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Shop smart and minimise buyer's remorse

If you find yourself constantly dealing with the return and refund of defected goods, get a better understanding of the Lemon Law and learn how to shop smart!

When buying furniture...
❑ Check the sturdiness, quality and finishing of the item.
❑ Place a deposit, and pay the rest of the cost only upon delivery of the furniture.
❑ Record verbal promises by the seller and other important details in writing. Read the fine print in the contract carefully before signing.
❑ Ask about the warranty, and any other terms and conditions.
❑ Check if there are any hidden costs, for example, delivery charges.
❑ Keep your receipts.

Upon delivery...
❑ Check that the furniture is what you ordered and in good condition before signing the delivery order. If the furniture is damaged or does not meet the conditions of the sales contract, you can refuse the delivery and withhold the balance payment.
❑ If the retailer fails to make satisfactory replacement within a reasonable agreed re-delivery date, give them one or two more delivery deadlines to make good. If the retailer still doesn’t, with no justifiable reason, you can ask for a refund.
❑ If your furniture comes apart shortly after delivery, you have the right to ask the seller to repair or replace the piece. If the seller is unable to, you can keep the defective piece and ask for a reduced price, or return the item and get a refund.
❑ Approach Case or the Small Claims Tribunal if you are unable to resolve the dispute.

Do you know the Lemon Law?
Under the Lemon law, consumers can seek recourse if an item does not expressly meet the conditions stated in the contract of sale. Breach of the contract take place when the product is deemed not being of satisfactory quality, not fit for the purpose it is purchased for, or not meeting reasonable performance expectations, taking into account description of the goods, the price and other relevant circumstances.

With the Lemon Law, if the complaint is made within six months of delivery, it is assumed the item was flawed at or before the purchase or delivery (unless the seller can prove otherwise). However, if the defect is found six months after the delivery, the burden of proof then lies with the consumer.

For example, if you find yourself with a defected piece of furniture, you must allow the seller to repair or replace the defective item (within a reasonable time and with minimal inconvenience to the consumer). The cost and labour of delivering the goods back for repair has to be borne by the seller. If there is failure to repair or replace, you can keep the flawed item and ask for a discount, or return it for a refund. The Lemon Law applies even to display sets, online purchases, sale and secondhand items. More information on the Lemon Law here.

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