Australia’s competition and consumer watchdog has taken Booktopia to court over false or misleading claims made to customers about their rights to refunds for damaged and digital products.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched proceedings in federal court against the country’s largest online book retailer for allegations allegedly made on Booktopia’s website between January 10, 2020 and January 10, 2020. November 2, 2021 that customers were to notify Booktopia within two days of delivery of a defective, damaged or incorrect product in order to be able to obtain a refund or other replacement options.
The company has also reportedly told customers that there is no refund right on products such as digital content and e-books under any circumstances.
The ACCC alleged that the company also told 19 customers that it was not obligated to provide a refund or remedy because the company was not notified of a failure to deliver within two days of the delivery. delivery.
The ACCC says these claims are false and misleading because Australian Consumer Law gives customers the right to obtain a refund or remedy if they fail to meet consumer guarantees, and there is no two day expiration date.
âConsumers who buy digital products or buy products online have the same rights as those who buy in physical stores,â ACCC President Rod Sims said in a statement.
âAustralian consumers have the right to refund, repair or replace goods that do not meet their consumer warranty rights, which apply for a reasonable period of time, and no business can exclude, limit or modify these rights. “
Sims said the ACCC was following up complaints from Booktopia customers who claimed they had been denied a refund because they contacted Booktopia more than two days after delivery.
âConsumers aren’t limited to a two-day period to notify a seller of problems with the product they’ve purchased,â he said.
âBooktopia’s conduct may have resulted in consumers not seeking a refund, replacement or repair for defective digital products, books and other goods in circumstances where they are entitled under Australian Consumer Law. to do. “
The ACCC will seek a court ruling on penalties, returns and costs.
A spokesperson for Booktopia said the company is still reviewing ACCC statements and documents.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this week, Booktopia said the statements were “to ensure that we can confidently provide replacements, refunds and other remedies to customers” and are not intended to limit Booktopia’s obligations under consumer law.
The company’s website now states that for returns of damaged or defective items, customers should contact Booktopia “as soon as possible” from the time delivery has been made.
This is not the first lawsuit that the competition regulator is launching against companies over consumer rights in digital products. The federal court ordered Sony Interactive Entertainment to pay $ 3.5 million in penalties for claiming that it did not have to reimburse the games once downloaded, or if 14 days had passed.
The full federal court also ordered Valve to pay $ 3 million in 2018 for allegations that users were not entitled to refunds for games purchased on its Steam games platform.