With the silly season now well and truly upon us there are 2 issues that seem to come up at this time of year:
• whether a retailer has the right to check your bag, pram, stroller etc as well as how they can attend to that search; and
• whether “no refund” signs are enforceable by the retailer.
We have extracted the official position from the Queensland Office of Fair Trading below. For more information please visit the website www.oft.qld.gov.au.
Having your bag checked
Many retail shops choose to do bag checks to prevent theft. Bag checks are voluntary, but they will usually be part of the shop’s conditions of entry. You have the right to know if a shop does bag checks before you go in.
A shop should:
• put their conditions of entry (including bag checks) on a sign; and
• display this sign at every entrance.
When you go into a shop with a sign like this, you agree to the conditions. Do not enter if you don’t agree.
Conditions of entry
The conditions will set out what they will ask to check. This may include:
• parcels or containers; and
• prams or trolleys.
If you bring an item into the shop with you, you may need to have proof of purchase. The conditions of entry should set out the shop’s policy about this.
If you refuse to follow these conditions, the retailer can ask you to:
• leave the shop; and
• not return until you agree to follow the conditions of entry.
Doing the check
When doing a bag check, the shop attendant:
• shouldn’t touch your bag or any items in it;
• may require you to move items in your bag to let them see inside easily; and
• must not forcibly search your bag without your permission (if they do so, they may be liable for assault).
About refund signs
‘No refunds’ signs are illegal.
Businesses must not deny your legal rights. You are entitled to a refund, repair, replacement or repeat service if goods or services do not meet your consumer guarantees (http://www.qld.gov.au/law/your-rights/consumer-rights-complaints-and-scams/buying-products-and-services/guarantees-warranties-refunds ).
Businesses do not have to display any signs about their refund policy. However, if they do, the signs must not be misleading.
Signs should not make statements such as:
• ‘no refunds on sale items’;
• ‘no refunds after seven days’;
• ‘exchange, repair or credit only’; and
• ‘no returns on swimwear’.