Buying from a private seller

When a consumer buys from a private individual seller who is not running a business, this is called a consumer-to-consumer transaction. Examples include a person selling:

  • toys at a market
  • books on a notice board sign.

Note: the seller may be running a business if they:

  • list an Australian Business Number (ABN) or company name on their web page or profile
  • have a high volume of items for sale or
  • have been trading for a number of years

If there is a problem with the product you should follow the steps below:

Step 1 - Know your rights

Buying goods from a private seller is not covered by the Australian Consumer Law.  However, clear ownership of the item is still guaranteed, unless stated otherwise before the sale.  The seller may also have their own refunds and returns policy with additional rights.

Step 2 - Contact the seller

Consumers should contact the seller to try and resolve the issue. This may include putting your concerns in writing to the seller.

Step 3 - Take the complaint further

If the seller does not try to resolve the issue, you may wish to take the compliant further.  If the consumer bought the good or service from an online auction site, such as eBay or Gumtree, they should first refer to the complaint options available on the website.

If consumers buy through a market stall or a notice board sign and cannot resolve the issue with the seller, the consumer will need to seek legal advice about their options.