04.Lay-by and online shopping
Lay-by allows you to pay for an item over a certain period of time while the retailer stores it. It’s a way for shoppers to avoid using a credit card or other form of credit facility, thereby avoiding interest and other associated charges. But charges can apply with lay-by too.
Lay-by terms and conditions
Before you commit, ask for the terms and conditions of this binding contract in writing, including:
- Lay-by number and description of the goods.
- Deposit amount, setting-up charge and total price.
- Length of the lay-by, including the date it finishes.
- How often you need to make payments.
- The minimum amount required with each payment.
- The cancellation fee — if one applies. You can cancel a lay-by, but the retailer does not have to refund all your money — there may be a cancellation fee, which you should know about before starting the agreement. If the fee seems unreasonable and the retailer can’t justify it, you could take this case to your state or territory Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading department.
Shopping from home certainly has its benefits — you can browse with a cup of tea and the TV on, there are no checkout queues and there’s probably more to choose from then you’ll find in your local shop. But although the wonders of the internet may make shopping appear limitless, your consumer rights don’t offer you the same protection.
- While sellers have to abide by the same laws that apply to traditional retail transactions, enforcing your rights may be more difficult if the company is not based in Australia.
- The item you’re buying should be well described and the price, availability, charges, and payment and refund policies clearly displayed.
- If you’re buying a gift or need the product within a certain timeframe, you might also want to check upfront when you can expect delivery of the goods and what to do if the product is delayed.