not subject to the Fair Trading Act which applies to transaction between traders and consumers only. It is wise for you and your suppliers to work out arrangements for satisfying customer complaints relating to manufacturing faults. If you establish procedures for quick replacement of faulty items you can ensure that complaints are handled efficiently and there is little disruption to your business.
Customers Are Not Always Right
Sometimes, customers do not have a legal right to a refund. The item may be the wrong size. It may be an unwanted gift. Perhaps the customer has changed his or her mind. In these circumstances you are not obliged to refund the money, exchange the goods or even give a credit note unless this has been agreed by yours salesperson before the sale or it is your Store’s stated policy. Remember, though, that satisfying such a customer may be worth the goodwill created. You may wish to make the customer aware that they are receiving a special service in being allowed to return the goods. When customers are returning faulty goods, they may also lose their right to a refund if the goods have not been used in accordance with instructions, or have been abused or damaged.
Repair, Replace or Refund
If the goods are unsuitable for any of these reasons, the customer has the right to a refund.
It is up to the customer to choose whether to accept your offer to repair or replace the goods. However, if the fault is minor and the repair can be completed quickly it may be reasonable to offer to repair the goods. All the costs to replace, buy equivalent goods, or have them repaired are your responsibility. Shops which make statements like “No Refunds” or “No Refunds on Sale Items” are misleading and illegal. Customers retain their legal rights to return goods irrespective of such signs and irrespective of whether they bought the goods at a discounted price.
Manufacturers Are Also Responsible: When a customer has a valid claim, you have primary responsibility for providing the requested refund, repair or replacement. If it is unclear whether there is a manufacturing fault in the goods, you may first seek the opinion of the manufacturer or importer to check the validity.