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What can you do if there’s an issue with an item you bought online from a seller with no ABN?

What can you do if there’s an issue with an item you bought online from a seller with no ABN? Source: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

You ordered something online that you need refunded; but what if the seller has no ABN? What's your recourse? Finance journalist Michell Baltazar gives advice.

"It's always good to help small businesses, but always use common sense. Don’t just transfer money without a receipt, especially if it’s a big amount. Also, check on the seller's background," finance journalist Michelle Baltazar warns.

She also states that the rise in cybercrimes should make people wary and extra cautious about sending their personal details and transferring funds.


Listen to the podcast here

Ano ang maaari mong gawin kung may problema ang binili mo online at walang ABN ang seller?
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  • You can find a way to get your money back.
  • Business owners should be professional and have a high standard of service.
  • No to public shaming.


Why is it important for a business to have an ABN?

"Having an ABN means a business owner is in it for the long-term."

Michelle shares that unfortunately, many bring their unprofessionalism to Australia and do not file the necessary paperwork to run a legitimate business.

"An ABN is very important and it’s free anyway. You have no tax obligation to start a business, not unless you earn more than 10,000 aud a year with your side hustle.

So if you’re a passionate caterer only who earns less than 10,000 ABN, having an abn won’t cost you anything."

Can you get your money back?

"Yes, you can," Michelle shares, adding, "Because the supplier is local, you’ll more likely have a way of meeting them or knowing someone they know."

She emphasises that it is your money and it's important that you look after every dollar you earn especially during these tough times.

"I recommend that you talk with the owner first, but make it clear that you have a deadline. Payment can be in increments – like for example, 50 AUD every Thursday until fully paid.

"I would recommend to get your money back instead of credit or vouchers. If the caterer offers credit, for me it’s not good enough. It’s about being professional. It’s not good business and the customer is left at a disadvantage."

What is my last-ditch effort?

Michelle recommends that you report the seller to the admin of the Facebook community group they belong to.

"We have to think big and what the best practice is. People need to know we don’t tolerate poor business behaviour."

She discourages public-shaming, however.

"I don’t like public shaming - not even as a last ditch effort. It's humiliating. 

"If you're going to post publicly, do it in a professional way, such as 'I need to talk with you regarding getting my money back, please send me a private message.'"