Damage caused in transit can render a product unsafe, create new hazards or increase existing ones.

Suppliers must ensure their packaging is fit for purpose, and designed to minimise all risks of damage to maintain the integrity of the product. With the increase of online shopping, couriers are relied on to deliver goods in sound condition.

However, reports of products being mishandled and damaged between the warehouse and the customer are on the rise. If you sell products online, it’s important to check your courier service regularly and it is recommended that you conduct random audits with your clients from time to time to monitor any variances in the quality of service.

Consumers are advised to check packaging for any damage before use. If the box or other packaging is damaged, it is usually a sign to check for any clues that the product is also damaged. Any concerns will immediately be reported to you, so it is best to be prepared.

Don’t be caught out. Need advice or support?

The Australian Consumer Law protects consumers in their purchases from Australian suppliers. Information is contained across various government consumer agency websites. These sites provide guidance to consumers which is applicable across Australia, so suppliers in all states are urged to know their obligations.

Here is a snapshot of the advice that regulators give consumers: ACCC : “Consumer guarantees applying to goods  – Businesses that sell goods guarantee that those goods are of acceptable quality – the goods must be safe, lasting, have no faults, look acceptable and do all the things someone would normally expect them to do” https://www.accc.gov.au/business/treating-customers-fairly/consumers-rights-obligations#compensation-for-damages-amp-loss

New South Wales Office of Fair Trading : “Who is responsible for damage in transit? 

Read the delivery terms and conditions before you buy from an online seller. That information usually explains how such issues are handled and who is responsible if goods are not delivered or get damaged in transit. If you are not sure whether insurance is included in the cost of the goods or the shipping charges, email the seller about this before buying the goods. While completing a sale, you might sometimes be given a choice of delivery options and even asked if you want to insure your goods at extra cost. Contact the seller immediately if your goods are damaged.” http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Consumers/Ways_to_shop/Online_shopping.page

Consumer Affairs Victoria : “If a product arrives damaged, it may not meet the ‘consumer guarantee’ of acceptable quality.

To meet this guarantee, it must be:

* fit for the purpose for which it is commonly supplied

* safe, durable and free from defects

* acceptable in appearance and finish

Depending on whether the damage is major or minor, the consumer may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. For more information, view the Faulty product page. Before returning the product to the store or seller, the consumer should take a photo of the damage for their own records. For advice on returning a product to the store or seller, and on who pays return costs, view our Guarantees that apply automatically page. Note: The store or seller is responsible for resolving any issues with Australia Post or courier company used to deliver the product.” https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/products-and-services/problems-with-a-product/products-missing-or–damaged-in-transit

Did you buy from an overseas suppliers with no Australian base?

The ACCC has the following advice: “If you buy from an online seller based overseas, you should be aware that you may experience practical difficulties in obtaining a remedy from them. If your seller is based overseas and writing to them doesn’t resolve your problem, try asking the consumer affairs agency in their country if it can help.” https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/online-shopping/shopping-online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM3SRG7D21Y&feature=youtu.be&list=PLiZ5NoaKNHUUD7TWeMufp96muMOaGNIrX