Imagine yourself so eager to get and use an online order only to realize it doesn’t work. Worse, it causes you some injuries! What do you do after?
When you’re dealing with defective products, you have at least three choices:
- Return them to the manufacturer or the seller and get a refund
- Sue the company and get compensation with the help of lawyers
- Participate in the product recall program
Find out how to do each of them below:
1. Return the Product
The easiest way to deal with a defective product is to ship it back to the manufacturer or seller—the person or company who also delivered it to you. Then, you can either ask for a refund or get a replacement.
But first, a few rules to remember:
Read the fine print of the returns policy. Usually, the business will give you a period to return the defective product and expect a refund. It can range from 7 days to 30 or even 60 days, although the latter is rare.
Follow the instructions for returns. Businesses enclose a return label, which you need to attach to the box or plastic that contains the defective product. Some companies save you the hassle and just replace the product with no questions asked.
Note that you might not return all products you bought. Under consumer law, you cannot send it back if the only reason is you changed your mind. If it’s covered under warranty, the seller might give you the option to have it repaired.
Sellers also pass on the cost of return shipping to you. You need to include that in your decision-making process since the cost can be expensive. Remember, too, that shipping back and forth takes a lot of time.
2. Sue the Company for Damages
Another option is to sue the manufacturer, seller, and anyone responsible for the defective product for damages or compensation. You can do this if:
- The product caused injuries or even death
- The defective product led to damages of property or loss of income
- The defective product didn’t cause any of the two, but because of it being faulty, it can cause significant problems later
These claims are subject to common, federal, and state laws. If you’re living in Queensland, you can talk to Townsville lawyers and read the guidelines on product liability. Usually, you have three years since the incident (such as the period of injury) to sue.
This lawsuit, though, is only civil, not criminal. You cannot send the defendant to prison but receive money as compensation.
Also, proof of negligence is an essential factor in the lawsuit. You need to show evidence of a breach of duty or negligence and that this eventually led to your or someone else’s injury.
3. Participate in the Product Recall Programme
Sometimes a business or the designated consumers’ agency identifies a significant quality or safety issue and starts a product recall. Usually, it happens when they receive multiple complaints about the same product because of the same problem, or they learned about it after reviewing their quality control or manufacturing processes.
A product recall can be voluntary or compulsory. It is the former if the business, such as the manufacturer, launches the program. If the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) found the business’s decision unsatisfactory (or didn’t ask for a recall), they can initiate a compulsory product recall.
In any case, you need to return the product and either get a refund or a replacement. Most provide you these two options.
Receiving a defective product can be a bummer, and sometimes it can lead to severe problems. Fortunately, as a consumer, the law gives you many options to receive justice.