Should Businesses pay for shipping costs if the product is found to be faulty?

Recently bought a keyboard from PC Case Gear that was found to be faulty. They paid for the return shipping cost and refunded me the amount for the keyboard, excluding the postage fee. I was unable to request a replacement due to the item being out of stock. Is it within my right to ask for the cost of shipping ($15) to be refunded as well?


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  • +1

    I feel that it should be but I also know that there is an argument against it as well.

    I am pretty certain return shipping for warranty is not a requirement but it is for a DoA.

    Would be interested to see the alternate perspective.

    • +1

      I think the argument to be made is that, you as a consumer benefit from Online Shopping in the manner that it comes to your door, and that prices are (generally) cheaper. Having to lose money on postage seems like a fair "cost of doing business". In such case, the risk is divided more equally between the buyer and seller.

      If a DOA happened through an in-store purchase, you might have the potential downsides of having a higher upfront cost, and the added inconvenience of keeping your docket, and physically returning the item to the store. You wouldn't lose shipping money in that scenario, but cannot deny that downsides are there too.

      edit: With in-store purchases, there's also the upside of much quicker return/refund happening. And that when going to in-store, you may get customer assistance. In some cases, the product may have a minor defect that can be troubleshoot by the experienced staff. In other cases, it may be a User Error.

      • I believe that is a fair assessment.

        I'm undecided on the matter so personally, I'll take the back foot and would unbegrudgingly pay for the return.

  • +2

    within certain time period yes ! like 30 days after purchase

  • +2

    Should be. Try a charge back with your credit/debit card.

    • +1

      Initial shipping fees are rarely refunded and yeah you could do a charge back as long as you never wanted to buy from PCCG ever again.

      • +1

        Being in NSW, I've never purchased from PCCG. The shipping is usually prohibitively expensive.

  • I don't think they have to refund the shipping. Just the item. I might be wrong.
    I thought it should be written in black and white somewhere relating to consumer affairs or whatever.

    You are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem. You are generally responsible for returning the product if it can be posted or easily returned. You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem, so keep your receipts.

    The above could be read to include the original postage, but they could have specifically mentioned it.

  • +18

    If you buy something and they send you faulty sh*t, then yes, you shouldn't be out of pocket due to them sending you crap.

    Do a chargeback if they aren't playing ball.

  • The short answer in my mind is no.
    They shipped the product, they paid the shipping company, you received the product. The shipping isn't faulty, the shipping worked fine.
    As for the comments saying to do a charge back are people who are suggesting you rip off a company who did nothing but supply to you a sealed box product that happened to be faulty through no faulty of their own.

    You're out of product for the initial shipping fee, but that's literally the price you pay for not shopping local.

    • I'm of this opinion also. There's two transactions occouring here. Picking up the item in person is the preferred method of acquisition. Delivery is 100% unequivocally a convenience, in fact the seller by rights shouldn't even offer it, their responsibility ends at the sale of the item only. If you CHOOSE to have an item delevered by a 3rd party that's completely on you. It makes no sense to hold the retailer (who is not the manufacturer or wholesaler) responsible for return shipment. Although regrettable, makes no sense they be liable for your decision to engage a shipment company in the case of item failure. It's well out of what's considered "the sale" and therfore out of the companies responsabities.

  • +9

    If you purchased a faulty product from a physical store would you expect petrol and travel expenses ?

    • +7

      Whilst I do not disagree, I would like to raise the point that if you bought in a physical store, you would have the opportunity to inspect before you've travelled home.

      • -1

        this… is why I don't shop online

        • +9

          you can easily buy a keyboard in store and not find out it's faulty until you get home ;)

      • +2

        It's not reasonable to remove prepacked items from the box to check. The situation you're describing is perhaps cars and other 'out of the box' items which I'm struggling to think of any.

        When buying a TV you you unbox it in the shop and check for dead pixels?

        • That's a good point.

          As I've mentioned, I sit on the fence on this one. A lot of interesting comments for and against.

          • @DisabledUser88699: this is the thing

            for smaller purchases i have actually recorded me opening the item and turning it on in the car park of the store i bought it from just because i knew the place i was buying it from would be shitty about returning a dud item, even though it wasnt my fault

            look at it like this.. if you buy a tv and you open it up and its smashed, how much grief would you cop from the turds at JB or HN when you try to return it

    • +3

      You have the right to ask for them to pick it up for bulky items yes.

    • Yep this!

  • +4

    This is why I'm liking Amazon more each day.

    • -7

      Yeah who cares about exploiting workers as long as I get my plastic garbage without thinking of any consequences!

      • Do they exploit AUS workers? That's more a function of what the labor laws in the US, rather than the company. I'm not supporting it but at least blame the right entity.

    • +3

      I'm a big Amazon fan however there are also downsides with it, particularly if you buy from the global sites as their warranty coverage is a matter of months not a year like is common in Australia and they don't budge from it. For most products bought from these sites you won't be able to claim warranty via the local supplier, as they don't want to hear about it, so yeah just be careful.

      • +2

        I purchased one item from Amazon US in AU and it's faulty after 8-9 months - you just chat with them and they approve return for full refund. One new thing I learnt recently is that you have to provide receipt even if it's less than $32 - I thought they will just issue $32 even the cost of return is less.

    • +1

      I've just waited a month for a refund on a broken item from Amazon - yes they will give it to you, but it can be a long, drawn out process.

      • Was it sold by Amazon directly or a third party on the Amazon marketplace? I've had a number of things arrive broken from Amazon (usually shipped and sold by Amazon US and taken its knocks on the way over) and they've refunded back to the credit card within days - without having to ship the product back, mind you.

        When I've had to ship something back, going through their online system and printing out the shipping label yourself, they've initiated the refund it as soon as it was lodged through Australia Post - ie they didn't even wait to receive the item back.

  • +8

    Yes. It's part of ACL.

    Their argument is the service was supplied. But the service provided was not fit for purpose as they unfortunately sent a dud. This cost should be covered by their margin. It's not the consumers job to pay random fees when a retail business screws up their costings. Plus it's also the law.

    I guess I am looking for a new company to buy from when I upgrade my PC at the end of the year :(

  • +7

    Full refund, including your original shipping cost. this wording: "Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment."

    • +1

      If you refund an item, and the item costs $20, and you get $20 refunded - that is all you have paid for the item. Your link doesn't really say any more than that.

      • If it was a situation where the cost of the product was inflated to provide 'free shipping', then yes, they would be entitled to a refund of the entire amount.

        However the shipping and the product are distinct goods and services, and itemised as such at the point of sale. The shipping has been provided, regardless of the product being faulty.

        Edit: this was meant to be in reply to the parent comment (foxmulder's).

  • +1

    It’s a simplistic view to ask for a refund of shipping fees where you only bought one item. But what if you had 5 items delivered and only one of those failed? Do they refund the whole $15 shipping fee or only part of it?

    The original shipping service was fit for purpose, unfortunately the keyboard wasn’t.

    • +4

      what is the purpose of the shipping ?

      to ship a faulty keyboard ?

  • +3

    I feel DOA they should refund shipping, so probably first 14-30 days they should cover the return shipping both ways. Simply because they did not supply what was ordered (a working product), and therefore they have not fulfilled their side of the agreement.

  • Yes it is within your rights unless you also ordered other items with the keyboard that were not faulty and it was all shipped together.

  • If you had driven to a store to buy the item and it was faulty would you expect them to also reimburse you for the petrol you used to drive to the store to buy the item?

  • -1

    The customer has endured enough disappointment with their dealings with you as it is. Yet, you contemplate laying in the boot by slugging them for your own actions in peddling defective goods. I can see you will not last long in your "get rich quick" endeavour as it is a well known business acumen that if you treat customers with respect and understanding, they more often than not, become "repeat customers" and happliy recommend you to friends and family. You want that, don't you? You want a good society of understanding and respect, don't you?

  • +1

    I had the same thing happen to me with PCCG- returned a DOA but they had none in stock.

    I just politely sent them an email saying I planned to buy the same thing again when back in stock (1-2 weeks) & they said to email them again with the PO# of the new purchase & they would refund me the shipping on the second purchase.

    I did & they did.

  • +1

    Assuming it was faulty on arrival I've always received a complete refund in similar cases. If it was a warranty claim some time later then I think it would be unreasonable to expect the original shipping charge to be refunded.

  • For those with 28degrees price protection, it can be a good idea to buy from someone who has shipping included in the price. You can then claim the difference from other retailers, and you won't run into this problem.

  • +1

    Shipping fee is a convenient that you pay for so you don't have to pick up. If you pick from a physical store and the same situation arise would you expect them to pay for your time and petrol?

    • fair point

  • +1

    I once had a tv repaired under warranty. They picked it up and delivered it back. At first they told me to get f’d. That was when I read them the consumer laws in full and emailed everybody I could find on the company website - not the store website, the company website. Directors and so on.

    • +1

      thats over-reaction from your part mate. If you have trouble with your flight ticket do you go and complain to Alan Joyce directly?

      • The part you may have missed was the part where they told me to get F’d. So if that made me overreact then it was a good thing because otherwise I would have had to buy a new tv. The part I didn’t put in was they laughed in my face because I didn’t buy an extended warranty and that was from the manager of the store.

        • +1

          ok fair enough, yes that kind of customer service is unacceptable if they literally told you to get f'ed

          • @Homr: its the same thing and posting it up on their facebook or google reviews

            unfortunatly thats what it takes sometimes

  • Unfortunately it is a cost that is incurred by the business and they have to passed it onto you. I guess it’s the cost of online shopping and convenience.

  • +2

    259 (4) The consumer may, by action against the supplier, recover damages for any loss or damage suffered by the consumer because of the failure to comply with the guarantee if it was reasonably foreseeable that the consumer would suffer such loss or damage as a result of such a failure.

    This could include postage you have paid.

    So yes, ACL does cover it.

    EDIT: Actually it's even more direct in 261

    261 How suppliers may remedy a failure to comply with a guarantee

                 (d)  by refunding:
                          (i)  any money paid by the consumer for the goods; and
                          (ii)  an amount that is equal to the value of any other consideration provided by the consumer for the goods.

    "Any other consideration" would be postage.

    • +2

      'Any other consideration' is not cash payment for postage, it is any non-monetary form of payment provided in exchange for the goods.

      There is no recourse under ACL, as the service paid for (postage) has been provided. This is a distinct good/service to the product.

      Not saying that I agree that it shouldn't be refunded, however generally it would be a gesture of goodwill.

      If refunds of shipping are not explicitly covered in the company's T&Cs, it is a risk you take in online shopping. The risk is reflected in the cost of the item, which would generally be cheaper than purchasing from a B&M store, or a company that does include the risk of refunding postage in their pricing.

  • "You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business if the product is confirmed to have a problem"

    • This is the cost of returning the item to the seller. The cost recovery and 'keep your receipts' refers to the postage cost you incur from a courier for its return (if a return shipping label is not supplied). In OP's instance they are requesting a refund of the original shipping amount.

      • -1

        thanks … ok

        "Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment."

        Same link

        • OP has paid for two items: the item; and the shipping. This would be itemised on the receipt. The full amount of the purchase of the faulty good itself will be refunded. The shipping has been provided as described, therefore is not required to be refunded.
          If the item had never arrived, the shipping obligation has not been fulfilled, and OP would be entitled to a refund on the amount of the goods + shipping.

          • @ScottEh: tell that to the ACCC, I've quoted their website, it doesnt say refunds should be the same amount excluding shipping which is itemised on the invoice

            you seem like an expert, care to provide specific links to your sources? again I've quoted ACCC

            • +2

              @chk: It doesn't say including shipping. That is the point. If you also bought a $2k PC on the same order do you expect them to refund the whole invoiced amount? Shipping is a distinct good or service for which the obligation has been fulfilled.

              Your link is the source. It is not just about following what is explicitly stated, but also what has been omitted.

              • @ScottEh: I asked for your source?

                • +1

                  @chk: As I said, your link is the source. You are extrapolating beyond what is stated in the source and drawing the incorrect conclusions, which I have attempted to help you with.

                  If you need it explicitly stated, refer to the guide Everything you need to know about refunds in Australia (which a quick Google search of OP's query brought up).

                  If you're returning a product because it's faulty and doesn't meet your consumer guarantees, then the remedy provided by the retailer should not come at any extra cost to you. And if it does, the business will be required to reimburse you. It is not required to reimburse the initial postage charges.

                  • @ScottEh: Ok…seems like you're extrapolating beyond what is stated. It doesn't say shipping is excluded

                    Op - claim a refund from the seller, you paid for shipping and the site clearly says a refund in what you paid without any extrapolating

                    • @chk:

                      Ok…seems like you're extrapolating beyond what is stated. It doesn't say shipping is excluded

                      You're extrapolating that it is included. That's what people are saying is ambiguous.

                      • @aragornelessar: Scotteh doesn't think it's ambiguous. He is "implying what is stated" but I can't find anything on the same source site that says the refund is limited to the product price.

                    • +1

                      @chk: I am implying exactly what is stated, which is that they are entitled to a return of the purchase price of the product. Nothing else.

                      I imagine this is what talking to a brick wall is like.

                      • @ScottEh: No need to be rude. Discussion is fine so let's keep things respectful

                        • @neil: To be fair, I consider it pretty rude to have completely ignored the source I provided (after being requested to specifically provide a 'source' other than the one they provided, which already supports my argument), and just revert back to their original thinking. If rejecting new evidence and stubbornly retaining an opinion isn't a prime example of talking to a brick wall I'm not sure what is.

        • "Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment."

          Same link

          That still doesn't specify that the refund is for shipping, which ScottEh is trying to say that it was paid for and fulfilled.

  • -1

    There is a large amount of misapplication and misinterpretation of the ACL in this thread.

    You are entitled to reimbursement of return shipping costs (if not paid for upfront by the supplier).

    You are not entitled to a refund of the original shipping cost. This may be provided as a gesture of goodwill or as a company policy. The risk of this would be included in the product pricing.

    Shipping and the good are two distinct items that you have paid for. As mentioned in another post above - if the item cost is inflated to provide 'free shipping', then the supplier takes that risk as they are required to refund the full amount. This is not the case here.

    • Freight/courier is a package deal, not a separate purchase. If part of the package is faulty, the whole thing should be refunded or serviced at cost to the supplier. In no way would these be viewed as separate purchases unless you engaged 2 separate vendors on your own behalf.

      (EDIT: ok there is one other scenario - if you have some other items on the invoice that are not faulty and aren’t being returned. Technically they would have incurred the same postage fee.)

  • Depends can I claim the petrol or bus ticket for a bricks and mortar store ??

    • +1

      Yes, but only if you handwrite very neatly the cost of the petrol onto the receipt.
      Once it's on the receipt, they must refund you (according to some).

  • I used my keyboard for almost 2 years and then started having issues. PC case gear refunded me (exl shipping costs) which I thought was extremely fair. I essentially paid shipping to try out a keyboard for 2 years.

    • Have no idea why you got neg but that is a fair outcome for both side.

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