Returning Unwanted Items Bought Online Can Be Tricky
Returns for online shopping have become a bit of a minefield in recent times.
Many of the online retailers interpret the consumer laws in different ways.
Many seem to think that if they offer free returns then the original delivery fee is not refundable and that the delivery cost can be offset because of the free return. However, this is not the case; consumers have certain rights when buying online.
When buying online, consumers are protected by trading standard consumer laws. Customers are allowed a seven-day cooling off period during which, if they decide that the goods are not exactly what they wanted, they can be returned for a full refund. For example, the item didn’t quite look the same as they thought in the store images. This can happen quite frequently, especially with clothing when you can’t be sure what the item looks like until you try it on in your home. The customer can simply have changed their mind, or the product could have simply been an unwanted gift. Under all these cases, the consumer has up to seven days after receiving the product to let the store know that the item has been returned.
If the time period has been over seven days, then the situation becomes different, and it all depends what the store terms & conditions state. You would have to check these as nearly all stores have different terms & conditions depending on what you have bought. If you have returned the product before the seven-day cooling off period has expired, then the store has to refund the purchase price and the cost of delivery as long as the returned item is in a re-saleable condition and in its original packaging.
There are some exceptions to the consumer laws — for example, the cooling off period is not applicable if the goods are faulty or damaged. Then the laws clearly state that the item should last for a reasonable period of time before a fault should arise. The goods should come with a clearly stated guarantee, so check this when you receive the goods.Continued on the next page