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Buying from an Australian business online

When purchasing products through an Australian Business online, consumers have the same refund rights as they do when buying from a physical shop.  Any item they buy is covered by ‘consumer guarantees’.

Australian businesses and companies that trade online can include:

  • supermarkets and department stores
  • a registered business or company, such as a jeweller with an online store
  • an individual selling items on eBay or other online auction houses who:
    • lists an Australian Business Number (ABN) or company name in their advertising,
    • has a high volume of items for sale, or
    • has been trading for a number of years.

Tips to protect your consumer rights when shopping online

Consider buying from online sellers in Australia or overseas that:

  • have a good reputation and positive online reviews;
  • display processes for solving problems and giving replacements and refunds;
  • display systems for protecting the security and privacy of your personal and financial details; and
  • display their business registration number, phone and physical address.

Before paying:

  • ensure your computer, tablet or phone is secure by installing or updating security and anti-virus software;
  • check the terms and conditions carefully so you know what you are paying for and that there are no hidden costs or restrictions;
  • beware of sellers asking for your bank PIN or password. Never buy from these sellers;
  • check that the website is secure. It should have a padlock symbol and an address starting with https://;
  • ensure you can check the progress of your order online; and
  • consider using a third-party escrow agent to pay for valuable items as they will hold the payment in trust until you receive and accept the item.

After payment:

  • Ensure you keep copies of all documents, including electronic records of auction bids, item descriptions, emails and receipts in case there is a problem later;
  • If there is a problem, email the seller outlining the issue and how you want it resolved; and
  • If you pay by credit card and you have not received the product or service, contact your bank and ask them to reverse an unauthorised charge.

Remember to Shop around, ask questions and ask for pictures so you know what you are getting, and compare prices on different sites.

Updated: 08 Dec 2022

This page has been produced and published by the Consumer Building and Occupational Services Division of the Department of Justice. Although every care has been taken in production, no responsibility is accepted for the accuracy, completeness, or relevance to the user's purpose of the information. Those using it for whatever purpose are advised to verify it with the relevant government department, local government body or other source and to obtain any appropriate professional advice. The Crown, its officers, employees and agents do not accept liability however arising, including liability for negligence, for any loss resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information and/or reliance on its availability at any time.