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Smarter Shopping

By 12 April 2013Consumer Law

Cars, Shoes, Clothes, Furniture, Computers, Mobile Phones, Houses.

Initial purchase:

  • Do you need it?
  • Can you afford it?
  • What do you want to know about it?
  • Can you get it cheaper somewhere else?
  • Did you get a receipt?
  • Do you understand the terms and conditions?
  • Did you have to sign anything? ( This may be a contract, a legal document )

Refund Policy:

  • Don’t expect a refund if you simply change your mind.
  • You may get a refund or exchange if the item does not perform correctly.
  • You may get a refund if you did not realize something was wrong until you got the item home.
  • You may get a refund if the item was not the same as the sample shown.


  • You pay a deposit at the time of purchase and the item is held in store until the full price is paid. Usually for a fixed period of time.


  • Make sure it is in writing. It gives you legal protection if something goes wrong.


  • Must be true, and the price must be on the item, or the nearby shelf.


  • Use your own judgment as to the veracity of this. It can help you make a decision, but don’t rely solely on it.

Bag Searches:

  • You CAN say no. Staff can look but not touch. They cannot forcibly search you, but they can call police if they suspect you of shop-stealing.


  • You break it you pay. They can take you to court, but they would have to prove you did it.

Hire Purchase/Loan:

  • You borrow money to buy goods, and pay back with interest over an agreed period of time. Do not sign an agreement unless you are sure you can pay back. Make sure you understand fees and charges.

Making Complaints:

  • Stay calm. Be polite but firm. Have documentation ( receipts, warranties, guarantees). Note the name of the person with whom you are dealing. Tell them clearly what your expectations are.

Alternatives if no satisfactory result: Consumer Affairs, Ombudsman, Lawyer!