A recent CHOICE survey found one in ten respondents have tried to return a plant in the past – with nine in ten of those successfully obtaining a refund or replacement. So if a plant dies or you're not happy with it, can you return it?
Read about the CHOICE Voice Your Choice indoor plant survey here: choice.com.au/indoorplants
"Businesses aren't required to offer a refund or exchange for any change-of-mind purchases," says Marianna Longmire, CHOICE consumer expert. "This includes indoor plants."
"However, you are entitled to a refund or replacement if the item has a major failure that, had you been aware of, means you would not have purchased the item."
The survey also found that the most common reasons for the returns were that the plant had died (51%) or failed to establish/thrive (32%). CHOICE recommends that if your plant has failed to thrive and you're reasonably confident you aren't at fault, keep hold of the plant and contact the retailer as soon as the issue becomes apparent.
"If you've followed the care instructions at the time of purchase and you've still got a dying plant, the sooner you alert the retailer, the better. As with most purchases, keep your receipt and document the issues," says Longmire.
CHOICE says larger retailers may accept change of mind refunds in addition to their obligations under Australian Consumer Law.
"Some larger retailers, like Bunnings or Flower Power may accept change of mind returns in addition to their obligations under the ACL. CHOICE has a guide to major retailer return policies to help you navigate what's possible."
Your rights when returning indoor plants: choice.com.au/indoorplants
However, many respondents said they wouldn't be comfortable returning a plant, feeling that the responsibility for its demise rested solely on them. It raises the question of whether Australians are failing to exercise their legitimate consumer rights.
Are you killing your plants with love? For potential green thumbs, CHOICE has a list of five things that might be killing your indoor plants.
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Five things that might be killing your indoor plant
- Too much water
- Inadequate lighting
- Too much fertilizer
- Incorrect climate
"You could be killing your plants with love," says Longmire. "Overwatering is one way your beautiful plants can make a turn for the worse without you realising. If you're not confident in caring for your new plant, before you buy, ask for help selecting the right plant for your growing conditions and get advice on how to care for it properly."
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