Harvey Norman Online Refusing Refund after Unfulfilled Order of Apple Watch (Only Willing to Refund with Gift Card)

So I bought an Apple Watch from their online store on 31/12/18 that was showing as in stock at the time.

2 days later, I get an email saying it’s backordered but should be in stock in 10-15 business days. It is now 6 weeks later and I still don’t have my order.

I have asked the store for a refund, they said they cannot process it. I asked online orders for a refund, they said I can only have the money back on gift cards as that is how I paid. The problem is, I want a refund for the gift cards too. I want my money back so I can order through Apple directly and just get the damned watch. They are refusing stating that, because the gift cards have been used, I cannot get a refund on them. My argument is that I used them to purchase a product that couldn’t be fulfilled by them in the first place so I should be entitled to a refund. They refused.

Do I have a case to make a complaint to a government body? Is there an ombudsman for such an issue? I just want my money back as they cannot tell me if or when they will get the product. Apparently, it could be another few months. Wtf?

I currently reside in Queensland.

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    • +10 votes

      When I initially ordered, their shit website stated they were in stock. HN has the worst stocking practices for online orders I’ve seen. Apparently, there is no central distribution centre and each store has to order for each online order from their supplier individually. It’s ridiculouslu stupid.

      • +2 votes

        Damn yeah that sucks. I thought HN had a central distribution centre also. Is there a head office or something you can escalate to for getting your refund? 6 weeks is ridiculous.

        • +2 votes

          Demand that another branch fulfills the order, speak to head office
          Say you will write a review online otherwise

      • +1 vote

        A shit website is called a shitsite.

        A shit vendor is called… yep, you guessed it.

        The first product you bought is all that counts, and that is likely fit for service as far as the law is concerned. You shot yourself in the foot with those gift-cards, quite literally.

        Perhaps use one for 'a higher purpose', and post evidence online, and the reason why. The only things noticed these days are those that truly shock and dismay the Captains. Or occasionally, their oppressed masses.


        I had a similar problem with my recent Nokia 8 purchase through them. My xiaomi phone had crapped the bed, so needed new phone right away. Ordered online thinking I could pick up in store next day, local stock available. Not actually in stock. Took two weeks. Utter BS.

  • +41 votes

    Discounted gift cards? Now trying to refund for full face value?

    • +4 votes

      Yeah they were discounted. If I get the refund on them, I only get back what I paid anyways so I’m not trying to scam anyone. Just get my money back.

      • +2 votes

        Get ur gift cards, and sell them to someone else to realise the cash value you paid.

      • +11 votes

        I don’t think gift card can be refunded to cash. You can check the T&C


        I feel you, I would have done the same mistake: Buying discounted gift cards to then buy the phone/watch/computer.
        I thank you for the lesson I learned today, at your expenses.

      • +6 votes

        You paid using gift cards so you will get the credit in gift cards. Just buy something else or order at another harvey norman or online.

  • +53 votes

    Refund methods

    Businesses will usually give you a refund in the same way that you originally paid them. This might be cash, cheque, money order or electronic transaction. They won’t give you the refund in cash unless that’s how you paid them.



      Yeah but now they won’t refund the gift cards themselves stating they’ve been used. Shouldn’t there be a case for a refund when the order cannot be fulfilled?

      • +44 votes

        They need to refund the product via the method you paid, so they should issue your a new gift card. Afaik, they don't need to refund your gift card.

      • +23 votes

        Why would they refund the giftcards themselves? Is there something wrong with the giftcards that you think entitles you to a refund?


          my bet is OP wants the credit to be refunded to the same gift card number. Then the OP can go to whoever he/she bought the gift card from and ask for a refund there.


    how do you get HN discounted GC's?

    • +1 vote

      They were part of an amex deal in late December.

      • +11 votes

        If u got the GCs through Amex offers you should not have any problem selling them off with some profit.


          Even after feebay, for cost price(discounted original price) after fees, it would take all of a few days to have the "cash" back.
          Retailers have the right to refund in the same way you purchased an item. This also helps stop money laundering.
          End of discussion right here, case solved. Next.

    • +2 votes

      Macquarie bank offers them too. My view is it's never worth paying with gift cards. 1. They are not valid for extended warrenty on CC
      2. Any issues and you need a refund you are stuck with usually a shit load of gift cards.


        For something like Harvey Norman, sure, but you should totally use discounted Coles/Woolies gift cards.

    • +1 vote

      You can also get them via the Suncorp benefits app. You need to have an insurance policy with the Suncorp group though to get access. Heaps of other discounts too.

    • +31 votes

      Read OP again. HN is willing to refund OP - but only via giftcards which is how OP paid. OP wants a refund for the giftcards themselves, which they're not entitled to.

      • -5 votes

        If the OP wants their watch, the above is a fair solution, I feel.

        Asking for cash from gift cards is difficult in any scenario. If OP has waited 6 weeks, what's another five business days?

        • +8 votes

          It's not up to what OP wants though - OP can have their watch (and wait for it), or get a refund in the form of giftcards they paid with. They don't get to demand that their giftcards are also refunded - there's nothing wrong with the giftcards to entitle warrant a refund.

  • +47 votes

    The problem is, I want a refund for the gift cards too.

    Yeah nope.

    • +3 votes

      That’s the risk you take in buying discounted gift cards in order to buy something at a cheaper rate. It sucks obviously but there’s nothing wrong with the gift cards.

  • +50 votes

    Used a giftcard get refunded in giftcard.

    It always works that way.

    Don't get me wrong, HN still sucks for having bad inventory control and just general business practice but they are not wrong with refund method here.

    • -32 votes

      As I understand it, gift cards can be refunded unless used. The thing is, in this case, the gift cards were used to order a product that they can’t seem to get into stock in a reasonable amount of time. So, basically, I’m stuck because of their own inability to maintain appropriate stock levels?

      • +13 votes

        As I understand it, gift cards can be refunded unless used

        Where did you get this understanding from? Because HN clearly says:


        7.2 A Gift Card will only be reissued, refunded or honoured where the Gift Card is shown to be faulty or damaged due to the fault of the Issuer or a Franchisee, or where there has been a breach of any condition or warranty implied under the Australian Consumer Law.

        So only if there's something wrong with the gift card itself.

        So, basically, I’m stuck because of their own inability to maintain appropriate stock levels?

        No, you're stuck because you bought gift cards in the first place. It doesn't matter if you bought anything or not, you wouldn't get a refund on them.

        • +2 votes

          It’s what online orders told me over the phone. Having said that, I have had them tell me blatant lies a few times now (the order being cancelled or the order having been shipped when it clearly wasn’t), so this would make sense. I did not read into the t&c so I appreciate your digging into this. I may have to get a refund on the cards and hock them off on here.

          (Mod: Private sales in comments not allowed)


            @blergmonkeys: Hahaha, sorry, not looking to buy anything from HN, not after hearing another one of their cockups.

            It’s what online orders told me over the phone.

            I don't actually doubt this for a second - there are valid reasons for HN having the reputation they do have, unfortunately for you in this case.

        • -1 vote

          So only if there's something wrong with the gift card itself.

          I'd argue that there's an implied warranty that gift cards can be used to purchase an in-stock item of the holder's choice from a physical HN store or HN online.

          OP tried to use them in this way, HN refused.

          Inability to use a gift card to purchase products showing as in stock is a major failure of the GC = refund for faulty GCs under the ACL.


            @newdad: So things aren't allowed to go out of stock if there's a gift card involved?

            No that would be ridiculous.



            Inability to use a gift card to purchase products showing as in stock is a major failure of the GC = refund for faulty GCs under the ACL.

            That's the definition of twisting the law or words to favour yourself.


              @Ughhh: I agree, but what's the worst that could happen? HN say no and the OP is no worse off. I agree it's a long shot, but there's a chance that they could get lucky.


                @newdad: Might as well claim compensation for the stress and time taken to rant, that GC also has the implied warranty that no stress is involved when using the GC. Whats the worst that could happen? I personally don't like to be laughed at, but what ever floats your boat.
                Sometimes humans just don't deserve nice things.

      • +3 votes

        The purchase/activation of the gift card is not related or part of the contract for the watch. You can still use the gift card for other items.

        The use of the gift card is related to the purchase of the watch, so you can get a refund via a new gift card.

        The two above may be personally related to you ie. Only bought gift card for the watch, but that's your choice and it doesn't override law or make retailers decision unreasonable .

        • +1 vote

          You’re right. I am stuck with them. I’ll process a refund on the gift cards and sell them on here then order from Apple direct.


            @blergmonkeys: Hey, I'm a bit late to the discussion, but as others pointed out, they usually return the money through the method you used to purchase. Even the refund has to go through the same bank card that you used for purchase.
            And no, gift cards are normally non-refundable and non-transferable. That's common practice; almost all companies who issue gift cards have this policy.


    Just an FYI that I sympathise with you (given other posters on here have been a bit blunt). I'm sure there is a possible solution but it might take a bit of noise and time for you.


      Thanks mate, it would appear I’m probably stuck with the gift cards and selling them privately. I’ve def learned my lesson with Harvey Norman online though.


    I’m in the same boat but haven’t been waiting as long as you. I brought an Apple Watch from HN on Jan 19 using a Domanyne Gift Card I brought because of the AMEX offer. It’s currently at 13 (not counting aus day holiday) business days wait for me. I am also worried that my order won’t be fulfilled and i’ll be stuck with $750 to use at Harvey Norman that I have no plans to use for anything else.

  • +1 vote

    Probably a dumb question but have you tried contacting some stores directly to see what stock they have. Online shopping with B&M stores often sucks. I just checked, online, and Chadstone has the black aluminium at the store what model where you after?


      Speaking to the online reps via phone, the model I ordered is oos nationwide. It’s the 44mm Nike cellular.


        Just buy a 44mm cell and a $5 Nike band from eBay? The


          Nike Cellular Sport Band (with reflective strap) is the way to go. Everything else you can find a cheap substitute online.


            @schwinn: I have a white one and it stained blue after a few months. Yeah it’s better quality and nicer to fit to the watch but I would definitely say the knockoffs are worth the difference in price


        Yup, looks like it. I don't think they even have the standard 44mm cellular available, just the non cellular version. Personally if I see the thing "in stock" in a store I give them a ring and then go pick it up. I've seen too many horror stories here with "availability" of stock.


          The problem is there seems to be no stock for any 40 or 44mm series 4 cellular watches available. I ordered the 40mm Nike one even though it was a "special order" because it was the only 40mm S4 Cellular that was "in stock".


            @melbourne guy: I agree, that does seem to be the case. Only the 44 mm in non cellular only. Did they give you any idea on when they might have stock?


              @try2bhelpful: I sent through an enquiry this morning but haven't heard back yet. By doing so I found out the Preston store is handling my order, must have been the closest one to my delivery address.


                @melbourne guy: For some reason I can’t fathom the Maribrynong store seems to have the best stock of Apple kit. We got our 11” IPad Pro through them and they even gave us a $50 discount, without much effort. Worked very well with the Amex gift card discount. We have been eyeing off the Apple Watch, 44 mm, without cellular but they won’t discount any further. We are overseas in June so we will probably wait now and get TRS. We would, also, use the Amex discount gift cards.

  • +1 vote

    The problem is, I want a refund for the gift cards too. I want my money back so I can order through Apple directly and just get the damned watch.

    You will not get a refund for the gift cards - the transaction for the giftcard is done and dusted. Using the giftcards to buy the watch is a completely separate transaction.

    Let's take a step back here - I know you've said that it's been six weeks (and for the record, I agree that 15 days to 6 week is a shit wait), but during this conversation about refunds, did you ask when they're likely going to have stock? You've said you wanted to order directly through apple - does that mean that apple also don't have stock either? Could it be that apple is where the delay is? If the delay is on apple's end, HN aren't going to be able to pull a watch out of their butt.

    The best outcome for this whole situation is that HN just supply you with the damn watch.

    I would go into the store and speak to whoever you need to speak to about when it's coming in. Face to face is much effective than email or telephone although, like I said, they can't pull out a watch from their butt if there isn't one in stock.


      Yeah so when I asked in person in store (and online and via phone), they said it could be months before they get stock as their supplier doesn’t provide timelines for restock of Apple products.
      If you go onto the Apple website, the watch I ordered can be in my hands within 1-2 business days.

      I have no idea how their online orders work but it seems they use a third party supplier who haphazardly provides products to their b&m stores to fulfill online orders. At least that’s the impression the salesman in store gave about how their orders work. It’s pretty messy from what I can tell.

      • +1 vote

        I tried for 6 weeks to get another Apple product in @ JBHIFI (I hadn't paid yet, but had a gift card I wanted to use). I hadn't paid or anything but they said Apple never told them when they could expect stock. I got the same answer from about 6 salespeople at two stores, so it seems like Apple dick around all their re-sellers like this while keeping stock for themselves obviously.

        I still have said giftcard in my wallet 3 months later :\

  • +7 votes

    That is the inherent risk of using giftcards.

  • +3 votes

    Sounds like the OP bought discounted gift cards to take advantage of a better deal than what was available through other stores and shot himself in the foot. HN isn't doing anything wrong other than being terrible with stock management. You paid via giftcard so what makes you think you can get cash refund?

    • -6 votes

      Why is the ozbargain community so judgemental?

      Where did I say I wanted a cash refund? I said I want a refund of the gift cards themselves which would result in getting how much I paid back on my card. No scamming here.

      I’m just trying to buy a watch and tried doing the ozbargain thing by using discounted cards. I’ve realized I’m burned now but damn guys, you guys sure do love jumping to conclusions about people. This is not me scamming anyone but just wanting to get my money back or get what I ordered.

      Like I said, I’ll get the gift cards back and sell them privately.


        The problem is that HN likely never 'got paid' as much as you paid for them if you bought them through a third party seller they often flog them off in bulk for a substantial discount amount knowing how many don't get redeemed. And the gift card isn't defective, you can use it to purchase anything they have in stock, so there's no reason for them to refund it, since they don't have to, they won't.

      • +1 vote

        are you joking? getting refund on your card and getting cash is same thing. more money in your account vs having that money in gift card which you can't immediately convert to cash.
        buying giftcard has its own risks and you took it. you can't expect HN to refund you for the giftcard themselves.

  • +2 votes

    If everyone can be refund to cash with gift card purchase, many business would have been bankrupted by now.


    You could be infinitely rich if you got your way. Harvey Norman are being reasonable.

  • +3 votes

    The way I see it, there is 2 options (these apply to me too):

    1: Wait for HN to send the watch and nag them every day until they do so, for as long as it takes.
    2: Get order cancelled, get your gift card back, then use it to buy something else in the future. Gift cards last 3 years, so it's likely something else worth buying from HN will come up during that time, and you still get a discount on the new purchase.

    We risked it for the biscuit, unfortunately HN are incapable of ordering in said biscuit.

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