Sometimes retailers lie about what you’re allowed to take back, other times they’re well within their rights to refuse to accept a return. In his latest column for the Sunday Mirror, Dean Dunham investigates exactly what you can (and can’t) take back. Here’s what Dean has to say about your consumer rights in three different cases.
Returning faulty goods can be fraught with difficulties – especially when they have been bought online. I’m always receiving emails and letters from readers complaining that when they tried to return goods, the trader refused as the packaging had been damaged. This still seems to be a controversial area that is surrounded by confusion on the parts of both traders and consumers. Here are some of the complaints I have had from readers, and the legal position they are in.
John from Middlesex purchased a toy as a birthday gift for his five-year-old son. It came with lots of annoying packaging and it took ages to unwind the plastic ties, tear off Sellotape and remove screws. Once John finally freed the toy from the packaging he discovered that it did not work. However, when he returned it to the retailer he was told that he could not have an exchange or refund, as the packaging had been damaged. The retailer is wrong – as the toy is faulty John is entitled to a full refund, regardless of the state of the packaging.
Sheila from Norwich bought seven rolls of wallpaper online. She tore open the outer packaging on one roll so she could hold the paper up to the wall. However, she decided that she didn’t like the paper and returned it to the trader. They refunded her for six of the rolls but refused to refund for the seventh as the packaging was damaged. The trader was correct here as the wallpaper was not faulty and its returns policy stated clearly that it will only refund or exchange goods if all packaging is intact.
Lucy from Sussex purchased a blouse online. When it arrived she removed the outer packaging, a cellophane bag, and tried it on. She then discovered that she had been sent a size 10, as opposed to a size 8 which she had ordered. She returned the top to the retailer but it refused to exchange it as it had been taken out of the cellophane bag, which had been ripped in the process. On this occasion, the retailer was wrong as it was in breach of contract for sending the incorrect size. It was also impossible for Lucy to see the size without taking the top out of its packaging.
Dean Dunham – Sunday Mirror
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