Your rights to a refund

By Paul Lewis , Wednesday 2 January 2013

What are your rights when you have given or received a Christmas present that just doesn’t quite cut the mustard?
Online shopping basketMost shops will allow you to return goods you don't like - but there are certain conditions

If it was bought in a shop or market – anywhere face to face – you can only demand your money back if the item is faulty or not as it was described. So a kettle that doesn’t work or a blouse labelled size 10 that is clearly size 22 can be taken back for a full refund, even if it was in the sale and marked 'no returns'. Many shops will simply offer to exchange it or say it is the manufacturer's problem. Remember: you have the right to a refund. Insist and report traders who refuse to the local trading standards office.

But you cannot ask for your money back just because an item doesn’t suit you or you’ve got two already. Of course, most shops will allow you to return goods you don't like and get if not a refund then certainly a credit note or other goods to the value. But do it quickly and of course keep them in perfect condition, with boxes and labels, and you will usually need the receipt.

If the item was bought online within the EU then your rights are much greater. First, the item must arrive within 30 days or the deal is off and you can get a full refund including any postage you paid. Again, the vendor might try to foist you off on the Royal Mail or delivery firm. Don't let them.

If the item does arrive within 30 days but is broken or faulty or not as described you can get a full refund and the postage costs. If it arrives and you decide within seven days that you do not want it – for any reason – then you have the right to a full refund, though normally you will have to pay the postage both ways. However, if the original contract did not specify that, then the vendor has to pay for postage too.

These rights also apply to eBay even though auctions you attend in person are exempt from them.

These 'distance selling' rights apply to physical goods – anything the postman brings. But they do not apply to intangibles such as a holiday, a flight, a hotel booking or a concert ticket. With those you don't get a seven day cooling-off period, though of course if they are faulty, or fail to provide the service, you have the right to your money back.

If your purchase was from outside the 27 countries of the EU then your rights are far fewer. There will not be a cooling-off period if you just do not like the item. Most decent vendors will replace broken or faulty goods. But you cannot make them. Then you have to fall back on your credit card or debit card provider and claim the money back from them.

* Read Paul Lewis's money articles every month in Saga Magazine.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

Related

  • Smartphone photos

    How to complain using Twitter

    Paul Lewis shows you how to complain effectively by using Twitter, if you receive shoddy service from companies.

    Read on

  • Compensation for delayed flights can be on a sliding scale, depending on distance and length of delay

    Could you be owed compensation for delayed flights?

    If you were on a flight that arrived at least three hours late any time in the last six years you may be able to claim compensation of between €250 (£200) and €600 (£480) for each person affected.

    Read on

  • Bank notes

    How long will your retirement income last?

    Now that it's possible to take your whole pot of pension money as cash, it's vital to have an understanding about how long those savings might need to last, writes Annie Shaw.

    Read on

  • Web Savings thumbnail

    Fixed rate savings account

    For simple lump sum deposits designed for those looking for an attractive fixed rate.

    MORE INFO

  • Platinum thumbnail

    Platinum credit card

    Low rate and 0% foreign currency fees on transactions.

    MORE INFO

  • Share dealing

    Stocks & Shares ISA

    By holding a stocks and shares ISA you can benefit from the Government’s annual ISA allowance.

    MORE INFO


COMMENTS

Type your comment here


 characters remaining.

Saga Magazine

For more fascinating stories and insightful articles, why not try Saga Magazine for just £1 for 3 issues.

How to spot - and stop - a scam

Saga Magazine's award-winning money expert Annie Shaw looks at the murky world of scam correspondence, something many of us have received from time to time.

Life insurance

Choose the amount of cover and length of time you would like to be insured for

  • Monthly or annual premiums, with a discount if you pay annually
  • Terminal Illness Cover and Accidental Death Benefit automatically included

Savings Accounts

Saga Savings can help you make the most of your money.