There are many misconceptions abounding when it comes to consumer rights: in what circumstances do you have a right to take an item back to the shop? Are you entitled to a refund? When is the manufacturer, rather than the vendor, responsible? These are all frequently asked questions, yet some of them have more than one answer.
The Right to Return an Item
You reserve the right to return items if they are faulty. Do not be fobbed off with nonsense about the manufacturer being responsible. You bought it from the vendor, so your contract is with them. For items that are not faulty – i.e. those you decide you don’t want after all – it is entirely up to the vendor whether they accept the return. Furthermore, it is up to them whether they refund you or issue a credit note. This applies to clothes that are the wrong size – it’s up to you to try them on first.
Do you need a receipt?
You need proof of purchase, which can be a receipt or a bank or card statement. Remember, however, that if the goods are not faulty and the store insists on a receipt, you need a receipt. Also, don’t be mis-informed that faulty goods bought in a sale cannot be returned; your rights are still the same. A quick tip – you can return underwear if it is faulty, there is no separate underwear law!
The Sale of Goods Act, 1979
Essential reading, and mainly for the following part: all good must be “Satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.” The last part is the important one: do not expect a refund if a cheap and cheerful item fails after five years; insist on one if an expensive implement fails after five minutes. Know your consumer law, and you will be surprised how much easier it is to get your money back.