Clothing brand Sportscraft has paid $21,600 in penalties to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission following an investigation into its previous policies for refunds and returns.
APG & Co Pty Ltd, which trades as Sportscraft, was issued two infringement notices by the consumer watchdog, which said in a statement today it had reasonable grounds to believe the retailer had made false or misleading representations to customers and therefore could be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The notices relate to a statement included on Sportscraft tax invoice receipts from at least January 29, which said consumers would not be able to return or exchange faulty items that were purchased from one of the retailer’s clearance stores.
The ACCC was also concerned about a statement on the Sportscraft website that said the company would not offer refunds, exchanges or credit notes for an item after a period of 21 days. According to the ACCC, this statement appeared on the website from at least March 29.
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Under the ACL, consumers have rights to repairs, replacements or refunds if the goods and services they purchase are not of acceptable quality, do not match descriptions made by the seller or are not fit for their specified purpose.
Sportscraft has since amended its refund and returns policy and the payment of an infringement notice issued by the ACCC is not considered an admission that a company has contravened the Australian Consumer Law.
ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement Australia’s consumer laws provide guarantees to consumers for all their purchases and these guarantees cannot be altered by a business’s terms and conditions.
“Clothing retailers cannot exclude or refuse a consumer’s right to a remedy simply because the faulty goods are bought at a discount clearance store,” Court said.
“Consumer guarantees remain a priority area for the ACCC. It is concerning that we’ve seen a number of similar complaints in the fashion industry of late.”
SmartCompany has contacted APG & Co Pty Ltd for comment.