What Are Your Rights When A Pre-Order Gets Cancelled?

What Are Your Rights When A Pre-Order Gets Cancelled?
Contributor: Chris Neill

So you’ve placed a pre-order for an item, only to have it be suddenly cancelled or, even worse, it hasn’t shown up by the expected delivery date. What rights do you have as a consumer here? Well, that all depends on the circumstances.

What Happens If Your Pre-Order Gets Cancelled?

If you’ve placed a pre-order for an item, only to have the supplier cancel the order, you are entitled to a full refund of whatever amount you’ve paid. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, this is due to the business no longer being able to supply you with the intended product within the advertised timeframe, or within an appropriate timeframe.

For example, Target have recently cancelled a bunch of previously confirmed pre-orders for the upcoming Xbox Series X as they will not have sufficient stock by launch, providing full refunds to those affected.

If your order is cancelled, the business should contact you to let you know.

What If It Isn’t Delivered On Time?

According to the ACCC, it’s illegal for businesses to take payment for products and not provide them by a previously provided timeframe, or, if no time was  specified, within a reasonable time.

If the item you’ve pre-ordered hasn’t arrived by the set delivery date, the ACCC recommends contacting the business to try and sort out the problem as your first step. However, keep in mind that some pre-orders may be delayed due to manufacturers pushing back their release date. If this is the case the business is not at fault as this is beyond their control.

If you reach out to a business but they don’t respond or refuses to cooperate, you’re best to reach out to the consumer protection agency of your respective state.

Can I Cancel If I Find A Better Deal?

So you’ve placed a pre-order but you no longer want the product or you’ve seen another retailer offering it a better price. Are you able to cancel your order and get a refund? According to Fair Trading NSW, the business is well within their rights to refuse a refund if the consumer’s reasoning is a change of mind.

However, while you aren’t entitled to a refund because you’ve changed your mind, some retailers will gladly offer them. To avoid any potential complications, you’re better off shopping around and comparing prices before committing to a pre-order. You should also familiarise yourself with the store’s refund policy beforehand.

Depending on the business, you may be able to cancel the order for the specific product, but you’ll be given store credit or the option to transfer payment to another item instead of receiving your money back.

I Received My Pre-Order, But I’m Not Happy With It

If the item you’ve pre-ordered has arrived and is either faulty or significantly different from how it was original described, under Australian consumer law you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund.

As mentioned before, if you’ve had a change of mind and no longer want the product, that isn’t an eligible reason for a refund.

How Do I Get My Money Back?

If a business cancels a pre-order, they should provide you with an expected timeframe for your money to be automatically refunded back into your account. Again, if the business has not refunded your money within a given timeframe or an appropriate amount of time, you’re best to reach out to the consumer protection agency of your respective state and make a complaint.

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