26 February 2016
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is warning consumers who are looking to bag a bargain in the Dick Smith fire sale that they will struggle to exercise their consumer right to refund, repair or replacement from the retailer after it closes down.
"While it might be tempting to bag a bargain in the fire sale, consumers need to be aware they will likely find it difficult to access the usual consumer guarantee remedies on the retailer's products after the business shuts down," says CHOICE's Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"Your best bet is to look for deals on big name brands that carry a manufacturer's warranty and can fulfill your consumer guarantees.
"It is also concerning that the company has recently been aggressively marketing to consumers and spruiking consumer guarantees that will soon be useless."
"The sad fact for consumers who purchase Dick Smith branded products is they will not be protected if the product fails."
All consumers have rights under the Australian Consumer Law. If a product has a major fault they are able to get a repair, refund or placement from the manufacturer or the retailer.
"With Dick Smith branded TVs and other products, Dick Smith is both the retailer and the manufacturer. This means anyone with a Dick Smith branded product will struggle to get any remedy under Australian Consumer Law if something goes wrong once the business folds in eight weeks."
"CHOICE has a simple warning for all shoppers: know that your rights are limited if a product is made by Dick Smith and sold by Dick Smith."
The warning comes following the announcement of an inquiry into gift cards and consumer protections by the Senate Economics References Committee, following proposals from Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.
"Dick Smith has already duded a number of people, with consumers holding gift cards having to join a long list of unsecured creditors, with a remote chance of getting any money back."
Fire sale tips:
- If you have a gift card or store credit contact your bank about credit card chargeback options or contact the Dick Smith administrators about registering as an unsecured creditor.
- Avoid Dick Smith branded products as you'll struggle to exercise your consumer rights if something goes wrong.
- Look for deals on big name brands that come with a manufacturer's warranty.