Now that's a bit rich

I recently purchased sheets online from one of those bargain, deal of the week websites.

It was advertised as a "1000 thread count, cotton rich queen-size sheet set” - a bargain you would think at $50, but not so much a bargain it turns out.

It transpires that "cotton rich” is a cheap polyester/cotton mix, an inferior quality that can be purchased at any major retail outlet for around half of that price.

I won't bore you with the details, but I'm still battling for a refund, so I have decided to treat the whole sorry episode as an online retail lesson.

In Australia, we are all protected by the ACCC who do a fantastic job in most cases to ensure our consumer rights are enforced. You can contact the ACCC via their website,

The No. 1 thing to know when you buy online in Australia - from an Australian retailer - is you have the exact same consumer rights as you would buying from a bricks and mortar store.

When you purchase from an overseas-based business, they can be more difficult to deal with, although it's always worth pursuing for a refund or exchange, as many online businesses would want to preserve their reputation.

It is a good idea to research, compare prices and, if you can, only buy from online retailers based in Australia.

Tips for buying online:

Research to compare prices and if you can, only buy from online retailers based in Australia.

Ensure there are no hidden costs, such as excessive postage charges.

Before committing to buying, check that the site is secure. It should have a padlock symbol and an address starting with https://

If you are asked for your bank PIN or password do not provide these details and report them to the ACCC.

Consider using a third-party escrow agent such as Pay Pal, especially if you are buying an expensive item.

Keep copies of all documents, including emails and receipts and if there is a problem, email the seller outlining the issue and how you want it resolved.

If you paid by credit card and you did not receive the product or service, contact your bank and ask them to reverse an unauthorised charge.